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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Last Updated: November 15, 2021

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Welcome to the Daily Memory Overclock thread for DDR4 memory on the Z690 Chipset (LGA1700), below I have included a (VRM List / Spec Sheet / Spreadsheet).
If you are interested in DDR5 boards instead there's a separate thread: [Official] Intel Z690 Motherboard Roundup (OCN Edition)

Z690 Tools
ASRock Timing Configurator (4.0.13)
ASUS MemTweakIt (20210910)
MSI Dragon Ball (1.0.0.08)
MSI Dragon Power (1.0.0.6)

Motherboard Roundup for DDR4
Legend

  • ๐Ÿ’ฒ Price - MSRP in US Dollar
  • Form Factor - ITX / mATX / ATX / EATX
  • DIMM Slots - Number of RAM slots (enhanced overclocking with 2)
  • Verified SR/DR - Single and Dual Rank Memory Frequency in Gear 1, verified by members
  • โšก PWM - VRM PWM Controller (ASP / RAA)
  • โšก Stages - VRM Power Stages (RAA / SiC)
  • โšก Config - VRM Configuration (Direct / Parallel / Doubler)
  • ๐Ÿ’พ M.2 - Number of M.2 2280 slots
  • ๐Ÿ“บ Output - DisplayPort or HDMI or Both
  • ๐Ÿ”Š Optical - TOSLINK (Toshiba Link), also known as S/PDIF
  • ๐ŸŒˆ RGB - Number of 4-Pin RGB / 3-Pin A-RGB Headers, also known as D-RGB
  • ๐ŸŒก Sensor - Number of Temperature Sensor Headers 2-Pin (๐Ÿ”Œ)
  • โšช Power Button - On-board Button (๐ŸŸข) or 2-Pin (๐Ÿ”Œ) or Both (๐Ÿ”Œ+๐ŸŸข)
  • โšช Clear CMOS - On-board Button (๐ŸŸข) or 2-Pin (๐Ÿ”Œ) or Both (๐Ÿ”Œ+๐ŸŸข)
  • โšช Safe Boot - On-board Button (๐ŸŸข) or 2-Pin (๐Ÿ”Œ) or Both (๐Ÿ”Œ+๐ŸŸข)
  • ๐Ÿ’ฏ Debug LED - Status LED with CODE (2 digit display)
  • ๐ŸŒ Wi-Fi - Intel WiFi 6E AX210 module with Bluetooth (BT) 5.2
ASRock
ASRock Inc. (stylised as ASRock) was founded in Taipei, Taiwan in 2002 by AsusTek, currently headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan.

๐Ÿ’ฒ
Price
ModelForm
Factor
DIMM
Slots
Verified
SR/DR
โšก
PWM
โšก
Stages
โšก
Config
๐Ÿ’พ
M.2
๐Ÿ“บ
Output
๐Ÿ”Š
Optical
๐ŸŒˆ
RGB
๐ŸŒก
Sensor
โšช
Power Button
โšช
Clear CMOS
โšช
Safe Boot
๐Ÿ’ฏ
Debug LED
๐ŸŒ
Wi-Fi
290​
Extreme
ATX​
4​
โ”​
โ”​
โ”​
3​
Both
โœ…​
1 + 3​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โŒ​
โœ…​
270​
ATX​
4​
โ”​
โ”​
โ”​
3​
Both
โœ…​
1 + 3​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โŒ​
โœ…​
โ”​
PG Riptide
ATX​
4​
โ”​
โ”​
โ”​
3​
HDMI​
โœ…​
1 + 3​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐ŸŸข​
โŒ​
โŒ​
โŒ​
190​
Pro RS
ATX​
4​
โ”​
โ”​
โ”​
3​
Both
โŒ​
1 + 3​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โŒ​
โŒ​
ASRock boards not included (same board but without Wi-Fi): Extreme and Steel Legend (also decided not to include PG 4, PG 4 and ITX because they only feature 6 to 8 power stages with a small heatsink)
ASUS
AsusTek Computer (stylised as ASUS) was founded in Taipei, Taiwan in 1989, currently headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan.

๐Ÿ’ฒ
Price
ModelForm
Factor
DIMM
Slots
Verified
SR/DR
โšก
PWM
โšก
Stages
โšก
Config
๐Ÿ’พ
M.2
๐Ÿ“บ
Output
๐Ÿ”Š
Optical
๐ŸŒˆ
RGB
๐ŸŒก
Sensor
โšช
Power Button
โšช
Clear CMOS
โšช
Safe Boot
๐Ÿ’ฏ
Debug LED
๐ŸŒ
Wi-Fi
350​
Strix A
ATX​
4​
4300+/4300+​
16x 80A
Parallel​
4​
Both
โŒ​
1 + 3​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ + ๐ŸŸข​
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โœ…​
290​
TUF Plus
ATX​
4​
4300+/4300+​
14x 80A
Parallel​
4​
Both
โœ…​
1 + 3​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โŒ​
โœ…​
220​
Prime P
ATX​
4​
โ”​
14x 50A
Parallel​
3​
Both
โœ…​
1 + 3​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โŒ​
โœ…​
190​
Prime Plus
mATX
4​
โ”​
10x 50A
Parallel​
3​
Both
โŒ​
1 + 3​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โŒ​
โŒ​
Warning: Latest BIOS (0605) is not allowing for optimal memory frequencies, Dual Rank sticks struggle hard (3733) as well as Single Rank frequency (4100) is not reaching its full potential.
There is an unofficial BIOS update that unlocks the TUF
Plus, TUF Plus Wi-Fi and Strix A to 4200 frequency on both Single and Dual Rank! (Download here!)
Safe Boot (FlexKey/DirectKey)
is also not working on the Strix-A, or if it is, it's useless since it doesn't work during a failed overclock, thus it's not actually Safe Boot.

ASUS boards not included (same board but without Wi-Fi): TUF Plus and Prime P

GIGABYTE
GIGA-BYTE Technology (stylised as GIGABYTE) was founded in Taipei, Taiwan in 1986, currently headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan and California, United States.

๐Ÿ’ฒ
Price
ModelForm
Factor
DIMM
Slots
Verified
SR/DR
โšก
PWM
โšก
Stages
โšก
Config
๐Ÿ’พ
M.2
๐Ÿ“บ
Output
๐Ÿ”Š
Optical
๐ŸŒˆ
RGB
๐ŸŒก
Sensor
โšช
Power Button
โšช
Clear CMOS
โšช
Safe Boot
๐Ÿ’ฏ
Debug LED
๐ŸŒ
Wi-Fi
330​
AORUS Pro
ATX​
4​
4000/3600​
Direct
4​
DP​
โœ…​
2 + 2​
๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ + ๐ŸŸข​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ + ๐ŸŸข​
โœ…​
โœ…​
290​
AORUS Ultra
ITX
2
โ”​
PCP81530​
Direct
2​
Both
โŒ​
1 + 1​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ + ๐ŸŸข​
โŒ​
โœ…​
290​
Creator Aero G
ATX​
4​
โ”​
Direct
4​
Both
โœ…​
2 + 2​
๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ + ๐ŸŸข​
โŒ​
โœ…​
270​
AORUS Elite AX
ATX​
4​
โ”​
Direct
4​
Both
โœ…​
2 + 2​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ + ๐ŸŸข​
โŒ​
โœ…​
230​
AORUS Elite AX
mATX
4​
โ”​
RAA229131​
Direct
3​
Both
โœ…​
2 + 2​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ + ๐ŸŸข​
โŒ​
โœ…​
230​
Gaming X
ATX​
4​
โ”​
RAA229131​
Direct
4​
Both
โœ…​
2 + 2​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ + ๐ŸŸข​
โŒ​
โŒ​
220​
Ultra Durable AX
ATX​
4​
โ”​
RAA229131​
Direct
3​
Both
โŒ​
2 + 2​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ + ๐ŸŸข​
โŒ​
โœ…​
Warning: Latest/Release BIOS (F3 and F4) is not allowing for optimal memory frequencies, Dual Rank sticks struggle hard as well as Single Rank frequency is far from competing brands.
Safe Boot/Reset Button is also not working, or if it is, it's useless since it doesn't work during a failed overclock, thus it's not actually Safe Boot.
Warning 2: There appear to be serious BIOS bugs on the Gaming X and Elite AX, unconfirmed on other boards, but it's serious enough to actually advice everyone to avoid all Gigabyte boards for now, until BIOS updates are pushed out and bugs are confirmed fixed, this warning will remain!


GIGABYTE boards not included (same board but without Wi-Fi): AORUS Elite, AORUS Elite and
Ultra Durable

MSI
Micro-Star International (stylised MSI) was founded in Taipei, Taiwan in 1986, currently headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan.

๐Ÿ’ฒ
Price
ModelForm
Factor
DIMM
Slots
Verified
SR/DR
โšก
PWM
โšก
Stages
โšก
Config
๐Ÿ’พ
M.2
๐Ÿ“บ
Output
๐Ÿ”Š
Optical
๐ŸŒˆ
RGB
๐ŸŒก
Sensor
โšช
Power Button
โšช
Clear CMOS
โšช
Safe Boot
๐Ÿ’ฏ
Debug LED
๐ŸŒ
Wi-Fi
320​
MPG Edge
ATX​
4​
4133/โ”​
Direct
4​
Both
โœ…​
1 + 3​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โœ…​
300​
MAG Tomahawk
ATX​
4​
โ”​
โ”​
Parallel​
4​
Both
โœ…​
1 + 3​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โœ…​
220​
Pro A
ATX​
4​
4300+/4300+​
โ”​
โ”​
4​
Both
โŒ​
1 + 2​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โœ…​
190​
Pro P
ATX​
4​
โ”​
โ”​
12x โ”A​
โ”​
2​
Both
โœ…​
โ”​
โŒ​
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
๐Ÿ”Œ
โŒ​
โŒ​
Warning: Safe Boot function is tied to the Clear CMOS 2-pin header, it will require a manual power on as well as loading a saved profile, not the last one you tried to boot.

MSI boards not included (same board but without Wi-Fi): Pro A

RAA229131 is a 20-phase PWM Controller by Renesas.
ASP2100 is a 10?-phase PWM Controller by ASUS (rebranded).
MP2960 is a 10?-phase PWM Controller by Monolithic Power Systems.
ASP1900B is an 8-phase PWM Controller by ASUS (rebranded).
PCP81530 is a 14-phase? PWM Controller by ONSemi.

RAA22010540 is a 105A MOSFET by Renesas.
RAA220075 is a 75A MOSFET by Renesas.
RAA220075R0 is a 75A MOSFET by Renesas.
SiC659 is a 80A MOSFET by Vishay.
SiC643 is a 80A MOSFET by Vishay.
FDMF5062 is a 70A MOSFET by ONSemi.
ISL99390 is a 90A MOSFET by Intersil (Renesas).
MP86992 is a 70A MOSFET by Monolithic Power Systems.
 

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What is ironic, we haven't seen DDR4 RKL GEAR2 high clock dailies either. Wasn't that cause they were beaten by GEAR1 3600 ?
since when? it took 3866c14 1T to beat 5kc17 1T in everything. even 2t 3866 wasnt conclusive. but 4k 2t caught up.

how many ppl u know of is dailying either of those clocks. 3866c13 1T daily stable only one person afaik. 5kc16-17 less than 5 afaik actually daily stable. 4kc13 or c14 DR
i only know of two person.


beside the point. some ppl here seem to think adl imc same like rkl

no harm for a short-lived thread. continue on gents.
 

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since when? it took 3866c14 1T to beat 5kc17 1T in everything. even 2t 3866 wasnt conclusive. but 4k 2t caught up.
How many were running 5kc17 tho? And at what price of the kit. 3600-3733 was where the action was, not some 5000 nonsense with gear2.

The same will repeat with ADL, at least with ADL there is hope that soon proper DDR5 kits will appear, not that 60ns latency @6400 nonsense.
 

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How many were running 5kc17 tho? And at what price of the kit. 3600-3733 was where the action was, not some 5000 nonsense with gear2.

The same will repeat with ADL, at least with ADL there is hope that soon proper DDR5 kits will appear, not that 60ns latency @6400 nonsense.
this is ocn. i remind u. not reddit .

so if latency is so true. why is zen cpu smacking intel?

also have u seen a ddr5 1T?

so why are u so sure of something like this.. ??
anyway dont see the harm, carry on.,
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
so if latency is so true. why is zen cpu smacking intel?
Rocket Lake and Zen3 trade blows, Rocket Lake has faster memory (~12ns lower) but Zen3 has twice the L3 cache, 2 to 4MB per core. So they even out, that's really it, not more complicated than that. Zen3 gains a few % over Rocket Lake in some titles (mainly from increased core count on 5900X and 5950X) and in others the roles are reversed, Rocket Lake on top by a few %.

Alder Lake with Rocket Lake memory is where the magic will happen, looking at roughly ~20-25% higher performance. Coffee/Comet to Rocket Lake we saw 20% IPC improvement from 25% larger cores, double L2 cache and more, now we're seeing the same plus a little more from more than double L2 cache and close to double L3 cache.

We saw a 1.5ns memory penalty from Coffee/Comet to Rocket Lake, and should see slightly more on Alder, but we'll have to wait and see, regardless we should still be able to hit very close to 40ns, meanwhile on DDR5 you'd be lucky to get even remotely close to 50ns, that'd take new ICs that can do 8000 MT/s CL30, fastest DDR5 overclock I've seen is 8000 MT/s at CL50, we're maybe a year away from decent DDR5 latency. And bandwidth is completely irrelevant, games don't benefit from the increased bandwidth offered by DDR5, but you can't downclock DDR5 either, since it's Gear 2 so you'd cripple IMC frequency, hence latency takes a big hit.

But, we'll see.. I'm going to test both Z690I AORUS Ultra (DDR4) and Z690 AORUS Pro (DDR4) as soon as they're available, already ordered a 12900K and got water cooling ready for both.
 

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I'm having internal debate about DDR4 vs DDR5 because I upgrade CPU/Mobo only once very 5-6 years. DDR4 is cheaper initially and might be slightly faster day1, but it feels a bit meh buying dying tech. DDR5 has huge potential and there will probably be big gains to be had in games in a couple of years once better sticks are out along with new graphics cards.

DDR4 mobo = locked into same memory performance for the next 5 years.
DDR5 mobo = possibility of great performance gains simply by upgrading RAM sticks in a couple of years.

What do you all think? Can't wait to see these RAM benchmarks, as well as Win10 vs Win11.
 

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I think itยดs interesting how good ADL performed with DDR4, the second is the most "oc people" will use DDR5 and have no ear for DDR4 optimise.
And it gives enough people who want save money and no highend equip.
Some changes in DDR5 like the refresh in a same Bank and the double of the Burst length, make it unpossible to compare the latency each other.

Asus has said in the in the most cases DDR5 is faster, perhapยดs itยดs also possible to reach really good resultยดs with "high end" DDR4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Finished the motherboard roundup for now, just missing a few PWM Controllers, but it's very clear that the Gigabyte boards stand out from the rest!

They all have the MultiKey function, same as FlexKey on ASUS, but ASUS keeps FlexKey only on their ROG Maximus boards (Hero, Apex, Formula and Extreme), which means their cheapest Z690 with a safe boot button (or function) is: $650 pre-tax, meanwhile the same function is offered on the entire line-up of Gigabyte boards, including the cheapest UD non-WiFi board that starts at $195, now that's impressive! And not only is it offered through the on-board button, it's also offered through your own external 2-pin switch (see image below), so you can use it with a closed case, which you can't on the ASUS boards, so even more impressive!

Automotive lighting Font Amber Cable Electronic device

MultiKey
- Multiple function set by BIOS (Reset or RGB Switch or Direct to BIOS or Safe Mode)

As for the VRM, even their cheapest $195 board appears to be using the same 12-Phase RAA229131 PWM Controller as the ($699 pre-tax) ROG Maximus Apex board, it's featured on the Elite AX ($250 pre-tax) that use the same 8-Phase configuration, and since the Gaming X ($210 pre-tax) share PCB with the Elite AX (just missing the Wi-Fi module and 60A stages down from 70A), it's rather safe to say it's using the same PWM Controller, since it's still 8-Phase 16 Stage 960A! And even if it isn't, it's confirmed that the Elite AX at $250 does, so just a cool $450 less than an Apex (and sure we haven't discussed the stages, but nonetheless, not often we see such high end controllers on such cheap boards).

I would definitely recommend the Gaming X ($210 pre-tax) over the Elite AX if it wasn't for the fact that Gaming X isn't included in the AORUS line, raises some concerns about the BIOS specifically, but once the board is out we'd learn quick if the BIOS is the same or not, from the specs and images the PCB is identical, other than the 60A stages down from 70A and missing Wi-Fi module. And as for the 60A vs 70A stages, they almost surely don't matter, what most people don't know is that the VRM, starting on Z490 boards (because of 10900K 10C/20T), is severely overkill, and the culprit of the boards costing so much more than earlier chipset boards, people really need to understand that boards like 'ROG Maximus X Apex' (Z370) ran with only 8x 50A stages (400A) and didn't have the slightest issue powering a 9900K 8C/16T at 5.3GHz 1.4V+ (it could even do 7GHz on LN2, all core Cinebench), the heatsink barely crossed 50ยฐC with no active cooling (5.3/1.4V+), especially when gaming as you never really hit above 50% total CPU usage, on average in an intensely (processor/memory) bottlenecked game like Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto V, Warzone or World of Warcraft, it's pulling at most 150W (roughly 50% usage), a 11700K 8C/16T at 5.1GHz 1.4V pulls 160-165W, so a bit more (for several reasons), and even if you were to push the CPU in AVX and saw a 250W power consumption, still wouldn't be enough to warrant active cooling. So all of these 16 to 18 stage 'budget' 70-90A boards are just insanely strong, the 16x 60A (960A) $195 pre-tax UD board has enough juice to get a 12900K to 6GHz with ease.. that's where we are at right now, so if you are a casual gamer or overclocker, who just wants a 12900K to 5.0-5.2GHz or TVB 5.3GHz+, then it really does not matter which board you get, they are all capable of it (except for the lower end ASRock boards), but as long as it's 12-16 stage, it's seriously overkill. And if you're purely a gamer it's been shown to be beneficial to completely disable the E-cores, meaning it would never even get close to 200W in gaming, likely possible to run it on the lower end ASRock boards at that point, without breaking a sweat.

So yeah, that's the main reason I'd recommend the Gaming X, it's definitely a nicer board than the UD (both are overkill), for almost the same cost, so why the hell not. And if you were to ask me, what about ASUS? I'd say they are all worse than even the UD.

390Strix AATX45333ASP210016x 80AParallel4BothโŒ1 + 3๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ๐ŸŸขโŒโŒโœ…
200UD AXATX45333RAA22913116x 60AParallel3BothโŒ2 + 2โŒ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”ŒโŒโœ…

Strix
+
20A on the Power Stages (next to completely irrelevant, 960A on the UD is already insane and the stage characteristics shouldn't matter at around 5GHz)
+ 1 more M.2 slot (that you're likely never going to use, 3 is plenty, I personally can't see myself ever using more than 2)
+ 1 more ARGB (the two on UD are already enough, since you'd likely use serial connections or splitters)
+ 1 temperature sensor (can be useful depending on what cooling you have, but if you really need it you already own an Aqua Computer module with four sensor headers)
- 1 less RGB (no loss but depends on if you use RGB strips or older components)
- No Safe Boot (massive loss, safe boot keeps you sane by saving you an enormous amount of hassle and time)
(You are paying $190 more, for the above)

That's about it, it's very likely the two motherboards would overclock the same, on both CPU and RAM. So paying for a Strix Z690 motherboard is just madness, don't get me wrong I like everything about them except for the price and lack of safe boot, the Maximus boards has Safe Boot at least and are truly incredible overall, but they're not $650 (and above) incredible.

I could make a very similar comparison to the MSI Edge and Tomahawk boards, but they are far more expensive too ($100 more than Gigabyte for again, almost identical features), and although featuring safe boot, it's not nearly as fast as MultiKey. So the choice is pretty obvious I'd say, I think the safest bet right now would be the Elite AX, since it's guaranteed to feature AORUS BIOS and more. I would like to recommend the Aero board but same problem as the Gaming X, it's not an AORUS board, you do get quite a few things for an extra $20, so only time will tell on that one.

It's obvious that the AORUS Ultra ITX will perform the best, it should be 10x 105A direct stages with Dual DIMM, that's incredible, only issue is the lack of other features, such as Debug LED and more;
  • Lacking 1 ARGB, means you still have one though, you could use let's say an EK 6-Way splitter, then you'd surely have enough (don't know exactly how many LEDs one header supports but should be enough).
  • Lacking 1 RGB, again, still has one, if using a splitter it's fine, or simply only use ARGB.
  • Lacking Temperature Sensor Headers, not the end of the world for most people, including me that owns an Aqua Computer module that connects through the USB 2.0 header, offering 4 sensor headers (but can't adjust motherboard connected fans through those sensors, only through Aqua Suite that requires more modules).
  • Lacking Optical Audio, I like to use it from my DAC, completely eliminates any software from being used, using TOSLINK you can run the bare Windows pre-installed essential driver for it to work flawlessly, so no software or drivers needed, but my DAC does have USB, it then installs driver software only which is technically fine as well, it's mostly an issue for me because I use the DAC for more than one device, so I have to pick which gets USB and which gets TOSLINK.
.. so none are that problematic, they can be solved, except for the missing Debug LED (2 digit display), it's super helpful when overclocking memory, but you can live without it since you have regular Status LEDs, green for pass and red for fail (CPU/MEM/VGA and so on), then you can instantly press the safe boot button if memory indicates a problem during boot.

Then lastly we have the Elite Pro, still unknown price because I haven't seen it released anywhere in the world yet, it's an incredible board to say the least, close to flawless, it really has everything you could possibly want, except for an HDMI, but only useful if you'd want to use two extra monitors powered through the iGPU, if you even have a K model in the first place that is, personally I have more than one PC so the gaming PC does not run extra monitors, and thus I'd be fine without an iGPU in my processor, but I like to pay for the K model since it's usually $20 more and you get it back when selling it, or most of it. Anyhow, the Elite Pro is clearly a marvel to use, it has considerably stronger stages (even though it's not needed), not one but two temperature sensor headers, a dedicated on-board power button, safe boot button and Debug LED (2 digit display). These features makes it so easy to work with, especially with an open test bench, but it can be used with external 2-Pin power buttons/switches as well. So to work with, this board is clearly the best option, the features match the $650 (pre-tax) ROG Maximus Hero board, but for half the price.

As a conclusion I would almost say I'd personally want an AORUS Elite Pro to overclock with, but after finding a stable overclock I'd want to switch over to an AORUS Ultra ITX, and fine tune that overclock. For the average gamer I'd definitely recommend the UD or Elite AX (both has Bluetooth for gaming controller), and for the average overclocker I'd say the AORUS Elite AX or AORUS Elite Pro, but it'll (Pro) probably cost at least $50 more because of the more expensive power stages, still cheaper than both ASUS and MSI though, and for the serious overclocker I'd say the AORUS Ultra ITX, because of the superior VRM and enhanced Dual DIMM overclocking, also not as big of a deal overclocking without a Debug LED (2 digit display) for the experienced overclocker.

Personally, I still haven't decided what to get, neither the Ultra ITX or Elite Pro is for sale in my area of the world, so for now I can't say, but worst case I'll get the Elite AX for the release date.
 

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I want the Auros Ultra ITX but Iโ€™m concerned it will be a complete downgrade from my ASRock Z590 OC Formula.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've ordered these four boards, all in stock ready to ship for the release on November 4th. The AORUS Elite Pro and AORUS Ultra ITX are not yet listed for sale here, either of those two boards are what I really want. But these will have to do for now.

390Strix AATX45333ASP210016x 80AParallel4BothโŒ1 + 3๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ๐ŸŸขโŒโŒโœ…
315TUF PlusATX45333ASP210014x 80AParallel4Bothโœ…1 + 3โŒ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”ŒโŒโŒโœ…

250AORUS Elite AXATX45333RAA22913116x 70AParallel4Bothโœ…2 + 2โŒ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”ŒโŒโœ…
210Gaming XATX45333โ”16x 60AParallel4Bothโœ…2 + 2โŒ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”ŒโŒโŒ

I would have liked to try the MPG Edge as well, but it doesn't appear to be available yet, it's listed but not in stock anywhere, meaning it won't ship for the 4th.

345MPG EdgeATX45200RAA22913116x 75AParallel4Bothโœ…1 + 3โŒ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”Œ๐Ÿ”ŒโŒโœ…

So with those four boards I ordered, I am able to verify if the Gaming X has the same BIOS as the Elite AX, as well as confirm which PWM Controller it has, and if the 60A power stages has a negative effect on overclocking (highly unlikely), I definitely believe the Gaming X is all you need for a 12900K and 4000 MT/s DDR4, but someone has to confirm it.

As for the ASUS boards, I mainly wanted to test the Strix A just to show everyone how terrible of a board it is, for what it costs (it's surely a great board but should not be more than $249). And I wanted to do the same with TUF Plus, directly compare it to the Strix A, see if it holds up in overclocking, which I definitely think it will, that'd mean if you really wanted an ASUS board, TUF Plus would be a viable option for almost $100 less than the Strix A, but they might have different BIOSes so we'll have to see about that. Like, we already know that the Gaming X for $210 is a better board than the $390 Strix A, question is how much better exactly, can't wait to find out. I will be pushing a 12900K to its limits on all of the boards, we're talking 5.3-5.4GHz by brute forcing voltage since I have a large water cooling loop, combined with fall temperatures here in Scandinavia (0ยฐC during the nights) which means a water temperature of no more than 5ยฐC. The same goes for the RAM sticks I got, water cooled 2x 16GB Dual Rank Samsung B-die, should do 4000 MT/s CL14 with ease. So these boards really have a challenge ahead of them.
 

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I'm quite set on getting the Elite AX but we'll see. Definitely going to be running DDR4 though. DDR5 ain't worth it until faster kits are released.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
We have some good data coming from a Chinese reviewer;
12900K with a DDR4-3600 CL16-16-16 XMP kit against a DDR5-4800 CL40-40-40 XMP kit.
  • Rainbow Six Siege: DDR4 +4.5% faster than DDR5
  • Tomb Raider: DDR4 +4.3% faster than DDR5
  • Far Cry 6: DDR4 +4.5% faster than DDR5
So about ~4.5% faster for the DDR4-3600 kit, and if we look back at DDR4, we can see that an increase of 600 MT/s (IMC +300 MHz) improves performance by roughly 5.5% (3000 CL16 to 3600 CL16), but that's with.. such a big IMC frequency increase, which we only see half of on DDR5 since it's running in Gear 2. But based on all of this information, old and new, with a 400MT/s (IMC +100MHz) and CL40 drop to CL38 (4800 CL40 to 5200 CL38), it would be safe to say, that DDR4-3600 CL16 XMP should be roughly (ยฑ1-2%) above/below of a DDR5-5200 CL38 kit, basically the same.

So what does this mean? Well it doesn't tell us anything new, we've known this information for many weeks now, what we didn't know was how difficult it would be to overclock DDR5, because that's what it needs, and in the past few days we've learned a lot about just that, and it turns out to be harder than anticipated, and there are far fewer high frequency kits coming.

But let's just get past the value question, from this information above, it'd be unwise to recommend a DDR5 system for gamers, because the increased bandwidth from around 60GB/s to about ~90GB/s won't benefit you in any way (in gaming). So as of this moment, the cheapest 2x16GB DDR5-5200 CL38 kit I can find is $279 and the cheapest 2x16GB DDR4-3600 CL16 kit is $199, and they perform the same in gaming, so that's a 40% higher price for a ~30GB/s bandwidth increase on DDR5, that won't get you anything in gaming (it will in certain work loads). If we look at 8GB sticks things are getting dramatic, you get a 2x8GB DDR4-3600 CL16 kit for as little as $79, while for the cheapest 2x8GB DDR5-4800 CL40 kit I can find, you have to pay $140, so that's +75% and the DDR4 kit will be ~4.5% faster. And if you want something faster, we have the G.Skill 2x16GB DDR5-5600 CL36 for $380, if I had to take a guess that XMP would be around the performance of DDR4 at 3800 CL16, it's still uncertain how high DDR4 can go on the new IMC featured in Alder Lake, but rumours are as high as 4200, but I won't comment further than that, we'll have it confirmed very soon. And for DDR5 we have confirmation of between 8000 to 8300 MT/s, so about the same IMC frequency as for DDR4.

Conclusion on value? It's definitely more expensive for the same performance, in between 40 to 75%.

Now, a bit more info on the IMC, this will explain the challenge that DDR5 faces.

IMC (Integrated Memory Controller) on the Coffee Lake (9900K) and Comet Lake (10700K) processors was strong enough to get DDR4 frequencies all the way up to 4600 with ease, and on these architectures, Gear 1 and 2 wasn't a thing, so it always ran a 1:1 ratio, DRAM Frequency x IMC Frequency, so a 4000 MT/s speed meant a true frequency of 2000 MHz, and in a 1:1 ratio that meant IMC Frequency was also 2000 MHz, so the 9900K-10700K had no issues reaching a 4600 MT/s, that tells us the IMC was strong enough to go up to 2300 MHz and above.
But this changed on Rocket Lake (11700K), with a new IMC and Intel introducing Gears (Ratio Control between the DRAM and IMC Frequency), in preparation for DDR5, we saw a significant reduction in possible IMC frequencies, it was now difficult to reach even DDR4-3866 (1933 MHz IMC), and why does this matter? Well, it's significantly slower, from the above comparison it'd be a 16% reduction in IMC Frequency, and why does frequency matter on the IMC you might ask?

That leads us to what actually matters, for gamers.. speed! But there are different kinds of speed.

So, what sets games and work loads apart, a work load is typically storing or using a large amount of data, that gets chewed through over time by the processor. While a game, typically stores small amounts of data, that needs to be replaced and processed very fast, this can be demonstrated using storage drives very well;
Many, many years ago, almost a decade now, we had SSDs introduced to our gaming machines, and games loaded a lot faster, but why? So, old hard drive disks had a very slow access/seek time, because it had to use the actuator arm to find the data it needed, on spinning disks (large surface). As for the bandwidth, if you had a very large file, you could reach a sequential read MB/s of up to 150MB/s through the SATA interface, and if you put two disks in a striped RAID, you could double it to 300MB/s, but what did that mean for game loading times? It was faster, but it was still nowhere near the earliest SSDs on the market, that completely skipped the mechanical (moving) parts, because bandwidth was never the issue, being able to reach a high sequential read speed is next to completely irrelevant for gaming. This can be very easily seen through modern M.2 SSDs, like, on the SATA3 interface we had a theoretical bandwidth of up to 600MB/s, but after removing some overhead and such, we saw a typical max read speed of around 550MB/s, this is up to 4 times higher than a traditional HDD, but again, if you put two of these SSDs in a striped RAID, that doubled the sequential read speed to 1.1GB/s, games saw next to none, or no increase at all in loading times. Because again, bandwidth doesn't matter, it's all about latency (accessing a file as fast as possible), that's how games operate, we're talking anything in between 5 to 300 MB large files usually. The true demonstration to really get my point across is M.2 SSDs as mentioned earlier, we went from SATA 2 300MB/s to SATA 3 600MB/s, to M.2 PCIe 3.0 3500MB/s, to 7000MB/s today on PCie 4.0 M.2s, and what can we observe? Well.. nothing, literally. Since the game files are so small, having a game installed on a 7000MB/s 1TB M.2 for $200 is barely going to improve loading times, we're talking between 0.1 to 1 second faster on a several second long loading screen, compared to a decade old 256GB (now valued at $20) SATA3 SSD with a maximum read speed of 550MB/s, so again, access time (latency) is what matters here, and the same exact principle applies to DRAM.

So by doubling the memory channels on DDR3, Single to Dual Channel, we went from 12.5 to 25 GB/s read, and using Quad Channel we went from 25 to 50 GB/s.
On DDR4 Dual Channel we went from 25 to 50 GB/s (same as Quad Channel DDR3), and DDR4 Quad Channel we went from 50 to 100 GB/s.
Now.. what actually changed when going Quad Channel on DDR4? The bandwidth doubled.. but did the FPS double? Eh.. no, literally no change, because as you now know, bandwidth is irrelevant (for gaming), as long as you reach a threshold where the bandwidth is enough, which we passed long ago.
That leads us to DDR5, in Dual Channel we're looking at up to 100 GB/s (same as Quad Channel DDR4), but.. again, doesn't mean anything, we don't want bandwidth, we want access time/latency just like on SSDs!

So, if we try and forget bandwidth, how can you lower your latency? By increasing frequency (bandwidth) of course?.. No, actually, what is happening underneath the surface, is that we don't actually care about the DRAM frequency (4000 MT/s), what we're actually overclocking.. is the IMC (Memory Controller), the faster the controller frequency, the faster the access time/latency!

This is also why it's so important to lower your memory timings in BIOS, they are massively important in making your RAM faster (lowers the access time), you are making yourself a big disservice by running XMP!
Terrestrial plant Font Slope Line Screenshot

As seen in one of my benchmarks, the only way to make your memory faster, is by increasing IMC frequency at the same time as lowering the timings. Framerate then rockets to the moon when increasing frequency and lowering timings as much as possible, and as seen in the 4133 MT/s 16-16-16 result, absolutely massive performance gain (very low latency)!

3466 MT/s 16-18-18 (1733 MHz IMC) is just as fast as 4133 MT/s 19-19-19 (2066 MHz IMC), that's something you might not have expected, since 4133 looks a lot faster than 3466, cost a lot more and required a stronger motherboard, which increased costs of the system even further. The 3200 MT/s 14-14-14 also shows that it challenges 4000 MT/s 18-19-19, and let me remind you, 800 MT/s faster is a decent amount of higher bandwidth, which as you now know, doesn't really matter, which this also shows.

So, back to DDR5, what do we actually want with DDR5? Do we want a high DRAM frequency? No. Do we want a high IMC frequency? Yes! How do you get higher IMC Frequency? By increasing DRAM frequency!

This is the current problem with DDR5, for DDR5 to be as fast as it can in gaming, it has to reach as low latency as possible, and DDR5 is limited to Gear 2, meaning that the Gear Ratio I mentioned earlier, is half, Gear 1 is 1:1, so if DDR4-4000 runs Gear 1, that means actual DRAM Frequency is 2000 MHz, and IMC is running at 2000 MHz, that is very fast! Not as fast as 2300 on Comet Lake and earlier processors, but fast nonetheless. So, with DDR5 you obviously can't run Gear 1 (1:1 Ratio), since running 5200 MT/s on DDR5 would mean a 2600 MHz IMC frequency, which is impossible, that leaves us with only one option.. we have to increase the IMC frequency through DRAM frequency! Since the ratio is now ยฝ (half), running 5200 MT/s (2600 MHz DRAM) on DDR5 results in an IMC frequency of only 1300 MHz (half the DRAM), that is 35% slower than DDR4-4000 in Gear 1, the goal is thus to go as high DRAM frequency as you possibly can, to reach the same 2000 MHz IMC as DDR4 on Gear 1, we'd then have to run DDR5 at 8000 MT/s! Now that is fast, way faster than most boards on the market today can reach, or even sticks, the fastest XMP kit we've seen coming out in the near future is 7000 MT/s with CL40, that's impressive for sure, that's an IMC frequency of 1750 (only 12.5% slower than 2000), combined with other DDR5 performance enhancements, that kind of speed will really put DDR4 to the test! But, to run that frequency, you can't just buy any board, or memory sticks, it'll be very expensive, and at best, even if DDR5 manages to beat DDR4 at a frequency of between 7000 to 8000 MT/s, it will only be by a few %, is that really worth spending that much more money? I'd obviously argue.. no, unless you either are an enthusiast/overclocker or competitive/professional gamer, but for the average person? Absolutely not.

So, where does this leave us? Is DDR4 faster than DDR5 in gaming? Yes.. but DDR5 can also be faster than DDR4! If certain criteria is met, that happens to cost a lot of money, for example these new high performance kits are likely to cost $500 and above, pre-tax, maybe even $600, as the current 5600 CL36 is already at $380 and 7000 CL40 is a lot faster!
DDR4 will without question be significantly cheaper, and faster than the majority of DDR5 systems, that's just the reality of it.. for now! Can the most expensive DDR5 system beat the fastest DDR4 system? Again, yes, but that doesn't change the fact that the majority of DDR4 systems will beat DDR5 with ease, it won't even be close really, if the rumours are true that DDR4 IMC can reach up to 2100 MHz (4200 MT/s), that will put DDR4 ahead of DDR5 by anywhere between 5 to 15% depending on what DDR5 kit you'd go up against, and that's raw performance, 200 to 210-230 FPS for a competitive gamer in a game like Warzone, for a considerably lower price, and easier overclocking since we're all already familiar with DDR4.

Let me repeat myself, DDR5 is amazing, there's no doubt about that.. but DDR4 is also amazing, and it'll take quite some time for DDR5 to become as cheap as DDR4, and even more time for faster memory sticks to appear that beats DDR4 out of box. It's likely that DDR4 will remain the recommended memory for the next two years, until Meteor Lake (14th Gen) arrives in 2023, since Raptor Lake (12th Gen) coming in 2022 will still support DDR4, that's when DDR5 has a chance to really beat DDR4, new cheaper ($200-300) Z790 motherboards with XMP certification up to 8000MT/s and affordable 7000-8000 MT/s DDR5 kits (~$300), but that's a lot of wishful thinking for just a year until 13th Gen processors drop.
 

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Rocket Lake and Zen3 trade blows, Rocket Lake has faster memory (~12ns lower) but Zen3 has twice the L3 cache, 2 to 4MB per core. So they even out, that's really it, not more complicated than that. Zen3 gains a few % over Rocket Lake in some titles (mainly from increased core count on 5900X and 5950X) and in others the roles are reversed, Rocket Lake on top by a few %.

Alder Lake with Rocket Lake memory is where the magic will happen, looking at roughly ~20-25% higher performance. Coffee/Comet to Rocket Lake we saw 20% IPC improvement from 25% larger cores, double L2 cache and more, now we're seeing the same plus a little more from more than double L2 cache and close to double L3 cache.

We saw a 1.5ns memory penalty from Coffee/Comet to Rocket Lake, and should see slightly more on Alder, but we'll have to wait and see, regardless we should still be able to hit very close to 40ns, meanwhile on DDR5 you'd be lucky to get even remotely close to 50ns, that'd take new ICs that can do 8000 MT/s CL30, fastest DDR5 overclock I've seen is 8000 MT/s at CL50, we're maybe a year away from decent DDR5 latency. And bandwidth is completely irrelevant, games don't benefit from the increased bandwidth offered by DDR5, but you can't downclock DDR5 either, since it's Gear 2 so you'd cripple IMC frequency, hence latency takes a big hit.

But, we'll see.. I'm going to test both Z690I AORUS Ultra (DDR4) and Z690 AORUS Pro (DDR4) as soon as they're available, already ordered a 12900K and got water cooling ready for both.
This post aged well. You mean like 8% not 20%.
 
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