Gigabyte Z97X-SOC (LGA 1150) Sub-Zero Overclocking Review

by - 5 years ago

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Motherboard OC Features


The board is definitely designed for extreme overclocking in mind with hardware controls for things such as power, reset, BCLK steppings, and just so much more than the average user will ever need. OC Touch is very helpful to those who will be benchmarking or pushing the board and CPU to the limits. Here you can increase and decrease multipliers and bus speeds of the CPUs, though if you want to change the bus speed with OC Touch in Windows you will need to install the “OC Button Tool” available from Gigabyte’s download page. In Overclocking these, the BCLK and Multi adjustment buttons are great since you can adjust speed on the fly and that is key when you have to be at a certain temp in order to run at that speed. The dipswitches allow you to disable PCI-E lanes and RAM slots without needing to take out the modules which are great especially when you have everything insulated and mounted with pots while overclocking. The Voltage read spots are a great way to keep an eye on your voltages when you are running at the brink and you want to make sure that what your settings in bios is the actual physical voltage being fed to the CPU. The Debug LED is key to narrowing down any problems and making sure you are aware what is going on while the system is booting.The  OC Trigger switch will take your CPU down to the lowest possible speed so as to be very stable – so if you were running at the brink and then passed the benchmark and flipped the switch you could take a screenshot without worry of losing the results to a crash. The Dual BIOS switches are also here in case you corrupt your main bios, meaning that you have a second bios to fall back onto instead of having a dead board. This is a great added bit of piece of mind for when you are really stressing your motherboard.

Gigabyte Z97 SOC - OC Touch

OC Connect is a great feature for those who use the board on a bench table when they are testing or overclocking the system. It allows the user to easily attach up to two USB drives to what would usually be the front of the system while it was being tested. This makes it a lot easier and safer than reaching over a system that is powered on and possibly filled with multiple pots of liquid nitrogen or dry ice.

Gigabyte Z97 SOC - OC Connect

OC Ignition is an amazing feature for extreme overclockers as it allows your board to still maintain power to run the fans and retain data when things are getting a bit hectic. It can also safely help users test the water cooling systems or mods without potentially putting the components at risk. One great thing about this feature when using sub zero cooling is that it allows the board to stay powered while “off” so it keeps the fans on and will bring up the temps slowly which are helpful to extreme overclockers. Having the fans on will keep air moving and help prevent condensation which is the biggest worry when benching. Being able to slowly warm up the system also means you can walk away and get a drink or take care of other aspects and not have to babysit the rig while you bring it back up to non sub-zero temps before you take it back down again.

Gigabyte Z97 SOC - OC Ignition

CPU VRM

The board features very durable 10K Black solid capacitors which are rated for 10,000 hours of operation at temperatures reaching 105°C which depending on how far your system is pushed, can be extremely possible.

Z97X SOC - vrm-2

A close up of the IR3553M under a digital microscope which provides stable voltage regulation to the board.

Z97X SOC - vrm

The IR3553M (Integrated PowIRstage) features synchronous buck gate drivers co-packed with a control MOSFET and a synchronous MOSFET.

Z97X SOC - vrm-3

The IR3564B from International Rectifier is a fully digital Dual loop, 4+1 multiphase PWM controller which is designed for high efficiency and accurate CPU voltage regulation, which should help greatly with achieving stable overclocks. As will the primary and synchronous MOSFET which have an output current capability of 40A DC each.

Z97X SOC - vrm-5

Article Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Motherboard OC Features
  3. Software
  4. BIOS
  5. Testing & Methodology
  6. Results
  7. LN2 Testing
  8. Final Thoughts
  9. View All

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