Manual Overclocking And Control Center
We used the overclock settings from our MSI firmware screenshots to set the Z68A-GD80 to 4.67 GHz at 1.35 V. The actual firmware settings to reach this full-load target voltage were “Low VDroop” and 1.355 V CPU core.
A moderate 2150 MT/s maximum stable DRAM data rate for this motherboard prevented us from using our memory’s XMP profile at the increased 101.6 MHz BCLK. We instead left the memory at Auto, which uses its highest SPD settings.
MSI Control Center provides Windows access to many of the motherboard’s firmware settings, including CPU multiplier, core voltage, and base clock. Some of its settings don’t properly align with the firmware values, however. For instance, the 1.3600 V setting corresponds to the firmware’s 1.355 V setting and an actual output of 1.344-1.352 V.
Even at the same voltage, we weren't able to reach the same overclock from Control Center. A peak of 4.62 GHz was the best we could do, though most novices would probably consider that pretty darned good anyway.
Memory timings can also be adjusted without a reboot.
1) It either is super conservative and therefore useless for any enthusiast.
2) It is insanely over-aggressive because it doesn't bother testing stability for more than a few minutes (if at all). So you end up with it thinking a 50% overclock is "stable" when it totally isn't.
Turned out that with all other settings as chosen by the utility the peak core could be set to its lowest value in the BIOS and still be perfectly stable. So is it just ramping up the voltage to be on the safe side?
I have downclocked my system to base settings on both the CPU and GPU because the wear on the system with OC'ing. None of the games I play, nor any of the other apps need a OC to perform well, so why place additional stress on the components when it is merely for bragging rights?
When I played with manual OC'ing I found, like this article, that there was only a marginal gain from auto settings. Plus ther is the additional risk of screwing the pooch entirely and bricking the CPU or mobo by overvolting.
Unless you are a real pro and are not risk adverse, I'd recommend that you stick with auto OC'ing, and for this, ASRock has proven to be the best.
I feel that Toms should have done some stability testing on their manual and automatic OCed Processors. They might have and just not posted their results. I am in the camp where I feel that if you can't take the hour or two to figure it all out you probably shouldn't be Overclocking. If we had a larger sample of Proccessors we have no idea how many would turn out badly.
It looks like a good tool to start off your own OC because it's probably gonna be in the ballpark, but on it's own it leaves much to be desired.