Asus unlocks overclocking on lower-end Haswell motherboards

Dave James at

Asus seem to be losing ground to their motherboard rivals, Intel at the moment, but they've sniped back at Intel's imposed restrictions on CPU overclocking. If you have any Asus 8-series mobo for the Haswell/4th Gen Core you can now upgrade the BIOS to allow full access to the overclocking features of Intel’s K-series processors.

These features were previously only accessible via the top-end Z87 chipset, but this was more of a marketing differentiation than a physical restriction. The unlocked CPU multipliers of the K-series Haswell CPUs - the i7-4770K and i5-4670K - can now be tweaked with abandon on all Asus’ H87 and B85-based boards as well as the Z87 mobos.

AMD FX-6300 Piledriver CPU overclock offers 5GHz at a budget price

Dave James at

Now that AMD has finally released the rest of its new Piledriver line-up into the wild, I've been able to spend a little quality time with the six-core FX-6300 - a CPU that I think offers a sweet-spot in terms of price/performance metrics.

It’s a decent little chip at stock speeds, and in raw CPU computational terms its six cores comprehensively out-play the i3-3225, Intel's similarly-priced dual-core Ivy Bridge chip, thanks to the extra multi-threading performance on offer. Intel’s dominance in the gaming sphere is evident, however: the FX-63000 doesn't compete with the dual-core Intel chip in my Batman: Arkham City or Shogun 2 CPU tests.

Until you get busy with the overclocking that is. Then it's a very, very different story.

Overclocker pushes Ivy Bridge processors to a speedy 7GHz

Adam Oxford at

Hardware hacker Hicookie has taken Intel's latest high end processor to speeds in excess of 7GHz, according to overclocking rankings website Hwbot. Processor speed records change rapidly and aren't usually all that newsworthy, but what's interesting about this achievement is that the new record for Ivy Bridge is almost a full GHz faster than the one for older Sandy Bridge chips.

There's been a minor controversy around Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors over the last few weeks regarding their heat dissipation and suitability for home overclocking. In the world of extreme hardware abuse, however, Ivy Bridge looks to be a clear winner over its predecessor.

Of course, if you don't have a few flasks of liquid nitrogen to hand you may not achieve the same results.

EVGA introduces Android overclocking

Adam Oxford at

EVGA has announced its latest Z77-touting motherboards and at the same time unveiled a vision for our ubiquitously computed future. It's got PC and phone working together in perfect harmony, the one symbiotically adapting and informing the other. Just as happy computers should be.

Thanks to an Android-friendly version of its Precision X tuning software, you can have your games running their beautiful virtual worlds in immersive high resolution on your PC screen. On your phone, meanwhile, there's a touch sensitive interface for tuning your CPU and graphics clockspeeds without flicking back to the desktop.

Intel introduces overclocking insurance

Adam Oxford at

Fancy trying your hand at overclocking a CPU but don't want to risk your precious silicon? Intel may have just the thing for you. The chip giant has announced a new optional insurance policy for Core i-thingumy owners who want to protect their processors.

The new warranty is good for three years and covers a one time replacement of a processor damaged by overclocking. It goes by the name of Performance Tuning Plan, and costs between $20 and $35 depending on which chip you own.

Tuning Skyrim on the PC Gamer Rig

Adam Oxford at

Another week, another chance to hunt down bargains for the PC Gamer Rig. Like the well loved broom that's had many new handles and quite a few heads over the years, the Rig is continually evolving to be the best value machine for under £1,000/£1,500 it possibly can be. No part is the same as it was this time last year: but its essence of Rigginess remains.

This week, as you might expect, it's been mostly playing Skyrim.

Intel's latest stock CPU cooler tested: is this the end for additional CPU coolers?

Adam Oxford at

When Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs arrived in the PC Gamer labs a few months ago, one of the things that really surprised me was the size of the retail heatsink supplied with the top end Core i7 2600K. I could be wrong, but I don't remember seeing one as small as this since the days of the Pentium 3. It's pictured above, and as you can see, is barely higher than the RAM modules.

Aha, I thought, that must just be a cost saving trick for Intel that's good for running the chip at stock speeds. For extra performance you'll surely need something a bit more frosty.

When it came to testing the overclocking potential of the chip for the review, I added a watercooler that I was also testing at the time - a Corsair H60. As expected, the chip flew, racing up to 4.5GHz and beyond without any issue. How far would the chip overclock and for how long, I wondered, using just the tiny supplied cooler.