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Intel Hardware

Locked Intel Skylake CPUs Can Be Overclocked After BIOS Update ( 89

jjslash writes: For a few years now, Intel CPU overclocking has been limited to more expensive Core i5 and Core i7 'K' processors. Skylake launched this year with the rumor of strong non-K processor overclocking through an adjustable base clock, but that never eventuated... until now. In overclocking circles it was rumored that BCLK (base clock) overclocking might become a possibility in Skylake processors, but it would be up to motherboard manufacturers to circumvent Intel's restrictions. Asrock, Asus and a few other motherboard manufacturers are said to be issuing a BIOS update soon that will unlock base clock overclocking on Z170 motherboards. TechSpot has got an early look, overclocking a locked Core i3-6100 to 4.7GHz on air cooling.
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Locked Intel Skylake CPUs Can Be Overclocked After BIOS Update

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  • Or you can spend a few more dollars and just buy a CPU that won't burn up and fail from overclocking.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Or you could just not overclock. These CPUs — including the non-K versions — automatically overclock themselves anyhow.

    • That's soooo last millenium!!! Ever since multi core CPUs became common, accompanied by SMP OSs supported by multi-threaded apps, there is nothing that overclocking can achieve that can't be more easily, reliably and inexpensively achieved by more cores.
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @03:20PM (#51101669) Homepage

        too bad programmers never to that memo and still write 90% of all software as single threaded.

        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          It doesn't matter. Write a single-core app on .NET and run it. Watch the CPU meters in Task Manager. Look at that! All 4 are within 10% of each other. Microsoft automatically puts the garbage collector on a different CPU as well as anything else that can run on separate threads already. This has been the case since at least Windows 7, even for a DOS batch file.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            75% is NOT written in .NET. and for good reason.

      • There is a hockey stick in the price curve to go above 4 cores, both for the CPU and motherboard. Intel wants to charge a major premium.

        Also these higher core Xeon's are often clocked much lower which can result in a major step down in performance for programs just using 1-4 cores. We recently went away from using a 14 core server for an electromagnetics simulator after finding that the stupid thing spent about half its time on one core, making our 6 core local machines 20% faster for the identical proble

    • Or you can spend a few more dollars and just buy a CPU that won't burn up and fail from overclocking.

      If a processor could be guaranteed to work at a higher frequency, the manufacturer would just label it with a higher frequency and sell it like that.

      • Sure, and that's the very definition of binning, but they must also account for demand. If Intel's process improvements yield a higher ratio of top-binned chips than the market is willing to buy, those chips will be locked and sold as the faster-selling SKU. Better to sell the thing and still make a few bucks, than have it rot in a warehouse with a $1000 price tag.

        • Theoretically, sure. But back in the real world, every manufacturer is supply constrained at the top end. There's no down-binning doing on anywhere.

  • Fake overclocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @01:34PM (#51101011) Homepage Journal

    Old days: the processor should run at 200MHz. You can push 215MHz, but you need to modify the vcore. The processor might be unstable. You might need additional cooling. The gates might just not switch correctly at that speed (miller capacitance...) without a vcore high enough to blow the chip. It's stamped 200MHz for a reason.

    Modern times: that's a 4.7GHz processor clocked at 3.8GHz. You buy it, you turn it up to 4.7GHz, don't mess with anything else, it runs 60C at full load under stock configuration. That processor came underclocked out of the box.

    • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday December 11, 2015 @01:37PM (#51101035)

      Um, I thought "binning" hadn't really changed, and that lower-clocked processors were usually sold that way because they didn't pass the higher-clock tests. Of course, you could get lucky because they probably also bin a lot of them at lower clocks just because there's more demand for cheaper CPUs, and to keep the prices of the high-clock versions high, but you're betting that you're getting a CPU binned for a lower clockspeed only for sales purposes rather than test purposes, and there's no way to know which yours is.

      • As a general rule, X processor model runs at Y speed these days. The processes are stable at high power outputs, but marketed as 80W CPUs. Most modern processors even run by default at a low clock and add 400-600MHz in "Turbo Mode" automatically when the CPU is running under sufficient load--meaning they just do regular old CPU scaling, but save the higher clock rate for when you're trying to use it. If you run SETI@HOME, they run in turbo mode 100% of the time.
      • It's true. It's incredibly expensive to scrap silicon once it's been cut from the wafer, attached to the package, and tested. They'll fuse them differently and mark them differently and sell them. The consequence of just shit-canning everything but the cream-of-the-crop parts would be you'd pay $1000 for a CPU (or some such relatively astronomical figure). Also, there is such a thing as 'margining', where silicon is tested beyond the design parameters, but not 'officially' rated for operation outside those
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

        I personally really don't see the point of OCing anymore, I really don't. back when I had the Celeron 300, the one that would OC to 450Mhz? yes that made sense to try because we only had a single core and your CPU was being made obsolete almost before you got it out the box. I remember going from 400Mhz to 1200Mhz in like a 3 year period, it was insane.

        But now what is the point? My AMD FX-8320E can easily have the base clocked cranked up to around 4.5Ghz-4.6Ghz.....and? What program am I gonna use that I'm

        • My AMD FX-8320E can easily have the base clocked cranked up to around 4.5Ghz-4.6Ghz..... I have yet to find a game or program that my chip can't just blow through

          types that don't know shit about CPU arches and think cranking an i3 is gonna somehow make them competitive with an i7, so for them...yay I guess?

          oh, how wrong you are :)
          try World of Tanks ( [] ), SINGLE THREADED game written in python (and some ActionScript!) of all the languages :)
          You will find your FX overclocked to 4.6GHz barely pushing 60fps, and being beaten by $30 Intel cpus. Doesnt really matter if its Core2, pentium, i3 i5 or i7, all that counts is MHz and raw IPC.

          • Yet isn't it funny that when you use code compiled with GCC instead of ICC you get these results? [] This is why you can't base shit on a single or even couple game benchmarks anymore, there is just too many ways to grossly affect the outcome. If you gave me the code to a popular game and let me control the compiler? I have ZERO doubt that I could make a 2003 Sempron beat an i7, its all about making sure the code supports the advanced features of the chip you want to win, while ignoring those features in the c

            • WoWS, nice. Have you been playing Ranked? Lots of good rewards even if you don't make Rank 1. I got the pirate flag and now have enough Silver to afford my Gearing when I unlock it. Getting from Rank 10 to Rank 5 was harder than getting from Rank 5 to Rank 1 because the incompetents can get to Rank 10 without too much trouble, then you have to put up with them until you hit Rank 5
        • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

          1. RTS games, esp with lots of units and cpu opponents.
          2. FPS games during multiplayer. despite common belief, today's engines physics are heavily cpu dependent. The simplistic physics of quake are long behind us.
          3. simulation - video encoding - ray tracing - faster multi core on the cheap (compared with your expensive xeons). a 4.7ghz 4core chip will do better than an 8 core at 2.6ghz, yet is much cheaper. You might be a rich bastard, but lots aren't.
          4. emulation - very cpu heavy, it uses relatively few c

      • I think this has more to do with TDP than binning these days. They underclock the CPUs to mark it at a lower TDP. The ones that are capable of higher clock speeds get binned into 'overclockable'. That way they still get to advertise their energy star compliance but allow you to undo that with a flip of a switch in the BIOS. I know my desktop CPU is overclockable but I never bother. The thing will automatically increase its clock speed by ~30% if its really under load.
      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        And what happens when the yields start providing 99% perfect chips but the demand curve is still the same?
        • And what happens when the yields start providing 99% perfect chips but the demand curve is still the same?

          The unicorns will make up the difference.

        • But *are* the yields that good? They keep pushing the process technology every generation, so I'd think they'd never get to 99% perfect chips. If they just stuck with 2010-era chips, then sure.

    • You're never guaranteed to be able to clock a chip purchased at 3.8GHz prices up to 4.7GHz. You are guaranteed a chip that will run at 3.8GHz.

      If you want to roll the dice and attempt to run it faster, more power to you, but if you want to guarantee that it'll run at the higher speed, you pay more.

      What's the problem here?

      • "Guarantee" is a funny word. No processor has a 100% probability of running at the rated speed--or even powering on at all. A guarantee only means someone is willing to make good on the defect.

        The problem here is that they used to build processors to run at the rated speed, test them to make sure they run at the rated speed, de-rate them to a stable speed if they can only run at a lower speed, and sell them at a speed rated to design and, possibly, to testing. Today, they build processors to run at a h

        • *Shh* No sense in blinding people with reality, it will burst their bubble.
        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          "Guaranteed" isn't a funny word since if the 4.2 won't run at 4.2, Intel will give you another one. If the 3.8 won't run at 4.2, tough. Seems like the EXACT meaning of "guaranteed" to me.
        • I think a lot of it has to do with the emphasis on power usage. The chip is supposed to have a TDP of 75W. Sure, it will run at 4.2GHz just fine, but you have to crank up the voltage a bit and now it exceeds 75W. So they sell it as a 3.8GHz chip because it can run at that speed and meet the power requirements. If it was 10 years ago, it would be sold as 4.4GHz chip with a TDP of 130W, because MHz was king and a lot less attention was given to the power usage.

          Because of this, with most chips nowadays you

    • by Ken_g6 ( 775014 )

      Most CPUs have been significantly overclockable for at least 15 years. []

      • Try reading that article. It mentions you need to get some higher-grade coolant (read: a bigger heat sink and fan), validate the airflow in your case, raise the voltage, etc.

        Today, you put in the stock heatsink and fan that came in the same Intel Core I7 3.8GHz box as your processor, you go into the stock BIOS, and you say "make me 4.2GHz." Done. Works in a cheap case.

        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          And in 2009, I bought a $59 AMD 2-core Phenom X2 and turned on the other 2 cores on the motherboard to turn it into a $580 4-core Phenom X4. Stock cooler, no overvoltage. It's been running that way for almost 7 years no problem.
      • Hardly. I'd say things have only been significantly overclockable since about 2009 (with Nehalem), though I have seen some people have some pretty good luck with the Core 2 chips. Overclocking the netburst (Pentium 4) chips like the article you linked to is tricky business. Almost all of them are multiplier locked, so your only option is to overclock the FSB. Which also overclocks the PCI/AGP bus and memory along with the CPU. This limits your ability to overclock significantly because you can only go u

    • This happened in old days too.
      Take a Celeron 300A, itself a Pentium II variant that was as fast as a Pentium II anyway ; put the bus at 100MHz instead of 66MHz.

      I had the Celeron 500 instead : put the bus at 75MHz instead of 66MHz. That wasn't as dramatic but directly translated to framerate increase in Quake 3 games. 83MHz worked at the cost of more or less slowly killing the motherboard.

      In older days overclocking was about unheard of because it was pre-internet days (including all of the 90s in most countr

      • I had an official AMD 486dx280 except my computer would only run stable at 66Mhz or on 80Mhz with the secondary (on motherboard) cache disabled. I had better luck with the pentium II 266 I bought afterwards. It would run at 300Mhz (4x75) with no problem.
  • eventuated (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11, 2015 @02:04PM (#51101183)

    Is eventuated the new hip business buzzword?

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      Is eventuated the new hip business buzzword?

      It was necessitated.

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      Soon you will receive a cease and desist from "Eventuated Technologies LLC", leaders in fusion, flying cars and holographic storage.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Some people will verbify any word.

  • Skylake launched this year with the rumor of strong non-K processor overclocking

    Within the Skylake generation, these CPUs might be relatively strong. But from the first AnandTech reviews in Q3 this year, I gathered Skylake itself wasn't all that special. 5-7% improvements compared to Broadwell, including a couple of regressions in certain circumstances.

    And we're still waiting for the equivalent of the Haswell with Iris Pro, for high end laptops, IIRC.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      And especially regression in the CPU-specific areas, like compiling, audio and video compression, etc. But hey, you get 1-2 more frames on the latest games!
      • Yeah, it's a weird situation we're in. I got a MacBook Air with Haswell in 2013, and that was a biiig jump power-wise. But Intel has had so much trouble with Broadwell and Skylake :-/

    • Yep, small bump in performance, modest drop in power. Check back in a couple years, you might get another 10-15%, still only 4 cores, probably still have to pay 2-3x to get 6 cores without the stupid integrated graphics, even though it will be the same process and silicon area as the 4 core that includes the stupid integrated graphics.

  • The guys with the ATV vehicles go out and try to find places where they can 'mud.' They don't need to travel there, they go for the adventure of the trip.

    Back when my main machine sported a Pentium 75 processor, I was ready for an upgrade. A guy at work (the QA manager, actually) jumped at the chance to buy my old Pentium 75 CPU. It wasn't because he needed the processing power for anything in particular, he just said it was 'a good processor to overclock.' It was a good deal for me because it paid for

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, the guys with the ATV vehicles go to the ATM machine and enter their PIN number.

  • but that never eventuated

    Your casualizing new usagenesses for words has me wondering if you ended up straight onto the Internet without actually attending through K-8th...

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller