Supermicro C7Z87-OCE Review
I was already pretty irritated about the BIOS update issue, but I was pretty enthusiastic about overclocking this new non-UEFI BIOS based motherboard. I used my “not so great” retail Core i7 4770k cooled by an Enermax Liqtech 120X AIO, Enermax Platimax 1350W PSU, Corsair Dominator Platinum 2400C9 DDR3 memory and an Intel 730 240GB SSD.
So I proceed like I always do: disable all unused features (audio, network, IGP, etc), deactivate all power saving features, set safe frequencies and voltages for CPU, select XMP profile, save settings and reboot. The result? No boot! This is the latest 2.0a BIOS, from may 2014 so I think they had enough time to debug all the problems since the initial release. So I modified the settings one by one to see what is the problem and how can I fix it. In the end I found out that this motherboard can’t boot with the XMP profile, so I started to set all the parameters manually. With all the settings I tried I didn’t manage to get over 2133MHz, so you can forget about the 3000MHz printed on the box…
The next thing I investigated is the CPU frequency. I set everything manually, booted in Windows and found out I was running at default non-turbo frequency. The problem was that whatever I set in BIOS regarding power limit, IA core current and voltage on the next reboot it was changed to some random values based on the profile I was on and / or the CPU multiplier. Very weird behaviour I must say!
Then I started to use the CPU frequency profiles which modifies CPU multiplier, power limit, IA core current and CPU voltage. I selected the 4.8GHz profile and then I set the multiplier manually because the CPU is not that good, in the end I got a decent 4.6GHz with 1.35v. You can’t set a fixed CPU voltage because the profile overrides that, so the only way to modify it is to use the CPU voltage offset.
It’s very hard to figure out the behaviour of this motherboard when it comes to overclocking, but the settings I got in the end were rock solid. The boot times were very good and the board recovered the BIOS after every wrong setting so I didn’t have to reset the BIOS.