- 83 months ago
A lot of people seem to have questions regarding the stability of a motherboard when overclocked. This question also ties into the question of which motherboard to buy as I plan to overclock. In addition there are a lot of questions about the overclocking ability of X motherboard to Y motherboard. An example of this is… is the Maximus VI Hero better than the Z87-Pro or is the SABERTOOTH Z87 better? To try and make things easier I have completed and compiled a set of stability tests to show the consistency of the overclocking experience offered on ASUS Z87 motherboards. With this noted please consider a couple of key points.
The overall VRM power component quality, heat sink, trace layout and overall board design all impact stability, reliability and overclocking. Memory compatibility is especially important and can be impacted by trace layout of the motherboard. ASUS has spent considerable time to offer a minimum design specification to ensure a consistent experience for the majority of its boards in the performance segment for Z87. In addition the UEFI which has just as much importance ensuring the compatibility, stability and overclocking ability of the boards has been developed to ensure a rich and flexible set of tuning parameter along with smooth overclocking via the implementation of great auto rules. This means you have minimal items to manipulate to ensure a solid and smooth overclock. Lastly as always overclocking is heavily influenced by the variable quality of the CPU and the cooling solution. As such there is always variability to the result that can and will be achieved. The important factor is to help understand your experience should your CPU, cooling, psu, memory be up to part that the motherboard will enable and substation a solid overclocking experience.
With that noted please consider the points below.
All the boards offer overclocking up to and greater than 4.8GHz. I have selected 4.8GHz as being the overall real world limit for Haswell based CPUs ( both the 4770K and 4670K ). Boards that are higher end will offer more robust options for enthusiasts and tweakers and tuners but not necessarily better overclocking at least relative to real world air cooled results. When pursuing more elaborate overclocks and tuning parameters such as BCLK or high DRAM and high CPU simultaneously there will be some additional differences in the overall overclocking experience. With that noted the majority of users targeting overclocks of 4.4 to 4.8GHz with memory dividers between 1600 to 2400+ will have a consistent experience across these boards.
While a higher end board will not offer necessarily superior overclocking ( at least in standard ways )the board can offer superior or higher end VRM components and superior VRM cooling. This can provide superior efficiency reduced thermal load on the VRM and help to aid in more aggressive or high load usage for aggressive overclocks. Additionally there may be further points of tuning available which could be useful to users looking to tweak or push the hardware.
The options for overclocking across all these boards are the same no board is stripped down in the UEFI ( options regarding to voltages, DRAM timings VRM adjustments and much more are all consistently present. ROG series motherboard will offer more specialized tuning parameters which enthusiasts looking for the highest performance and tweaking and most margin out of a CPU can benefit but for the majority of users and overclockers you will have the same options and functions available to you. Some of these exclusive options require time and patience to take advantage of as they are very specific to DRAM, CPU and Power Regulation and VRM. As a whole though most users will benefit from leaving the majority of all settings including ROG boards in auto parameters.
CPU - 4770K
Koolance Exos - Fully integrated watercooling solution EXOS EX2-755 V2 with Koolance Water Block
Memory / DRAM / RAM - Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR3 2400
SSD / Storage - Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB
PSU - Corsair AX 760 Watt and Corsair AX 850 Watt
Motherboards Tested -
Z87 A Z87 Plus Z87 Pro Z87 Expert Z87 Deluxe Z87 Deluxe Dual SABERTOOTH Z87 GRYPHON Z87 Z87 WS MAXIMUS VI GENE MAXIMUS VI HERO MAXIMUS VI FORMULA MAXIMUS VI EXTREME
Stability test used - Aida 64 updated to latest build at the time. This was used due to its ability to fully load the CPU and Memory simultaneously as well as supporting the Z87 Chipset and CPU. In addition it offers support for instruction sets specific to the CPU architecture to ensure a more complete level of testing and stress for the CPU and IMC.
Below you will see screenshots take on each system after they have completed a minimum of 1 hour of stability testing.
http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzZ87PROAida64StabilityTestPassed1Hour_zps5706ac0a.jpg http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzZ87PLUSAida64StabilityTestPassed1Hour_zpsf700a2d7.png http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzZ87EXPERTAida64StabilityTestPassed2Hours_zps98a42435.png http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzZ87DeluxeDualAida64StabilityTestPassed1Hours_zps9bc69428.jpg http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzZ87-AAida64StabilityTestPassed1Hour_zps7af0e2d9.jpg http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzSABERTOOTHZ87Aida64StabilityTestPassed1Hour_zps05941e3c.jpg http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzWithAdditionalStabilityTestsCompleted_zps55f83e42.png http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzMaximusVIFormulaAida64StabilityTestPassed1Hour_zps18f808f4.png http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400Z87-DeluxeAida64StabilityTestPassed2Hours_zps7461a144.jpg http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzMAXIMUSVIHEROAida64StabilityTestPassed1Hour_zpsababadb7.jpg http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzMaximusVIGeneAida64StabilityTestPassed1Hour_zpsfa484c24.jpg http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzMaximusVIExtremeAida64StabilityTestPassed1Hour_zps16e156cf.jpg http://i1345.photobucket.com/albums/p667/asustechmkt/48GHz2400MHzGRYPHONZ87Aida64StabilityTestPassed13Hours_zpsc2934b9d.jpg
Hope this helps some of you feel confident in your selection of ASUS Z87 series boards. More importantly hopefully you will focus on looking at the board relative to the features and functions offered.