news asrock kills its skyoc bclk overclocking feature
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ASRock kills its SkyOC BCLK overclocking feature

Farewell, Skylake BCLK overclocking, we hardly knew ye. ASRock has pulled the plug on its SkyOC feature, not even a couple months after it appeared in motherboards' firmware. The latest BIOS updates for some of the company's Z170 motherboards explicitly confirm that ASRock is removing the feature from its firmware. The beta BIOSes that included SkyOC in the first place have been scrubbed from the company's site, along with the announcement page for the feature.

A while ago, WCCFtech noticed some rumors that Intel was about to roll out new firmware updates to disable base clock overclocking support on non-K CPUs from the Skylake family. The company apparently didn't like the idea of users grabbing inexpensive versions of Core i3 and i5 chips and pushing them close to Core i7-levels of performance, and now those restrictions have come to pass.

This is roughly the same scenario as what happened back in the Haswell days, when Intel dropped support for limited multiplier overclocking on non-K chips from that family. Of course, users are still free to use an older version of their motherboard's BIOS and keep BCLK overclocking active, but they'll be missing out on bug fixes and feature updates.

0 responses to “ASRock kills its SkyOC BCLK overclocking feature

  1. Strawman means misrepresenting someone’s argument to make it easier to attack. It might be a pointless attempt to undermine the statement (I honestly can’t tell), but it’s not a strawman argument.

  2. Do consider that the BIOS is no longer the only entry point for microcode patches. In the past, Windows also has been used as a delivery vehicle:

    [url<]https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2493989[/url<] [url<]https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3064209[/url<] It may be unlikely that this particular issue will be causing a Windows microcode patch, because it's not on the same scale as the above linked problems were; those impacted Windows directly. But with any future microcode patch that would go out with Windows updates, this would be rolled in. Also you can always roll back on the BIOS. It might warn you that it's older, but I have never seen a board blocking it.

  3. It’s not a strawman they actually do brick phones when they detect 3rd party repairs & modification, it’s device lockdown and *FAR* less reasonable than Intel’s techniques to stop oc-ing

  4. and when you’re Apple, you brick the device on the next OS update, if an unauthorised part is used

  5. [url<]http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z170M%20Extreme4/index.us.asp?cat=Beta[/url<] 12/15/2015 ver L1.35 beta bios has not been changed. md5 2ad7a44ae7b69cfea8d47a1e7ba66edf Checks out with the one I downloaded a few weeks ago. So, work in progress? Maybe they won't pull them? edit: I just loaded the non-beta 1.40 BIOS and it still works as well, booted to 110mhz BCLK off the one I justed downloaded about 20 minutes ago. [url<]http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z170M%20Extreme4/index.us.asp?cat=Download&os=BIOS[/url<] I'll follow up more here: [url<]https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=117213[/url<]

  6. But when you get hit by a mysterious performance reduction of half at some point in the future (see forum AVX enabled benchmarks), this BCLK oc might not seem such a clever decision.

  7. And when AMD were making better CPUs than Intel, the market still bought Intel due to laziness, FUD, inertia and outright anti-competitive bribes.

    I might still have Intel Celeron A’s .. allow a reliable 50% overclock, any one willing to swap with me for a locked down Skylake? Over-clocking is the MOST important feature, after all.. right?

  8. So buy a CPU which enables over-clocking. Ohhh, don’t want AMD or some hard to find/support ARM CPU; thought so!! What Intel has cared about, is monetising their effective monoply rents, which is reason for the annoying marketing segmentation on CPUs for long time (including Sandy Bridge).

  9. My wife has a W10 Skylake laptop, the priority needed is fixing the bugs & instability, it’s only recently becoming acceptably reliable!! Until then, how could you judge any over-clock?

  10. Their updated bios is to resolve the prime/skylake bug, it is a regular bios. When I go to the beta section of my motherboard, the k-overclock bios is still posted.

    [url<]http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20Z170%20Gaming%20K4D3/?cat=Beta[/url<]

  11. lol… You could figure as much before this ever happened. Intel isn’t going to go back to none K series chips when it can keep selling them for a premium to OCers.

  12. [quote<]You seem to be under the impression that overclockers represent a substantial percentage of Intel's market.[/quote<] You seem under the impression corporations do not care about small (very small even) portions of their markets. This is patently false. Nissan still makes a full sized truck specifically for the NA market even though they only have around 1.5%~ of full-sized NA truck market. Do you really think Intel doesn't deeply care about protecting the market for their premium priced K models? The models that have the most reviews generation over generation at places like Newegg, Amazon, and NCIX? These are very popular models. Likely representing a very big portion of their boxed processors. They absolutely care. It's also important to note that currently the OEMs you're talking about are still able to use BCLK overclocking. Intel is likely prepping some further update that fully stops it, but that leaves a lot of processors in channel that would be able to do it. I also honestly wonder if the market sized held by OEMs who would engage in such practices in 2016 is really all that significant. Though I guess no one can trust Lenovo.

  13. You seem to be under the impression that overclockers represent a substantial percentage of Intel’s market.

    Their clamping down on BCLK overclocking is almost certainly more about preventing OEMs from shipping “factory overclocked” systems than it is about preventing overclocking by end users.

  14. When it’s Asrock? Stability. 😉 <j/k>

    I confess, I’m having my first good Asrock mainboard experience with the N3700-ITX, so I’m just kidding. My first experience, the Z68 Extreme4 Gen3, was ugly, and I found support both unhelpful and indifferent.

    Too bad one can’t overclock the Pentium N3700; it would be an interesting exercise.

  15. The other side of the segmentation argument is that the cheap product is effectively subsidized by the premium one, so if it goes by the wayside everyone not interested in OC will have to pay slightly more for something they don’t want.

  16. Yeah. Even as AMD unlocked all their FX processors, it wasn’t enough to make Intel call a meeting and talk about it.

    Minion: “Sir, what do we do? AMD decided to unlock all their FX chips.”

    Otellini: “So?”

    And it was never mentioned again.

  17. IIRC a year or two ago intel announced it was going to push updates like these through Windows updates.

  18. You’re a wise guy chuck. Would enabling an XMP profile that increases base clock do the same thing?

  19. Quiet! You are a heathen spreading lies.

    As chuckula [url=https://techreport.com/news/29422/updated-locked-skylake-cpus-may-be-overclockable-soon?post=955102<]foretold[/url<], if there was some grand conspiracy to prevent overclocking of these parts, don't you think Intel just would have used the same setup they had used since Sandy Bridge instead of bending over backwards to make this possible only to try to paper it over with a magical firmware update? He said it himself that he was right!

  20. Microcode is almost a must, since the one baked-in may have bad bugs. (And can have even worse performance)
    Sometimes, check errata…

  21. No change of heart. OC of locked chips was only side effect. They are eliminating it now.

    It was never official nor supported. There was not a single word from Intel on it.

  22. I actually would prefer to overclock an i3 than to have the i7 k series chip, there’s something really fun about overclocking chips like the G3258 where you can throw 1.3 volts and you don’t generate too much heat for the intel stock cooler.

    I think we’ve all been waiting for an overclockable i3 as the go to budget solution, and now it’s finally come and gone.

  23. Sorry to burst your bubble, pup, but I-GOD has always hated oc’ing. Always and Forever.
    Their funny mock[tm] support in sponsoring i-god overclocking tournaments [tm] and so on has always been pathetic.
    And until , AMD puts up competitive solution….. nothing will change.

  24. Then why the change of heart? I don’t understand. I believed you! I had faith in your supposition that since they made the changes to make it possible, that they tacitly accepted and supported the possibility of granting us this power.

    Oh Intel, why have you forsaken me?!

  25. Might want to go on and download the appropriate BIOS and flash tool now.

    Edit: Damn looks like they took down the files already. That was fast.

  26. Yes I did.
    And I was right.

    Intel knowingly made the design chnages that made overclocking possible. Do you think the chips spontaneously redesigned themselves when nobody was looking? Do you think that literally nobody at Intel has used the Internet and saw the stories about how this was possbile months before Skylake even launched?

  27. I thought chuckula said that Intel knowingly made this possible? I mean, if Intel was as supposedly hellbent on stopping overclocking as the conspiracy nutballs seem to suggest, then they sure wouldn’t have made changes to their chipsets that have been known to allow more overclocking.

    [url=https://techreport.com/news/29607/evga-lets-users-turn-up-the-bclk-on-locked-skylake-chips?post=961085<]Right?[/url<]

  28. h.264, h.265 encoding. TBH I was probably going to setup my BR rips on this secondary box but it looks like it will perform very poorly if I do so.

    Fun experiment, really only needed the stock speeds since the main rig has a 6700K, I may end up just throwing the regular BIOS back on it.

  29. I wouldn’t expect this news to come as a surprise to anyone who follows the tech industry the way a typical TR reader does.

    As much as I wanted to get stoked when I saw all the initial reports of Skylake BCLK overclocking, I was 99.9% certain that Intel would nip it in the bud with an upcoming microcode update.

    Must protect market segmentation at all costs!

    (Though to be fair, there is an element of consumer protection here, preventing shady resellers from OCing a low-end CPU and selling it as “OMG 4.5 Gigablurtz!!1!” to an unknowing consumer. But I suspect that would be a much more rare occurrence these days than it was during the tech boom when there were whitebox build shops everywhere.)

  30. I’d be very tempted not to care about lower vector performance at all in a gaming build. Clock speed would still reign supreme I imagine.

  31. From the benchmarks posted about the overclocked chips, things are somewhat ambiguous and there are results you wouldn’t expect.

    So overclocking using BCLK disables power management. But… if you run a very CPU intensive benchmark on an overclocked chip, you’ll find very reasonable temps and power consumption figures. In fact, almost too reasonable.

    Here’s why: Power management isn’t just for reducing power consumption when the CPU is idle, it also includes very fine-grained control of powerup and powerdown of the AVX units that can pull a lot of juice when running under heavy loads. So, the full power of the AVX units is basically deactivated when BCLK overclocking because the power management functions aren’t turned on to spool up the full AVX hardware.

    See the [url=https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=117213&p=1291426&hilit=skylake+bclk#p1291139<]forums for more info.[/url<] So it's a tossup. You can actually *reduce* the performance in many AVX workloads by driving up the base-clock. However, some workloads that don't use those instructions anyway would see performance improvements. Once again, it's not a simple yes/no solution.

  32. This wouldn’t surprise me if this was at the microcode level (I don’t know if this is or isn’t), out of reach of FOSS firmware (unless your libreboot and don’t load microcode….).

  33. And this is why some people are crazy enough to push for FOSS software even at the BIOS/firmware level; because without control over software users have no control over hardware either. It’s not your motherboard, if you can’t do what you want with it.

  34. Jeez, I was waiting until the end of March to build a rig for the Oculus Rift. I thought an overclocked i5-6400 or a i3-6100 even would work pretty well.

    Hopefully I can roll back whatever bios the boards ship with and a microcode doesn’t go out to kill this further.

  35. To: ASRock

    From: Intel

    Subject: About that BCLK on non-K Skylake chips
    ——————————————————————————————————————————

    That’s a nice company you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it. You know what to do.

  36. Eh… probably not. The ASRock motherboard did not ship with the the BIOS revision that enabled SkyOC. If you didn’t already have the board and performed the update then your only choice at this time is to put your faith in a third party.

    It also means you’re stuck at a level which may or may not have issues. This could be a big problem with folks as there has been quite a few updates on the Z170 boards for things like M.2 support with specific drives or the recent news about Skylake and Prime95 bug. And if you want support from ASRock they’ll also almost certainly force you to update before providing further assistance.

  37. Important note: Simply [b<]NOT[/b<] installing the latest BIOS update retains your ability to use the SkyOC functionality.

  38. We’ll see what Asus and Gigabyte do, but with respect to Intel, it would be nice if there was at least a Pentium AE equivalent for the 1151 socket.

  39. This really sucks. It seemed folks were having quite good luck with the BCLK overclocking.

    Seems short sighted unless they think their next release is what will finally get people to upgrade. I’m doubtful though. The ability to OC Skylake on the cheap would have been a big reason for some people to upgrade after 4-6 years of being on the same CPU.

  40. A resource for those interested:
    [url<]http://overclocking.guide/asrock-z170-non-k-overclocking-guide/[/url<]