Gigabyte Z77 Overclocking Guide
Published: 26th February 2013 | Source: OC3D | Price: |
Time to Overclock
Set your voltages!!
Hopefully having seen the hideous vDroop you get on 'auto' you'll have learnt the single most valuable lesson about overclocking and motherboards in general. However, it's such a vital thing we're going to say it again, in bold, and using a nice eye-catching colour. Do not trust 'auto'. It isn't a "be as gentle as you can be please Mr Motherboard" setting. It's usually the ultimate short-cut taker. The kind of person who'd just skip all this, set their voltage to 1.4 and see how far they could go.
So, into your voltage control and manually change the voltages from auto to what they should be. Like so. Now we have a sense of control. Control is key. If you're still disbelieving in the evils of auto then we've got a page especially for you coming up.
Out the box
As always it's nice to get a feel for how things are prior to tinkering. Our i7-3770K defaults to 3.5GHz with Intel Turbo enabling it to run at 3.9GHz. We'll be turning the Turbo off in a moment, another option that helps wrest control to us. Control is obviously important because we don't want the system doing anything behind the scenes that we haven't planned for. By limiting its chances at fiddling about it makes it much easier to debug our overclock.
On the right is the OCCT error screen, something you'll get used to seeing. This doesn't require anything changing anywhere, and will stop on errors by default. Hopefully you've also set your temperature threshold back on page one, so you can be safe in the knowledge that you wont kill anything during testing.
The internet is awash with people telling you how long to run OCCT/wPrime, whether to run blended or Linpack or whatever. Realistically you can run it for as long as you want. However, we have a few guidelines and we know you're desperate to get on with it.
Firstly you shouldn't run it for any less than an hour. You need the heat generated to soak through your case and reach an equilibrium. Your CPU will warm up in the first minute or so, but until that heat radiates through the case and warms the air up, which will limit the chilling capacity of your cooler, you wont really know how warm your CPU will get. You wouldn't play a game for less than an hour, and you wouldn't want your system to keel over just as you were winning. Secondly, the further from stock that you go, the longer you'll need to run it to ensure stability. However this has the slight side benefit that initial creeps up the overclocking scale are less likely to make your system fall over, so you can get away with shorter times to begin with. As always though, if you can be patient you will be rewarded and certainly once you reach the level you feel you want to run your system at forever then you should definitely run OCCT for a few hours to be certain.
It's worth noting that the voltages and ratios on your system might be different, depending upon your system specifications. Thankfully though the Intel range is so similar and bulletproof that the general principles (adjust a small amount each time and test a lot) apply whatever your setup.
Phew. Preamble out the way, let's crack on.