Auto vCore Update for Gigabyte Gaming 7 Motherboard

By Published February 06, 2017 at 12:40 pm
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We made Gigabyte aware of an unnecessarily high auto vCore table back in December, prior to the launch and NDA lift of Kaby Lake processors. By the time of review, that still hadn’t been resolved, and we noted in our Gigabyte Aorus Z270X Gaming 7 review that we’d revisit thermals if the company issued an update. Today, we’re doing just that. Gigabyte passed relevant information along to engineering teams and worked quickly to resolve the high auto vCore (and thus high CPU temperatures) on the Gaming 7 motherboard.

We’ve been impressed with Gigabyte’s responses overall. The representatives have been exceptionally helpful in troubleshooting the issue, and were open ears when we presented our initial concerns. The quick turn-around time on a BIOS update and subsequent auto vCore reduction shows that they’re listening, which is more than we can say for a lot of companies in this business. In an industry where it’s easier to jam fingers in ears and ignore a problem, Gigabyte’s fixed this one.

Here’s the original board review with the temperature criticisms, something we also talked about in our 7700K review.

Thermal Test Methodology

We strongly believe that our thermal testing methodology is among the best on this side of the tech-media industry. We've validated our testing methodology with thermal chambers and have proven near-perfect accuracy of results.

Conducting thermal tests requires careful measurement of temperatures in the surrounding environment. We control for ambient by constantly measuring temperatures with K-Type thermocouples and infrared readers. We then produce charts using a Delta T(emperature) over Ambient value where notated, otherwise, we'll use the diode and sensor measurements to provide a baseline performance metric. AIDA64, Intel Xtreme Tuning Utility, and HW Monitor (CPU PKG) are all used to monitor thermals. It appears that XTU and HW Monitor match in their measurement of CPU PKG for Kaby Lake.

All open bench fans are configured to their maximum speed and connected straight to the PSU. This ensures minimal variance when testing, as automatically controlled fan speeds will reduce reliability of benchmarking. The CPU fan is set to maximum fan speed, unless otherwise stated.

We use an AMPROBE multi-diode thermocouple reader to log ambient actively. This ambient measurement is used to monitor fluctuations and is subtracted from absolute GPU diode readings to produce a delta value. For these tests, we configured the thermocouple reader's logging interval to 1s, matching the logging interval of AIDA64, HW Monitor, and other tools. Data is calculated using a custom, in-house spreadsheet and software solution.

Bench:

Gigabyte Gaming 7 Auto vCore Temperature Update

Intel i7-7700K @ 4.5GHz
EIST 0, Turbo 0, CStates 0
  Gigabyte G7 Auto Gigabyte G7 BIOS Update Gigabyte G7 Manual vCore
vCore (v) 1.356-1.404 (auto) 1.20-1.24 (auto) 1.188-1.275 (manual)
CPU PKG (C) 94 64 70
Core 0 (C) 94 63 70
Core 1 (C) 91 64 69
Core 2 (C) 94 61 70
Core 3 (C) 90 61 68
Ambient (C) 21.3 25.6 22.2
Liquid TMP (C) 29 31 28
PKG PWR (W) 133-135
Max 138.06
105-106
Max 116.9
101
Max 115.15

Gigabyte’s new BIOS update (#F4q) has driven the auto vCore setting down to a completely reasonable 1.2 to 1.24v, with a maximum vCore of 1.28v in our AVX stress testing (once). Averaging 1.20v means a reduction of about 200 millivolts, which means that power consumption and temperature are both significantly improved without any performance loss on the CPU; in fact, we’re seeing a performance improvement overall. The temperatures now drop about 30C, with liquid temperatures only reporting slightly higher because our ambient temperature was higher for this quick spot-test. The CPU PKG is what XTU reports for the 7700K, and that’s at 64C versus the previous 94C load temperature. Again, these numbers correspond to a frequency that outputs identical performance between each vCore setting, but with a much more efficient voltage on the updated test run.

As for PKG power, we’re down to 105-106W average, where we were previously at 133-135W average.

Job well done, Gigabyte. This is how a company should respond when facing criticism. We hope other vendors take note.

As for the board’s viability, as this was our only major criticism at time of launch, we now feel the motherboard is a valid purchase if you’re into the LEDs and need the overclocking headroom. It’s not a necessary purchase for most users, but it is a high-end targeted motherboard. You can learn more about the overclocking potential in our review of the Gaming 7’s VRM. We’d still like to see a slight price reduction, but the purchase is much easier to argue with a revamped BIOS.

Editorial: Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke
Video: Andrew “ColossalCake” Coleman

Last modified on February 06, 2017 at 12:40 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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