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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While this guide focuses heavily on the Z97X-SOC and Z97X-SOC Force, the same principles can be applied to any GIGABYTE Z97 motherboard. All the results done by me in this guide are done on a closed loop AIO watercooler with above ambient temperature. There is a separate section from top overclockers such as Dinos22, and those are mostly done on LN2.

Disclaimer: Overclocking can cause damage to your hardware components if done in correctly, this guide is there to help those who wish to do so knowing something might happen, you and only you are responsible if you damage your hardware.

The figure above shows all the changes of the Z97X-SOC Force compared to the Z87X-OC, the Z97X-SOC is basically the same except it only has 4 phases of IR3553 and it has the same Intel 217v NIC that the Z87X-OC had.

The Intel Z97 platform has many different devices which can be overclocked and are interlinked; to complete a system wide overclock you should tackle each device in the following order(for the sake of organizing this guide, BCLK will be covered last):
  • BCLK(Optional)
  • CPU
  • Memory
  • Uncore
This video will explain GIGABYTE's SOC series OC features and show how to use the UEFI to overclock:
GIGABYTE Z97X-SOC and Z97X-SOC Force features:
OC DIMM Switch: Allows the user to disable individual channels of memory, this is useful for memory diagnostics, especially when it is difficult to remove DIMMs because of the cooling apparatus installed.
OC PCIe Switch: Allows the user to disable individual PCI-E slots, this is useful for PCIe diagnostics, especially when it is difficult to remove PCIe cards because of the cooling apparatus installed.
OC Ignition: Provides power to DIMMs, PCIe and peripheral devices even when system is off. This feature is a GIGABYTE exclusive and provides many hidden benefits to users. First of all you can test not only the PSU to make sure it properly works, but also any voltage modifications on your graphics cards, water cooling systems, case mods and fans. Anything that requires the board or PSU to provide it power can be engaged. It is especially useful during cold bug situations when you need a fan to run 24/7 to keep condensation at bay. It also can be used to provide continuous power to PCIe/PCI based RAM cards that lose memory when they are powered off (so you won?t lose memory).
OC Tag: Allows user to set specific BIOS profile which is engaged when OC Tag is engaged, this is useful because you can save your OC profile for benching to TAG, and use TAG instead of inputting your settings. This makes it easy to remove the settings if you need to troubleshoot and even easier to re-apply them when needed.
OC Turbo: Easy one touch auto-OC feature from GIGABYTE (~4.2ghz OC depending on CPU SKU).
OC BCLK/Multiplier +/- buttons: Real-time overclocking of BCLK and multiplier
OC Gear: Reduces BCLK +/- button steps from 1mhz to ~0.1mhz
OC Trigger Switch: When engaged can reduce system uncore and CPU ratio to 8x on the fly, this is useful for maximum validations for CPU speed. An example of getting to 7 GHz; you boot in at 6.5 GHz, then increase the multiplier by 1x with OC Touch, but your system becomes unstable quickly. Instead of waiting for instability, you can instead engage the trigger switch (CPU now at 8x), increase the multiplier with OC Touch, and then re-engage high multiplier(dis-engage TRG switch), and you will get to your top multiplier, save a validation, and then engage trigger switch again and complete the procedure again.
Dual BIOS Switch: Select between main and backup BIOS, you can flash one with an official build and the other with an OC BIOS.
Single BIOS Mode switch: Disables dual BIOS when enabled to allow faster boot-up and OC recovery, since the main and backup are both checked on boot up, disabling dual BIOS will disable this checking and link between the BIOS ROMs.
GIGABYTE Settings Lock: Will restore previously known good values to CMOS settings, this can be used in lieu of clear CMOS.
DTB: Direct to BIOS button allows users to bypass pressing delete to enter the UEFI setup, it can save time.
GIGABYTE Memory Safe: Will engage fail-safe memory settings in case you think your memory settings are causing issues.

CBAT Switch: Is a hardcore CMOS reset which will reset the CMOS as if the battery and all power were removed from the motherboard. If you have trouble clearing the CMOS you can hit this button, but beware you will probably have to unplug the 24-pin and plug it back in to be able to start the system, that is how intense the CBAT button is. It?s best to use the clear CMOS button first.
OC Connect: Two internal USB 2.0 ports provide easy access for USB devices for overclockers.
HDD LED: Lets user know when the HDD/SSD is being written too, this can help with benchmarks such as SuperPI where it is beneficial to know when the disk is being written too.
OC Dual BIOS: Dual 128Mbit BIOS ROMs designed so that you are in total control over BIOS mechanisms in case of flash failure or OC failure.

Note1: Voltages 3,5, and 7 are offsets and can be changed only if the manual voltage control is set to ?normal?
Note2: Voltages for iGPU overclocking aren?t covered in this guide.

Advanced Power Settings:
CPU VRIN Loadline Calibration (1): This is the LLC for the VIN and has many levels, but Extreme is recommended for most OC scenarios:
CPU VRIN Protection(2): Overvoltage protection for the VRIN, set to highest amount of overvolt, or just leave auto.
DDR VRIN Protection(3): Overvoltage protection for the VRIN, set to highest amount of overvolt, or just leave auto.
CPU VRIN Current Protection(4): This is overcurrent protection for the VRIN, set Extreme (which means least protection and highest current).
DDR Current Protection(5): This is overcurrent protection for the DDR, set Extreme(which means least protection and highest current).
Over temperature protection for CPU VRIN and DDR(6,7): Not currently available right now.
CPU and DDR Switch Rate(8,9): This is the switching frequency of the CPU VRIN and DDR VRMs, this setting has minimal effect on performance or power delivery, that is because you can only change it between 300-400KHz, which is very minimal (to protect from user damage). Lower will produce cooler running VRMs, higher will produce higher performance VRMs, just leave auto.
PWM Phase Control (10): This controls the balance of temperature and current in the VRM, Extreme performance will give you the best performance, and that is what you want when overclocking.

CPU Overclocking:
CPU Frequency = BCLK * BCLK Multiplier *CPU Multiplier

Performance Upgrade(1): Auto CPU and Memory OC Presets
CPU Base Clock(2): BCLK setting, set manual for more options
Host/PCIe Clock Frequency(3): Actual BCLK
Gear Ratio(4): The BCLK Multiplier
Spread Spectrum Control(5): lower percentage is a lower amount of spread spectrum which is known to cause instability, leave this on auto unless you want lower EMI(worse stability) in that case increase it.
Processor Graphics Clock(6): Controls the clock of the iGPU in the CPU.
CPU Upgrade(7): CPU auto overclock presets
CPU Clock Ratio(8): The CPU multiplier
XMP(9): Will enable or disable memory XMP overclock

Note: If you decide to go with a memory frequency higher than 2933MHz, first find out your target BCLK and attain stability with a low CPU multiplier, then start increasing your CPU multiplier.

Steps for CPU OC:
#1 Calculate what frequency you want (this step matters if you use higher BCLK than 100MHz), then set the following advanced CPU features to disable: C1, C3, C6/C7, EIST. Leave turbo and turbo settings on auto.

#2 Set Multiplier and test for stability, if the system is unstable or refuses to boot, then increase voltages. Try 42x as a starting point, and go up one multiplier from there, a good starting point for the VRIN is 2.0v to 2.2v (higher can provide more stability but higher temperature), a good starting point for VCore is 1.15v-1.25v (higher can provide more stability but higher temperature). Increase Ring Voltage as a last resort when you cannot increase the VCore or VIN anymore because of high temperatures but you need a bit more stability, the Ring Voltage is mainly used to stabilize the uncore, however it can aid CPU overclocking.

#3 Most important voltages for CPU OC (in order): VCore(higher), VIN(higher), Ring Voltage(higher). You should note that the VCore and other voltages will increase automatically with CPU multiplier unless you manually set them or set them to ?normal?. You can also start from your VID as a base voltage (this will be the grayed out voltage near VCore setting around 1v when you load optimized defaults and restart), lower VID possibly means higher clocking CPU.

#4 Determine if you want the CPU frequency to drop and/or if you want the CPU VCore to drop when the system is idle. If you want the voltage to drop then enable C3. If you want the frequency to drop then enable EIST. If you want both to drop then enable both.

K OC(1): Unlocks multipliers on some multiplier locked CPUs
CPU PLL Selection/PLL filer level(2,3): selection of the CPU?s internal clock generator and its filter level. (leave Auto, however LC PLL can provide better results for higher BCLK)
Uncore Ratio(4): Uncore multiplier
Turbo Boost Technology(5-12): Intel?s Turbo boost technology, leave most Turbo mode settings on auto, these will max out current and power automatically on auto.
Number of Cores(13): You can disable CPU cores to reduce the heat and increase clocks, the CPU randomly shuts down cores if you select this option.
Hyper Threading(14): Disabling this will reduce CPU temperature but might impact multi-threaded performance, if you are running benchmarks like SuperPI or going for max clocks then disable, otherwise leave enabled.
C1E, C6/C7 and CPU Thermal Monitor(15,17,18): Disable in most cases
C3 and EIST(16,19): C3 state will drop CPU voltage when there is less load, EIST will drop CPU multiplier in the same case, enable or disable both depending on whether you want voltage and/or frequency to drop during idle.

Example of 4.5GHz OC with XMP and drop in CPU voltage and multiplier at idle (If you don?t see a setting below then assume it is ?Auto?):
CPU Clock Ratio: 45x
XMP: Enable
Uncore Ratio: 40x or 43x
C1E: Disable
C6/C7: Disable
CPU Thermal Monitor: Disable
C3: Enable
EIST: Disable
CPU VRIN Loadline Calibration: Extreme
CPU Phase Control: Extreme Performance
VRIN Override: 2.2v
VCore: 1.275v
Ring Voltage: 1.1v

Example for Max CPU Frequency:
CPU Clock Ratio: 45x (Then use OC Touch or GTL to increase to top frequency)
XMP: Disable
Uncore Ratio: 8x
C1E: Disable
C6/C7: Disable
CPU Thermal Monitor: Disable
C3: Disable
EIST: Disable
CPU VRIN Loadline Calibration: Extreme
CPU Phase Control: Extreme Performance
VRIN Override: 2.3v to 3v on LN2
VCore: 1.4v to 2v on LN2
Ring Voltage: 1.1v to 1.5v on LN2


Memory Overclocking:
Memory frequency = BCLK * BCLK Multiplier * DRAM Multiplier

A more advanced memory overclocking section with recommendations from top overclockers with the Z97X-SOC Force is provided later in this guide.

XMP(1): Enable for XMP profile for your memory, XMP settings are override by any changes done to memory. If you select XMP and then select a multiplier for the memory, then you will lose XMP timings. To properly engage XMP just enable XMP and do not touch any other memory settings, except DRAM voltage (which has no effect like DRAM multiplier setting).
Memory Overclocking Profiles(2): Shown Below.
Memory Multiplier(3): Selects memory speed
Memory Enhancement(4): Chose between performance, stability, and balanced. Leave auto most of the time, this setting doesn?t have a big impact.
Memory Timing Mode(5): Select to change both channels at once or individually, you need to change individually if you change RTLs/IOLs for super advanced memory OC. That means if you choose advanced manual you need to set your timings twice, once for each channel.
Memory Boot Mode(6): Select whether to train memory on boot up, this can be useful because some types of memory like to be trained on every boot, and some do not, so this allows you to choose.
Channel and Rank Interleaving(7,8): Do not bother messing with these.

The following memory OC profiles are available:

Memory OC Steps:
#1 If you want the memory frequency to reach speeds higher than 2933MHz, you will need to figure out your target memory frequency and BCLK. So use the equation Memory frequency = BCLK * BCLK Multiplier * DRAM Multiplier to determine the BCLK you need. It is recommended to use the 1.25x divider with memory first and if really needed use 1.66x.

#2 If using XMP settings only enable XMP, if you want to manually OC the memory to speeds or timings different than XMP, then disable XMP.

#3 Set memory multiplier as well as timings you desire, if you set a timing such as RTl or IOL then you will need to use advanced manual mode and set each channel individually (copy all timings to both channels). Many times the board is pretty good at picking timings, for a 3440MHz clock with ADATA2800C12 memory, all that needs to be set is Cas Latency to 13, the board sets all the other timings accordingly.

#4 If you encounter issues with memory training (advanced memory OC), then you can disable fast boot under memory boot options, which will force the board to retrain the memory every time.

#5 Memory voltages: DDR Voltage, DDR VTT, System Agent(IMC), VCCIO Analog(IMC), VCCIO Digital (IMC). IMC voltages will differ for every IMC and memory IC type. In general you want to leave DDR VTT on auto, however if needed you can set it to whatever you like(around ? DDR Voltage). System Agent and VCCIO Analog and Digital will vary depending on the system. Usually you can raise all 3 together, like to +0.25, and then if you get issues, take one down at a time back to normal value. Be aware the motherboard will auto increase some of these voltages(when the voltage is set to ?Auto?) depending on memory frequency, to stop this you can set it to ?Normal?, however do not do this just because.

Memory OC Tips:
  • Some dividers work better than others depending on the BCLK multiplier and modules and BIOS version. Sometimes 26x and 28x will work better than 26.66x, other times 26.66x might work better. Do try them all, just because 26.66x doesn?t work doesn?t mean 28x won?t work.
  • There is a DRAM Sync option in GTL which allows you to tune the DDR VTT (DDR Termination voltage) separately from the DRAM voltage.
  • Some memory might not like higher voltages, especially some of the IMC voltages like the VCCIOA and or VCCIOD.
  • Memory training is also important, some memory might be able to be trained at higher frequencies and some not, you can control whether or not training takes place through the memory boot option.
  • When OCing memory and BCLK very high, the board will train the BCLK first and then the memory, let the board cycle through, it might take a while to get the training right.
All available memory timings:

Quick Memory OC to 3400mhz using the following changes to UEFI settings (If a setting isn?t listed then assume it is Auto):
CPU Clock Ratio: 8x
CPU Base Clock: Manual
Host/PCIe Clock Frequency: 103.5
Gear Ratio: 1.25
XMP: Disable
Uncore Ratio: 8x
C1E: Disable
C6/C7: Disable
CPU Thermal Monitor: Disable
C3: Disable
EIST: Disable
Memory Multiplier: 26.66
Memory Timing Mode: Manual
Memory Boot Mode: Disable Fast Boot
Cas Latency: 13
CPU VRIN Loadline Calibration: Extreme
CPU VRIN Protection: Auto or 400mv
DDR VRIN Protection: Auto or 400mv
CPU VRIN Current Protection: Extreme
DDR Current Protection: Extreme
CPU and DDR Switch Rate: Auto
CPU Phase Control: Extreme Performance
VRIN Override: 2.0v
VCore: 1.25v
Ring Voltage: Auto
System Agent: +0.3
CPU IO Analog: +0.15
CPU IO Digital: +0.15
PCH Voltage: Auto
PCH IO Voltage: 1.05v
DRAM Voltage: 1.85v

Uncore Overclocking:
Uncore Frequency = BCLK * BCLK Multiplier * Uncore multiplier
For extreme overclocking it is best to match Uncore with CPU speed to get the fastest benchmark scores, however in a 24/7 machine the uncore frequency can be 300mhz-500mhz lower than the CPU speed without noticeable impact to performance. The issue with the uncore is that it puts out its heat in the same package as the CPU, so you can negatively impact your CPU OC by increasing the uncore too much, but also negatively impact your performance with uncore being too low.

The uncore trade off:
Increase in Uncore = decreased stability = increased voltages = increased CPU temperature = lower CPU stability = lower CPU speed at certain uncore frequencies.
#1 Increase the uncore multiplier to 300-500mhz lower than the CPU multiplier, never set the uncore multiplier higher than the CPU multiplier as you won?t gain any performance.

#2 Increase Ring Voltage to increase the stability of your uncore overclock

#3 If you increased Ring Voltage to increase the stability of your uncore, and you CPU OC is not affected, then increase the uncore multiplier by 1 and repeat.

Base Clock Overclocking:
The BCLK can be overclocked on the Z97 platform to very great extents, the following settings are those not mentioned already and which can effect your BCLK Overclock.
PCIe Slot Configuration(1): Set gen2 if using discrete GPU while OCing BCLK.
DMI Gen2 Speed(2): Disable will set DMI bus to gen1 which will help with BCLK OC.
3DMark01 Boost(3): Helps boost scores in legacy benchmarks.

BCLK Overclocking on Z97 is totally optional, in fact its main use is for memory overclocking past 2933MHz as the maximum memory divider currently available for Haswell CPUs is 29.33x. While tuning memory is one of the most exciting aspects of the Z97 platform, most users won?t be overclocking their memory over 2933MHz, but for those who BCLK overclocking is very important.
GIGABYTE has improved upon their Z87 BCLK overclocking mechanism (BIOS training), for the SOC by adding in an extra clock buffer for BCLK overclocking.

Steps for max BCLK:
#1 Down clock the CPU, Uncore, and Memory multipliers to 8x

#2 Select divider and then set BCLK to get your target frequency

#3 The most important voltages for BCLK are in the following order: PCH IO(low as possible), PCH Core(higher is better), System Agent(higher is better). Set the PCH IO voltage to 1.05v, this is a 0.45 decrease in this voltage and this will heavily impact your overall BCLK. PCH voltage should be increased to 1.25v or higher and System Agent to +0.3, and the board might do this automatically on most BIOS versions.

#4 Reduce spread spectrum to as low as possible or leave auto, leaving on auto will let the board pick the best setting.

#5 Use iGPU or a GPU in the last 4x slot connected to the PCH which always has a 100mhz PCI-E clock, if neither is possible change to PCI-E gen 2.

#6 Change DMI to Gen 1

Tips for BCLK OC:
#1 The board will train the BCLK on a cold boot no matter the boot settings, it will cycle to 95 about 4-6 times and then go through POST again, this is normal especially on the 1.00x divider. The 1.25x and 1.66x dividers might not require this type of training, it depends on the BIOS version. Do not be afraid.

#2 Try to boot as close to your target BCLK as possible if you plan on OCing BCLK in Windows.

#3 use the last 4x slot on the board or iGPU, do not use the main 16x slots for BCLK OC as your GPU might not take it.

#4 Once you train for example 115mhz BCLK, if you set 116MHz the board will retrain and might fail. However if you increase my 0.5mhz then the board will NOT retrain, and will most likely successfully boot. So train at 115MHz, then reboot and train at 115.5mhz, then 116mhz, then 116.5, 117, 117.5, 118, 118.5 and so on. You will be amazed by how high you can go without retraining on the DMI(BCLK) bus.

#5. You might be able to get higher BCLK on higher dividers as opposed to the 1.00x divider.

BCLK Results using this same template but with different divider and host clocks (If a setting isn?t included then assume it is ?Auto?):
CPU Clock Ratio: 8x
CPU Base Clock: Manual
Host/PCIe Clock Frequency: 100-119(If boot fails, then set lower frequency until it boots, then increase by 0.5mhz each time(until it fails to boot, then boot into Windows at two 0.5mhz steps below that), then use OC Touch or GTL to increase BCLK in fine steps.)
Gear Ratio: (1.00x, 1.25x, or 1.67x)
XMP: Disable
Uncore Ratio: 8x
C1E: Disable
C6/C7: Disable
CPU Thermal Monitor: Disable
C3: Disable
EIST: Disable
Memory Multiplier: 8x
CPU VRIN Loadline Calibration: Extreme
CPU VRIN Protection: Auto or 400mv
DDR VRIN Protection: Auto or 400mv
CPU VRIN Current Protection: Extreme
DDR Current Protection: Extreme
CPU and DDR Switch Rate: Auto
CPU Phase Control: Extreme Performance
VRIN Override: 2.0v
VCore: 1.25v
Ring Voltage: Auto
System Agent: +0.3
PCH Voltage: 1.275v
PCH IO Voltage: 1.05v
PCIe Slot Configuration: 2.0 mode
DMI Gen2 Speed(2): Disable

Examples of max overclocks at all multipliers using the above settings.
1.00x divider(118mhz):

1.25x divider(149.88):

1.66x divider(199.74):

Advanced Memory OC Tips from Pro Overclockers:
Dino?s PSC Tips:
  • PSC subzero tRCD 12 or 10 is more stable with current bioses (April 2014).
  • When benching subzero, you have to find the right bclock range in which the memory doesn't fail training on restart.
  • In the AM3 we did 101.5 and 101.7MHz bclock were a lot easier to bench with and loosening to tRCD 12 but will impact 32M performance.
  • If CPU is subzero best to try keep it around -40C (on CPU) for initial training on testing and memory around -90C
  • Note that 1T is broken on some PSC and may require 2T (on bioses tested from April 2014).
  • Also TWCL may require 7
  • One thing that helps when tuning tRCD subzero is loosening up tWRRD_dr and tWRRD_dd or leaving auto
  • Manually tuning RTL and IOL can also help
  • Start training with several profiles from 24.00 first
  • 2600 divider might be better with BCLK of 101 rather than 100, 26.66 can be more stable too.
  • I normally run DIMM VTT at half the value of VDIMM. With Samsung ICs I ran 1.1-1.2vtt to get stability at higher clocks
Some screens:

Bullant?s PSC Tips:
PSC air training
1.So we start at 2400Mhz first if we start to high it seem rtls and iols are setting bit too tight and wont boot
2.2400Mhz memory boot and train rtls,auto rtls are now 38-38 39-39 then save and reboot go back to bios
3.2600Mhz memory boot and train rtls,auto rtls are now 40-40 41-41 iols 5-5-5-5, I then lock rtls and iols in manually 40-40 41-41 4-4 4-4 save and reboot go back to bios
4.Then reboot still at 2600Mhz with the rtls and iols locked in,I then set 2666Mhz and reboot
5.Back to bios and then can start adding blk if memory will allow it and reboot and go to windows and rtls 40-40 41-41 iols 4-4 4-4

GIGABYTE Tweak Launcher:
This is the best piece of software GIGABYTE makes for extreme overclocking; it is built to be light, fast, efficient, and respectable. This software works by changing the input values in real time either through integrated clock generators or through BIOS controlled voltage regulators to provide quick alterations to system parameters while in the Windows environment. GTL is currently available for XP as well as Windows 7 and 8, however in XP BCLK control might be tough since Intel discontinued Intel ME(management Engine) driver support for XP. You can still try to install Intel ME Drivers and find a hack.
GTL Frequency: You can change the BCLK, CPU and Uncore parameters on the fly, (CLR Clk =Uncore Frequency)
GTL Voltage: Typical voltages, however you might notice DRAM Sync option. Usually VDDR_T (DDRVTT or DRAM termination voltage) is ? of the DDR Voltage, however when overclocking it might be necessary to increase or decrease the termination voltage separately from the DRAM voltage. DRAM Sync allows you to choose whether the VDDR_T will increase and decrease with the VDDR or whether it will stay at what you set while you increase or decrease DRAM Voltage. This is a very cool feature to boost memory overclocking capabilities.
GTL Hotkeys: Something new you might also notice is the Hot Key(HK) settings which allow you to choose hotkeys to load certain settings or increase or decrease certain parameters on the fly.
Note: For GTL and/or EasyTune to work with BCLK and Multiplier adjustment in Windows, it is imperative to install the Intel ME Driver(intel Management Engine).
EasyTune is GIGABYTE?s answer to in-Windows overclocking for those who are too scared to enter the BIOS and do it. You can control everything you need for overclocking, and EasyTune allows you to do something GTL doesn?t; your settings can be retained after reboot which means you don?t have to go into the BIOS to OC or redo your OC every time you reboot into Windows.

System Information Viewer:
The GIGABYTE system information viewer is part of GIGABYTE?s new software package, it basically is the fan control and hardware monitoring from EasyTune, moved into its own separate program. This program can be in a mode where you control the fans or in a mode where you can see system stats such as below. The System information Viewer is much better than CPUz for CPU VCore and even Frequency, which is very odd since CPUz is supposed to be the golden standard.

GIGABYTE Memory Tweaker:
A memory timing program which shows users all the timings of their memory modules on both channels, it is easy to use and shows everything on one page.

To Test Stability and Get System info try:
LinX w/AVX

BIOS Flashing:
After any BIOS flash it is important to first shut down the system, remove AC power, remove the battery, clear the CMOS and then boot into the BIOS and load optimized defaults.
Method #1 in BIOS Flashing with QFlash: Put the BIOS file only(something like Z97XSOCF.F5) on a flash drive formatted in FAT32 or 16 and enter qflash utility in the BIOS and follow the steps.
Method #2 DOS BIOS Flashing using EFIFlash: Put the contents of the downloaded BIOS file such as this one (you need the BIOS file and the efiflash.exe file) onto a USB stick that is already formatted to be a DOS boot drive. When you see the cursor flash under the drive name once you boot to the USB drive, type(using the F5 BIOS for the Z97X-SOC Force as an example): "efliflash.exe z97xsocf.f5" without the parentheses.
Method #3 Windows Flashing using @BIOS: This method isn't as good as the first two, but you can use the @BIOS program from GIGABYTE to flash your motherboard's BIOS with a few clicks of the button. Just open the program and decide which method(from server, from file, etc...) @BIOS provides that you want to use, and the program will guide you.

You can get all the latest BIOS from this thread which Stasio always updates.

Any questions or concerns can be posted here. This guide will be updated with more tips from the overclockers, and I will make a point to let everyone know when something gets added.

OC Programs from GIGABYTE:
GIGABYTE Tweak Launcher for 9 Series boards
OC Touch Driver for 9 series provides BCLK button capability in Windows(Must also have Intel ME installed)
GIGABYTE Memory Tweaker Program
Z97 XP MEI, basically like an XP package for those guys benching and using XP:
Z97 MEI for XP
Major OC achievements with the Z97X-SOC/Z97X-SOC Force:
GIGABYTE Z97X-SOC Force Breaks All Legacy 3D Records

· Premium Member
13,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice if you need help let me know

Also Z87 users can use this guide, it is more updated than the Z87 one, but the CPu is the same so....
Certain things are in this that aren't in the Z87, but which still apply such as BCLk with lower PCH IO voltage, and some of the tips to get higher speeds. However certain things are different, BCLk training for one is different and more time consuming on Z87.

· Premium Member
13,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Originally Posted by Germanian View Post

Awesome guide
. I am on z87x-oc, but I still learned something from your video and the guide.

I didn't know about GTL that tool is amazing. Could a saved me like 10 BIOS restarts the other day trying to find low undervolt
Yea GTl is awesome

Originally Posted by MaKe OuT View Post

I have the same question after reading the guide. I think we were directed towards 0.5-0.6 V above Vcore on Z87, on Air/AIO. Maybe I could have achieved a higher OC by increasing VRIN...possibly less Vcore needed.

And another question, has anyone discovered the best "hardware monitor" for keeping track of voltages and temps while under load stress testing on these boards?
Yea they are just suggestions, i think intel suggests 0.8v delta, but I find that higher VIN can help sometimes, but also lower can help as well. Lower delta=lower temps, higher could be more stability if you can handle the temp increase.
Originally Posted by fateswarm View Post

Auto-subscribe obviously. Auto-rep obviously. I tend to a UD5H from what I've seen (though I'm still waiting for all boards information and for Devil's Canyon).
haha thanks for subscribing

Originally Posted by stasio View Post

Nice review Steve...as usual......
Can you replace pic for EasyTune and System Information Viewer (at the bottom)....it's to small to see.
They are thumbnails, but OCN imports all the pics and replaces them on its own server. Ill fix it up.
Originally Posted by error-id10t View Post

With the VRIN over-ride, is that true now for Z87 also.. seems to have increased a bit...?
I think it has the same maximum as before? 3v? and same max under normal BIOS of 2.8v? Or do you mean by auto? Because its still 1.8v by auto.
Originally Posted by dinos22 View Post

Nice one Scuba Steve
Thanks Dinos

· Premium Member
13,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Originally Posted by $ilent View Post

Nice guide Sin, I have one question though as a none haswell owner (looking to pick up 4790k & SOC Force)

For the uncore overclocking, is it best to leave ti at stock regardless of what overclock your going, or must it be within like 500mhz of cpu overclock at all times? What signs would you get that the uncore is the issue when stress testing as apposed to obvious cpu instability like bsod 101.

The uncore is pretty tricky, there isn't any immediate way to know, but if you think the uncore is causing the issue, you can always back it down to 8x or something very low to isolate it as the culprit, then increase it again. At least that way you would know.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
First off I added: Z97 XP MEI, basically like an XP package for those guys benching and using XP:
Z97 MEI for XP
Originally Posted by $ilent View Post

Yeah I follow you, so see if you fare any better it lower, if you do then youve identified the culprit.

What do you make of the SOC Force board sin? Is it only necessary for LN2 or a decent all rounder? I would just pick up a z97x ud3h but people are saying its not that good...would it really hold say a 5ghz overclock back? I mean ultimately I would like to OC as much as possible under a reasonable 24/7 voltage, like 1.4v.
yea, i mean 1.4v is pretty high, i don't know if you can cool 1.4v without delidding, for 24/7, but yea id recommend the Z97X-SOC Force, its a really strong boards. Where are they saying its not OCing well?
I would think it would OC fine, I have a Ud5H here and it overclocks well.

Either way you will get the last drop of overclock with the SOC Force over any of the other boards in the gigabyte lineup, maybe the SOC. Its BIOS and hardware is tuned very precisely to make sure you get every last drop, especially BCLK and memory, CPU is basically standard now that FIVR is integrated, a lot of BIOS makers are putting in tricks to auto increase volts like input and cache, and i saw one recently of high system agent voltages(not from GBT) which were damn high.
Originally Posted by error-id10t View Post

On the Vrin, the Z87 advise was to run it ~0.4v difference/delta from vcore. Unless I'm just misreading it, the advise here is to have it running 0.8v difference/delta from vcore? That's what I was just curious on, has that advise changed. So if I went by how I understood it here, running my VID @ 1.41 then I'd have to raise VCCIN to 2.2V...
0.4v from delta and the system booted stable? Default delta is 0.8v, you shouldn't close that gap unless you are trying to beat temperatures, it will hurt stability in many cases. At the beginning I thought it was cool, but you should get much more stability by increasing it to 0.8-1v delta. Since the release Intel has said 0.4v was the recommended Lowest delta, if you use 0.4v you are prob going to hurt stability. To ensure stability in their own default mode, they choose 0.8v delta. I am using now usually 2.1-2.2v for a 1.25v-1.3v vcore.

Originally Posted by mandrix View Post

Would be nice if we had some way to monitor Vring. (Hint hint Steve cough)
No utilities show it for my UD5H.
haha vring so important, you don't think Intel's FIVR can set it correctly?
haha j/k I can ask, but honestly just critically believe what you see, or believe what you see for the difference between what you set and get with the vcore, because i mean its all the same FIVR that does all of it. The design of the power phases in the CPU for the Ring, core, and system agent are the same.

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Originally Posted by MaKe OuT View Post

Ran x264 overnight set to 20 loops. Woke up to a fail. This was my first evening stability testing on this z97 board. all previous testing done on a z87 board. Same chip. Interestingly, I always bsod when failing stability test on z87. typically code 101. But, on this z97 board there is no bsod. I think it just reboots and has a window that states that Windows has recovered from some failure. Not a big deal, but does anyone know why this is?

So I need to look over my notes on my previous z87 stability search as I thought for sure I found stability at the x44 cpu multi. I frickin failed to be stable on this z97 board with a x43 multi at 1.34 Vcore setting which goes to 1.35 something volts under load. The uncore was locked at x35 multi and 1.203V. The VRIN was set to 2.2 volts and increased the same as Vcore did under load. Temps were good around 72C hottest core. I am just bummed that I cannot easily pass x264 overnight at x43 yet.

Any ideas?
just copy the settings over from the Z87, was your Z87 a GBT? if it was just copy them over.

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
Originally Posted by fateswarm View Post

Should we be monitoring voltage with a multimeter if possible in case there is voltage regulation degradation over the months/years? Is voltage regulation degradation a common phenomenon? It came to mind when I noticed people usually blade degradation only to chips.
No.... lol VRms don't degrade, only thing that might would be the capacitors, but the 10K ones used on these boards from GBT are top notch and you wont notice degradation even over like 5-10+ years of use, even if you do the voltage and current will remain the same since there is an active feedback loop for voltage, current, and temperature that is always maintained at needed values regardless of the state of the components in the VRM. If a VRm gets to the point it cannot do what it needs to do, it will fail entirely, like blow a MOSFET or capacitor. Degradation only is due to chips, but also sometimes the CMOS more importantly ME can corrupt and need to be re-flashed.

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
So there has been a lot of talks recently about getting WRs with Z97 motherboards, I just wanted to share the collection that the Z97X-SOC Force and Z97X-SOC Force LN2 have picked up over the last month or two.
4560MHz Memory WR(Z97X-SOC Force LN2, GBT team live at HOT comp.):
3DMark03 Single Card(Team AU):
3DMark03 Dual Card(Team AU):
Aquamark Single Card(Sofos): http://hwbot.org/submission/2562963_sofos1990_aquamark_geforce_gtx_580_576442_marks
Aquamark Dual Card(Sofos):
3DMark05 Dual Card(sofos):
3DMark05 Single Card(TeamAU):
3DMark06 Single Card(TeamAU):
3DMark2001SE Dual Card(Sofos):
3DMark2001SE Single Card(TeamAU):
UNIGINE Heaven Triple Card(TeamAU):
UNIGINE Heaven Dual Card(TeamAU):

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Discussion Starter · #169 ·
I gotta double check if CPUz fixed the issue where CPUz now only reads the VID instead of the vcoe like it does on other brands, they screwed it up a while back im not sure if they fixed it.

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13,219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #178 ·
The BCLK will mess with busses like SATA, why arer you OCing BCLK anyways? lol.

Anyways about the offset you type in normal into the manual voltage input section, or press page up/down to change from auto to normal to manual settings.
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