-35c out and nothing to do....why not build another rig? Originally this was supposed to be a budget build coming in around the $700-$800 mark. The only way for me to keep budget in that range was to either go with a Core i3, or the aging FX series. Needless to say but the budget was increased by nearly double. I wanted to build something that was 1440P capable without breaking the bank. As per usual my builds are made to be benched, stress tested and then sold.
CPU: Bounced between and i3 and i5. Ultimately I went with the i5 because it offers better performance than an i3 and affordable when compared to K series. Another reason I went with this CPU is that it came to light that custom bios were being made for Z170 boards to allow BLCK overclocking on non K processors. Will go into detail about that shortly.
CPU Cooler: I hate the stock HSF. With size limitations, this HSF offered great bang for the buck. Also does a great job of moving air through the case until the rear 80mm fans arrive.
MOBO: Went with a Z170 board solely for it's overclocking abilities. If not overclocking, B150 or H170 offer better value. Gorgeus board, can't think of a feature it doesn't have.
RAM: Not much to be said here. The price was right. If this was being built for myself, would have definitly gone with 16gb due to only having 2x DIMMs
GPU: Easily the most difficult decision. Originally planned on going with either a GTX 960 or R9 380(X). This computer will eventually be sold and affordability was in mind. Ended up finding a 1 month old GTX 970 for $370. Same price as a R9 380x after tax. Couldn't say no.
SSD: Had this from an old build. Performs great even when compared to newer SSDs.
HDD: Storage. Enough said.
CASE: Love the look and size of m-itx builds. Had an m-atx build in mind (for Xfire/SLI support) but my local store only had B150 boards or the ASUS Maximus board. Needed Z170 for overclocking, wasn't willing to up the budget. Super easy case to build in and has decent cable management options. Flaws include 80mm fans for exhaust and honestly, no leds. It would have been nice to see the front 200mm fan with LEDs. Finding 80mm led fans of good quality isn't an easy thing to do anymore.
PSU: For a budget PSU the Smart Power series delivers. Prefer the cables over the EVGA "B" series. 650 watts allows overclocking headroom for both the CPU and GPU.
Now, on to the overclocking. I am extremely impressed with the capability of these non-K chips. With a simple bios flash I was able to get this i5 6400 up to 4.75Ghz. To overclock the non-k cpu's you adjust BCLK and end up with a static multiplier. These results do come with some catches. The custom bios also does the following:
-The missing power-management will not allow to read out any core temperature. No matter which tool you use, it will always just read 100°C.
-No C-States. CPUs will always run full speed and full voltage.
-Intel AVX is screwed. Some benchmarks like Intel XTU use AVX and you will have about 4-5 times lower score.
That being said I stopped trying at 4.75ghz. Not having an accurate temperature to look at makes this a somewhat dangerous procedure and I wasn't willing to raise the Vcore any higher. However, if you have adequate cooling it's not something I would really worry about. After using OCCT to test for approximately 4 hours I deemed the OC stable. Saving $100+ and getting comparable performance (minus AVX performance) to an overclocked i5 6600K....you really can't go wrong. I did notice that the computer would not wake up from hibernation while overclocked. More testing and tweaking will be done to see if this is a stability issue, or an issue with the custom bios.
Let me know what you guys think!
Any suggestions on a build to do next would be greatly appreciated.