Asus enables Haswell overclocking on non-Z-series motherboards

Intel is infamous for selectively disabling features to segment products based on the same silicon. Overclocking, for example, is limited to K-series processors and Z-series motherboards. Or it’s supposed to be, anyway. ASRock and ECS circumvented that arbitrary limitation last year only to have Intel promise to resurrect it with a subsequent microcode update.

Now, Asus is having a kick at the can.

The mobo maker’s latest round of firmware updates for H97, H87, B85, and H81 motherboards promises overclocking support for K-series Haswell chips, including the latest Devil’s Canyon derivatives and the anniversary-edition Pentium. H97 boards are limited to CPU multiplier control, but the others appear to have access to the same frequency and multiplier options as equivalent Z97 offerings—at least for a limited time. The press release warns that Intel could nix the whole thing with "software and/or firmware updates" and that future Haswell chips may not work with the scheme.

Given those warnings, I wouldn’t recommend relying on Asus’ non-Z overclocking functionality. Z97 boards are a safer bet for enthusiasts looking to squeeze extra performance from their CPUs. That said, I’m sure some competitive overclockers will appreciate having cheaper options to pair with the anniversary-edition Pentium, whose $75 asking price is much lower than the going rate for Z97 boards. Those folks shouldn’t mind living on the edge a little.

Update Asus tells us the H97 isn’t the only chipset limited to CPU multiplier control; the H87, B85, and H81 have similar restrictions. Only the firm’s Z-series mobos offer the full suite of overclocking controls.

Comments closed
    • MadManOriginal
    • 6 years ago

    If they could do overclocking with non-K chips that would be big news. I know it’s not possible though.

      • NeelyCam
      • 6 years ago

      I kinda remember some ASUS mobos offering higher multipliers than what the CPU was supposedly locked into… but this was a while ago, and I don’t even remember if this was in the Core2 Duo timeframe or before that.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 6 years ago

    I don’t know why anyone would be pro-intel on this. Just sounds like a stupid licensing scam that intel’s running to make people pay a premium for what essentially doesn’t need one. AFAIK, AMD doesn’t do this, and historically overclocking has been more of a motherboard thing than cpu. Only recently has “unlocked” cpu’s been a thing, and intel cripples those chips by disabling core features.

    You know what would be nice? Overclocking a non-k haswell. Screw what intel thinks about it.

      • Wirko
      • 6 years ago

      In a couple of years, everything that’s in the chipset will be integrated into the CPU. The chipset will still remain in order to serve one function: to limit the capabilities of the processor.

      The situation is not much different today, anyway.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]Just sounds like a stupid licensing scam that intel's running to make people pay a premium for what essentially doesn't need one.[/quote<] Nothing new, PC part capabilities have been artificially neutered pretty much since the beginning to fill the lower end segment and add perceived value to their higher end.

      • maxxcool
      • 6 years ago

      Since the price difference is 30$ for a unlocked i5 (20$ diff on amazon) , and that i5 utterly DESTROYS every amd processor in existence.. I will spend the extra 30$

      • cobalt
      • 6 years ago

      Not that I entirely disagree with you, but it sounds a little like you’re saying all chips used to be unlocked. They always used to be locked, so you had to overclock by using the FSB. It’s just gotten so you effectively can’t overclock that way anymore with new architectures, so the only real option was to offer unlocked chips.

      (Are they missing anything other than VT-d, by the way?)

        • f0d
        • 6 years ago

        “They always used to be locked”

        not exactly true although no recent standard cpus are multiplier unlocked, 486’s pentium pro’s and in a limited way (not all multipliers) normal pentiums used to be multiplier unlocked

        intel has crippled recent cpu’s by not allowing the bclock (fsb equivalent) adjustment when they can in fact allow it if they like which they do now in some processors, my old i7 3820 only allowed a few multipliers (the 4 multi’s past standard rule most high/mid range intels cpu’s have) and the only way to overclock it any further was to go to a 125 bclock

        i think haswell k series also has internal bclk multipliers you can adjust also

        so it isnt a architecture limitation to allow bclk overclocking its just another limitation imposed on us from intel

          • NeelyCam
          • 6 years ago

          I thought bclock overclocking broke when it was tied to PCIe – hiking the frequency would knock out PCIe links.. But I don’t know for sure – somebody please correct me if I’m wrong?

            • f0d
            • 6 years ago

            yes and no
            you can still bclk overclock if intel allows it like they do in some processors, what they do is have an internal multiplier that keeps the pci and other bus’s frequencys the same while raising the bclk to certain “straps”

            bclk overclocking without this ability is a dangerous thing and not recommended but with a processor that has bclk straps its ok to overclock using those certain straps (like k series haswells and sandy bridge-e/ivy bridge-e cpus)

            again its just another limitation imposed on us by intel (i have intel cpu’s everywhere in my house so im not an intel hater – i just think its wrong how they have limited overclocking like they have)

      • NeelyCam
      • 6 years ago

      That evil Intel. Someone should sue them, and force them to unlock all their CPUs and enable turbo and HT in every chip.

      But would you please tell us how you feel about AMD locking their CPUs. They didn’t do that in the past, but then suddenly started locking them, leaving only the higher end ones unlocked to extract more money from AMD fanbois. Stupid licensing scheme…?

        • sircharles32
        • 6 years ago

        I beg to differ.
        As far back as I can be sure, which would be the K7 era, so we’ll say since 1999, AMD has locked their CPUs. In fact, they didn’t start unlocking them, until the birth of the “FX”, and I don’t mean the ones from today either.

        With that said, I’d say your memory is a tad foggy.

          • NeelyCam
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]With that said, I'd say your memory is a tad foggy.[/quote<] Yes - it appears so..

          • l33t-g4m3r
          • 6 years ago

          K6-2’s were unlocked. Quite a few AthlonXP’s were unlocked, I had a fully unlocked 1700, which overclocked over that in actual Mhz, then there were those M? chips. Athlon64’s were only partially locked, but you could OC the bus to get whatever, and it wasn’t tied to pci. IMO, intel wasn’t actually worth buying until sandybridge, but I had already went with a Phenom II, which is still a viable cpu. AMD always did allow some level of overclocking, but now they officially support it with their “Black” editions.

          I’m using Intel now, but overclocking is a complete joke with the locked platform and poor tim’s. Better off not bothering, especially when you don’t even need the gains a measly 400 mhz can get you. Just using intel by itself is an improvement from AMD’s chips.

          I like the performance, but I’m not going to defend a gimped platform. Intel clearly does not respect their customers / enthusiasts as much as they should.

          • jihadjoe
          • 6 years ago

          Gold Fingers!

        • hansmuff
        • 6 years ago

        Remember the pencil trick to get around AMD’s lasered bridges on the chip package? Yeah, they have been at it for a long time.

          • NeelyCam
          • 6 years ago

          Oh, you’re right – that’s how I unlocked my TBirds!! Mm… the memories..

          I even bought this silly little “unlocking kit” which was essentially a magnifying glass with a stand, and two bottles of goo – one dielectric, one conductive.

          So, I guess they have been locking CPUs for a while.. my bad. Memory fail

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 6 years ago

            Meanwhile, you’re talking about methods to unlock a locked chip…. Exactly.

            I’ve overclocked a tualatin on a or840 board. Figure that one out.

            The problem we have here at this point in time, is that Intel has effectively BLOCKED any hacks to allow overclocking other than what they officially sanction. Plus their non-k chips have additional features. TSX for example, which can offer a decent performance benefit to programs that support it.

            You’re not getting the full featureset on a K cpu. Intel is ripping you off. Not only that, but Intel deliberately made the tim’s low quality to hinder overclockers. The end result is that K buyers get double screwed. Less features, and liitle to no overclocking. Supporting Intel on this is pure stupidity, and or Stockholm Syndrome.

            • NeelyCam
            • 6 years ago

            [quote<]Supporting Intel on this is pure stupidity, and or Stockholm Syndrome.[/quote<] Maybe buying Intel because the performance is better is not that stupid...? And people are free to pay more for the features they want. I don't know... it almost seems like you are just looking for any/all reasons to continue your Intel hate. Did some mean Intel engineer pour urine in your coffee when you were little?

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 6 years ago

            You’re assuming WAY more than you should. I’m actually using an intel cpu right now, idiot. I’m not shilling for AMD, here. DURR BUY FX? Hell, NO. That’s completely your own concoction. I’m backing Asus’s decision to allow overclocking on non Z series motherboards, and we need to see more of that.

            You just got through saying how you unlocked your TBirds, and then turn right around and defend Intel for locking CPU’s? No. I don’t think so. There’s so much hypocrisy here it’s ridiculous.

            I want to see overclocking hacks for Intel’s entire platform. Enable overclocking on every cpu and motherboard. More the merrier.

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 6 years ago

    I wonder why Intel doesn’t just force the mobo manufacturers to sign an agreement to not enable certain features on certain stuff instead of playing the “update the microcode to break the feature unlocks” game?

    • windwalker
    • 6 years ago

    Wouldn’t this work better without official word from the motherboard manufacturer?
    They can just start “rumours” on a few forums here and there that would quickly be confirmed by actual customers.
    If it’s a race, a head start is a huge advantage.

    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    Every time someone mentions this, Intel smack them down again.

    I don’t see why Intel would let Asus do it when they’ve denied all the other vendors.

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