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MSI Z170 Motherboards Receive BIOS Update to Support Non-K Overclocking

Intel’s business strategy for some time has been to only offer an unlocked multiplier on higher end CPUs. While this makes the overclocking process extremely simple, it encourages the enthusiast user to spend more money to access any manual frequency boosts. However, professional overclocker Dhenzjhen managed to attain 4.6GHz on a locked multiplier Intel Core i3 6320. Not only that, this was achieved on the Supermicro H170 motherboard. This is remarkable because Intel’s H170 chipset theoretically doesn’t allow for any overclocking headroom whatsoever even with an K-series CPU. So how does this work?

The motherboard in question features a BIOS which allows for BCLK adjustments. Unlike the previous generation, BCLK isn’t linked to the PCI-E bus and any changes only impacts on the CPU, graphics and memory. There’s also a greater degree of accuracy when changing the CPU strap, and you no longer have to rely on 100MHZ, 125MHz and 167MHz. Without giving too much away, our review of the motherboard in question will be published soon and let’s just say the results are fascinating.

Now that this has been replicated by some vendors, it’s possible to enable identical functionality on other motherboards. Today, MSI announced their entire Z170 range will now support non-K series BCLK overclocking with a BIOS update. Here is a complete list of supported MSI Z170 models as of 18th of December:

Please note, the process does have some limitations. For example, you cannot overclock via this method and use the CPU’s iGPU. However, this isn’t a major problem as overclocking aficionados usually have a dedicated graphics card. On another note, the CPU’s EIST, C-states and Turbo Boost will all be disabled. Clearly, this isn’t recommended by Intel and they might refuse any warranty if you cause damage to the CPU. Although the likelihood of this happening, or Intel finding out is almost zero. Nevertheless, MSI rightfully included a disclaimer which reads:

“Overclocking Intel non-K CPUs is not officially supported by Intel and the BIOS versions created by MSI unlocking this option are all beta versions. Intel may choose to disable this option at any time. At no point MSI can be taken responsible for disabling overclocking for non-K CPUs.”

No-one currently knows how Intel will react, and I’m fairly sure they aren’t best pleased with this discovery. Despite this it’s a great development for consumers wanting to maximize their money when purchasing a CPU.

Please visit this page to access your motherboards BIOS update.

John Williamson

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