CPU-Z developer says Gigabyte's 8GHz Alder Lake overclock isn't possible

Intel Core i9 12900K up-close images with the chip exposed
(Image credit: Future)

Motherboard manufacturers love a good bit of PR. Every time a new processor or graphics card launches, you can always expect a few 'new world record' claims made by overclockers with liquid nitrogen (LN2) cooling and a one-in-a-hundred binned CPU or GPU. All designed to show off the unrivalled prowess of a certain motherboard or piece of hardware.

As we come up to a week since the launch of Intel's 12th Gen processors, motherboard and RAM makers are allowed to flex their overclocking muscles. Every day, new press releases are despatched detailing the latest records. 

Gigabyte is no exception. It proudly claimed that its upcoming Z690 Tachyon motherboard was able to hit an impressive 8.0GHz with a Core i9 12900K. Sounds good right? However, according to the developer of the CPU-Z validator, this result is not real (via Tom’s Hardware.) 

Is it intentionally fake though? We don't think Gigabyte would sink to those levels, but what it does mean is that anytime you see an LN2 cooled OMG MHz overclock, take it with a grain of salt.

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The source of the problem is a silicon errata that occurs when the clock multiplier is set above 63. Since it's likely that Intel doesn’t waste its time with LN2 overclocking early in the development process, this errata wasn’t able to be fixed in hardware before the design freeze and retail production. 

A BIOS fix was later developed, but if anyone can find a workaround for that, it's an in house overclocker with a BIOS development team on hand.

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There are plenty of other 7GHz+ suicide screenshots, but at HWbot the current record is 7,543MHz, so a jump to 8GHz is, shall we say, dubious?

We genuinely don't think Gigabyte is cheating here. At least we hope it isn’t. It highlights the value that marketing teams place on such results though, even if they are ultimately meaningless. 

Passing benchmarks is one thing, but a screenshot of a processor at -185°C with 2.0V being shoved through it moments before its likely insta-death means nothing to 99.999% of gamers.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.