How I overclocked Intel Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K to 7.14 GHz on all cores
The Rocket Lake family of processors is already available, which means it’s time for the Xtreme OverClocker (XOCer). I got early access to the processors and have been overclocking them for several months now.
This month I learned a lot of important points about overclocking Rocket Lake, I also managed to overclock Intel Rocket Lake Core i9-11900K up to 7.14 GHz on all cores. I also set a world record for G.Skill Tweakers Contest Extreme… In this article, I will share a few tips.
The Z590 chipset appears to be Intel’s latest development with DDR4 support. The company has already confirmed the appearance of Alder Lake processors with a new LGA 1700 pad. Subsequent models of Intel boards will already support PCIe 5.0 / DDR5 with new processors and AM5 / LGA 1700 sockets. They will be on sale in about a year.
However, an Intel motherboard has many options. For example, twice as many VRM phases as the average user would need, and two ultra-high bandwidth, ultra-low latency DIMM slots. There is also RGB lighting, 12 layers in the PCB and a whole set of signed switches that provide a huge number of possibilities.
In general, I’m not here to convince you that Rocket Lake is worth buying. Cost is somewhat not what the computer enthusiast cares about. Is the RTX 3090’s $ 2,800 price tag justified? This is what you just want, right?
For me, overclocking Rocket Lake is fun. The memory controllers in these chips are insane, and Intel’s new “Gears” setting makes it easy to boost the memory frequency to 5000 MHz. All this is of particular value and significance to me.
Am I seeing a difference in XMP performance from 3800 MHz before overclocking and 5000 MHz after overclocking? No, but that’s not the point. Performance, efficiency is one of my passions, and overclocking is just the area where you can turn around with might and main, satisfying this addiction.
Overclocking Rocket Lake with AIO Cooler
No surprises, I used the Z590 ASRock OC Formula for overclocking. Board designer Nick Shi is a great friend of mine and has implemented several features that I asked for. An Easter egg for you: The profile buttons 1/2/3 in the upper right corner are far enough away that my sausage fingers don’t accidentally bump into anything (no kidding).
These profile buttons are present on the board only because my friends and I need the ability to change settings and frequencies on the fly to perform tests. Also at our disposal – IDE to SATA combined with PS2 mouse and keyboard ports, especially for running Windows XP!
The fee is very cool. The VRM has 16 phases, the board itself is 12-layer. The DIMM slots are located very close to the slot. So close that I can barely manage to install the memory with a custom heatsink next to the water cooler. But all this is a forced “tightness” that is needed for maximum productivity.
I used the Enermax LIQMAX III 360 ARGB AIO cooler. It comes with great backlighting which I love. I took a reliable MaxTytan 1250W as a power source. At peak CPU loads, the power consumption is half the maximum possible, which is perfect for me.
Speaking of conventional benchmark results, I can reach 5.2GHz with Cinebench R20 on five of the seven 11900K chips I tested with no problem. And this is without extreme conditions such as increased voltage or temperature. The Enermax LIQMAX III 360 is strong enough for the eight-core Core i9-11900K. Even when the fans were running in silent mode, the CPU temperature did not reach 80 ° C throughout the entire test.
Moreover, the Intel Core i9-11900K manages to maintain similar clock speeds at 10900K, with the main trade-off being to reduce the number of cores to eight instead of ten. A more detailed technical description of the chip can be found in the Intel Core i9-11900K review Paul Alcorn.
Rocket Lake overclocking tips
- 1.5-1.55 V – Sufficient voltage for the ring bus and the ring bus controller. There is no reason to exceed this figure either for working with a conventional cooler or for cooling with liquid nitrogen.
- Do not exceed the standard voltage VCCIO. Now there is M_VCCIO Voltage or VCCIO 2 to help with memory overclocking. 1.55-1.65 V is quite enough, and there were no problems with Ln2.
- B-Die is still the king of the hill for this generation. tCL 15 and 1t using Gear 2 from 4800 MHz + should negate the latency loss due to Gear 1 for most tests.
- Some processors have weak cores that are bottlenecks for multi-threaded tests. In this case, try single-core tests, in which the chip can show its best side.
- You can check the maximum number of cores using standard tools. For example, you can use Cinebench R20 with HWMonitor open to identify cores with a maximum frequency of 5.3 GHz.
- Use good quality thermal paste. You want the maximum amount of cooling you can get.
Overclocking Rocket Lake with Liquid Nitrogen
For extreme overclocking, I installed a Reaktor 2.2 CPU and combined it with Thermal Grizzly Extreme for better results.
Intel made it possible to extremely overclock Rocket Lake without any problems. The main problem in the case of liquid nitrogen is to ensure that the liquid level is always at its maximum with a temperature of -196 ° C. This generation of processor requires only adequate voltage for the CPU PLL. Put 1.6 V + and that’s it – the task is completed. Then we adjust the core voltage and everything is ready for extreme overclocking.
I tested several retail processors and was able to hit the coveted 7 GHz mark on all cores. To be precise, 7140.88 MHz. Then I tackled PYPrime 2.0, which is part of the current G.Skill Tweakers Contest Extreme at hwbot.org. I managed to set a world record at 6900 MHz and a good 1.87 V on the core. I decided to keep Gear 1’s memory mode and used the latency to boost throughput.
It was an interesting experience. I have noticed several important nuances when working with liquid nitrogen. So, chips can “eat up” the core voltage. Intel Core i9-10900K will stop scaling at 1.72-1.74M vCore in multi-threaded tests. With the Core i9-11900K, there won’t be any magic until you exceed 1800 vCore. It was strange to me that the temperature of the CPU cooling system did not change much under load. In some cases, this figure was only 1-2 ° C at a system temperature of -192 ° C.
I started to suspect thermal paste problems. But no. The second guess is the solder, which I considered unlikely, but decided to check. I decided to use the good old Der8aur Delid Mate. The board was thick enough that I was sure it wouldn’t bend. The process is simple – tighten the screw, push it to the side, and then apply the heat gun – for about a minute, until the tip comes off. The solder looked great, there was a lot of it. And Intel decided to use gold for the entire internal part of the IHS, which seemed interesting to me. True, I am not an expert in this area, so I will not discuss this nuance. I removed the rest of the solder with a razor blade, and then used sandpaper with a grit of 2000 – to remove the rest of the solder.
Then I removed the now useless bracket from the motherboard and replaced the processor. LN2 and spacers create enough pressure to hold the processor in place. I installed the chip without any problems and it worked fine, showing the same frequencies. This was proof that the maximum rate has been reached, so even adding liquid helium will not make much difference.
Conclusion – Intel managed to squeeze every last drop out of its 14nm process technology. I’m surprised Rocket Lake is capable of this. This is a great platform for the enthusiast, and perhaps it is driving AMD to grow. Overall, this is a great finish to the 14nm process. Let’s see what the Z690 can achieve!