Power And Heat
We did not re-adjust any power settings after selecting the auto-overclocking modes of these four major brands, but instead let the “chips fall where they may." After all, the idea behind auto-overclocking is that it’s supposed to take away the work of manual firmware adjustment.
Here’s where we see the big difference between MSI and everyone else. The other three boards keep Intel’s power savings features enabled and simply manipulate the multiplier and voltage used by Turbo Boost technology, while MSI lock in the overclock. Gigabyte takes a big lead in idle power savings.
The one thing MSI seems to do better than everyone else is conserve power at its voltage regulator. Even with the voltage set manually at its highest-supported CPU frequency, the Z68A-GD80 shaves watts compared to the best of its competitors.
This editor uses a thermal probe to gauge PWM temperature at the hottest spot accessible, and heat sink design can affect the accuracy of that measurement. Gigabyte’s Z68XP-UD5 advantage is large enough that an error of a few degrees would still keep it at the top, followed by MSI’s Z68A-GD80.