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System Builder Marathon, March 2011: $2000 Bonus Build

CPU And DRAM Overclocking

The same 1.40 V core limit was chosen for both the new and previous build, since we’re still a little concerned about the short-term deterioration that we’ve seen at 1.45 V or more. Once again, the processor seemed eager to shoot to 5.00 GHz, though extended testing proved it was only stable over the long term at 4.80 GHz.

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Increased memory frequencies were far more difficult to achieve using this motherboard, though we might have had worse luck with the second set of memory modules. After a lengthy battle to repeat a stable DDR3-1866 CAS 8-9-8 from our previous build, we were forced to settle for DDR3-1600 CAS 7-8-7.

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The P67A-GD65 (B3) responded to our overclock by disabling C1E and EIST. Doing so drastically increases low-load power consumption, while providing minimal benefits in performance consistency. We re-enabled these features.

Using the “Low VDroop” setting from BIOS along with its 1.376 V CPU Core setting allowed our CPU to increase from 1.34 V at low load to 1.40 V at high load.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.