For today, we’re talking about volt-frequency scalability on our 8086K one more time. This time, coverage includes manual binning of our core, as we already illustrated limitations of the IMC in the overclocking stream. We’ve also already tested the CPU for thermal and acoustic performance when considering liquid metal applications.

The Intel i7-8086K is a binned i7-8700K, so we thought we’d see what bin we got. This testing exhibits simple volt-frequency curves as plotted against Blender and Firestrike stability testing. Note that our stability tests were limited to 30 minutes in an intensive Blender workload. Realistically, this is the most achievable for publication purposes, and 99% of CPUs that pass this test will remain stable. If we were selling these CPUs, maybe like Silicon Lottery, it’d obviously be preferable to test for many hours.

In case you missed it, we spent four hours live overclocking an Intel i7-8086K just a couple days ago. The OC effort was watched by about 2300 people concurrently, spanning all four hours, and was one of our most successful streams to-date. The viewership was beaten only, and unsurprisingly, by our #RIPLTT stream’s 5000 concurrent viewers.

As for the testing, it was all 8086K overclocking in Firestrike Physics, with some additional memory overclocking in the final two hours. Components used were varied, depending on what was happening at any given time, and the final frequency was high. We closed at 5.35GHz, running a 101 BCLK with 53x all-core multiplier. Some additional testing was done in effort to push individual cores to 54x, but we couldn’t get it stable. Despite our ultimate core limitations at just under 5.4GHz, the CPU itself – barring the IMC – is the best-binned 8700K we’ve had hands-on with yet. Our 8086K (which is a binned 8700K) managed to hold 5.1GHz at roughly 1.3V with relative stability in Firestrike, only running into exponential increases in voltage requirement upon pushing 53x multipliers. We even attempted 1.5V for a 5.4GHz overclock, but just couldn’t stabilize. Our plan is to return in the future with a bigger or more exotic cooling solution atop the die. Our X62 did admirably, and the delid with liquid metal (Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut) kept thermals in check, but lower is still better.

We visited EVGA’s suite for a look at the new OC Robot and built-in BIOS stress testing update for the X299 Dark motherboards. For the new X299 Micro 2 motherboard, we also learned the following of the VRM spec:

  • VCCIN : IR35201(Controller1 - 5PH double to 10PH) + IR3556 x10
  • VSA+VCCIO : IR35204(Controller2 - 1+1PH) + IR3556 (1+1)
  • VSM+VPP_C01 : IR35204(Controller3 - 1+1PH) + TDA88240 (1+1)
  • VSM+VPP_C23 : IR35204(Controller4 - 1+1PH) + TDA88240 (1+1)

At EVGA’s headquarters in New Taipei City, Taiwan, GamersNexus received a hands-on overview of the company’s new semi-closed loop liquid nitrogen cooling setup. The setup was created by K|NGP|N and TiN, both of whom work in the Taiwan office, to increase overclocking efficiency and reduce LN2 usage to only necessary quantities. Typically, extreme overclocking involves manual pouring of liquid nitrogen (LN2) from a thermos, which the overclocker can either manually refill from the LN2 tanks or can refill from the exhaust. With this new system, K|NGP|N is able to circulate LN2 based upon software input of desired temperatures, with used LN2 getting pushed through a series of flexible steel tubing and out of an exit manifold. The result yields somewhat reusable LN2 and eliminates the hands-on thermos pouring element of XOCing, allowing overclockers to focus on the result and tuning. Theoretically, you could run off of large LN2 tanks (~180L) at conservative temperatures for weeks on end, then swap tanks and use the collected “runoff.”

A few days ago, we ran our most successful, highest-watched livestream in the history of GN. The stream peaked at >5300 concurrent viewers for around 2.5 hours, during which time we attempted to outmatch the LinusTechTips 3DMark score submitted to the 3DMark Hall of Fame. This was a friendly media battle that we decided to bring to LTT after seeing their submission, which briefly knocked us out of the Top 10 for the Hall of Fame. As noted in this recap video, we're not skilled enough to compete with the likes of K|NGP|N, dancop, der8auer, or similar pro XOCers, but we can certainly compete with other media. We made a spectacle of the event and pushed our i9-7980XE, our RAM, and our GPU (a Titan V) as far as our components would allow under ambient cooling. Ambient, by the way, peaked at ~30C during the stream; after the stream ended and room ambient dropped ~10C to 20C, our scores improved to 8285 in Timespy Extreme. This pushed us into 4th place on the 3DMark official Hall of Fame, and 3rd place in the HW Bot rankings.

The overclocking stream saw guest visits from Buildzoid of Actually Hardcore Overclocking, who assisted in tuning our memory timings for the final couple of points. We think there's more room to push here, but we'd like to keep some in the tank for a retaliation from Linus and team.

Even when using supposed “safe” voltages as a maximum input limit for overclocking via BIOS, it’s possible that the motherboard is feeding a significantly different voltage to the CPU. We’ve demonstrated this before, like when we talked about the Ultra Gaming’s Vdroop issues. The opposite side of Vdroop would be overvoltage, of course, and is also quite common. Inputting a value of 1.3V SOC, for instance, could yield a socket-side voltage measurement of ~1.4V. This difference is significant enough that you may exit territory of being “reasonably usable” and enter “will definitely degrade the IMC over time.”

But software measurements won’t help much, in this regard. HWINFO is good, AIDA also does well, but both are relying on the CPU sensors to deliver that information. The pin/pad resistances alone can cause that number to underreport in software, whereas measuring the back of the socket with a digital multimeter (DMM) could tell a very different story.

As we await arrival of our APUs today, we’ve seen a few news stories reporting “4.56GHz” overclocks (or similarly high clocks) on AMD’s new Ryzen+Vega amalgamation. Seemingly, this significantly higher overclock is achievable merely by entering S3 (sleep) in Windows, and is even easily validated with higher benchmark scores.

In reality, we believe this is the Windows timer bugging out, which has existed on previous platforms and CPUs. The bug is easy to replicate because it only requires entering S3 state – another commonly problematic Windows setting, based on a previous life of lab testing – and waking from S3 causes artificially high clock reports.

The goal for today is to trick an nVidia GPU into drawing more power than its Boost 3.0 power budget will allow it. The theoretical result is that more power will provide greater clock stability; we won’t necessarily get better overclocks or bigger offsets, but should stabilize and flatline the frequency, which improves performance overall. Typically, Boost clock bounces around based on load and power budget or voltage. We have already eliminated the thermal checkpoint with our Hybrid mod, and must now help eliminate the power budget checkpoint.

This content piece is relatively agnostic toward nVidia devices. Although we are using an nVidia Titan V graphics card, priced at $3000, the same practice of shunt resistor shorting can be applied to a 1080 Ti, 1070, 1070 Ti, or other nVidia GPUs.

“Shunts” are in-line resistors that have a known input voltage, which ultimately comes from the PCIe connectors or PCIe slot. In this case, we care about the in-line shunt resistors for the PCIe cables. The GPU knows the voltage across the shunt (12V, as it’s in-line with the power connectors), and the GPU also knows the resistance from the shunt (5mohm). By measuring the voltage drop across the shunt, the GPU can figure out how much current is being pulled, and then adjust to match power limitations accordingly. The shunt itself is not a limiter or a “dam,” but a measuring stick used to determine how much current is being used to drive the card.

Continuing our holiday buyer’s guides, hardcore overclocker Buildzoid has joined us to analyze the best AMD motherboards currently on the market, looking at X370 and B350 for overclocking. The boards scale from $75 to $350 as we step through nearly every single AM4 motherboard out there, with clear guidance as to which boards are most suitable for different tasks. This was primarily done as a video, but the written section below will recap the highlights. Timestamps are also provided, if the video is preferred.

For this AMD motherboard buyer’s guide, we’re primarily highlighting boards in the $120 to $200 price range, but do talk about some of the budget Ryzen motherboards. VRM capabilities and heatsinks, BIOS menus, and memory overclocking compatibility all factor into our choices.

Buildzoid of Actually Hardcore Overclocking recently joined us to explain what Load-Line Calibration is, and how LLC can be a useful tool for overclocking. LLC can also be dangerous to the life of the CPU if used carelessly, or when using the Extreme LLC setting without knowing fully how it works.

For anyone working on CPU overclocking and facing challenges with voltage stability, or anyone asking about Vdroop, LLC is a good place to start. LLC settings tuning should help stabilize voltage and prevent blasting the CPU with deadly Vcore. Learn more below:

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