Image: ASRock

Those looking for a more economical approach to building a new system using an Intel 12th Gen processor may want to take a look at motherboards from ASRock. A reddit user has received confirmation from ASRock that all of its Intel 600-series chipset motherboards will allow BFB (base frequency overclocking) for non-K Alder Lake CPUs.

Hello,

after checking with BIOS department, our 600 series mainboards support BFB, too.Best regards,

ASRock Support

ASRock BFB

ASRock originally introduced BFB with Intel 9th Gen processors on select 400-series motherboards. It later expanded support to include some 300-series motherboards. BFB is already seen on the Z690 lineup, but it will be a welcome addition to the other models. BFB allows all cores to run at their max frequencies per the power limits set in the BIOS. This means that builders on a budget will be able to achieve a greater level of performance from their CPUs simply by raising the power limit.

Since a Z690 paired with an Intel Core i9-12900K could easily set back an enthusiast over $1000, the thought of using a lower-end board to get their foot in the door will most certainly have greater appeal. On the other end of the spectrum, one could conceivably use a H610 combined with an Intel Core i5-12400F 6-core/12-thread processor with all clocks running at 4.4 GHz or higher, for a few hundred dollars. By just spending a bit more to move up to a B660 or H670 board for the added features of the 600-series chipset, such as a 4.0 x8 DMI link or 12 Gen 4 lanes, combined with BFB, the deal only gets better. Best Buy confirmed pricing on a lineup of non-K processors in December with a starting price of $109.99 for the i-3 series, which can be found here.

Source: Wccftech

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Peter Brosdahl

As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my...

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13 Comments

  1. Anyone that’s overclocked Alder Lake ([USER=3]@Brent_Justice[/USER], [USER=6]@Dan_D[/USER], [USER=1]@David_Schroth[/USER]?), does this look promising?

    Is this the same as boosting the system clock or reference clock that’s usually set to 100MHz?

  2. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 46624, member: 1367″]
    Anyone that’s overclocked Alder Lake ([USER=3]@Brent_Justice[/USER], [USER=6]@Dan_D[/USER], [USER=1]@David_Schroth[/USER]?), does this look promising?

    Is this the same as boosting the system clock or reference clock that’s usually set to 100MHz?
    [/QUOTE]

    Sure, it’s the BCLK. non-K CPUs cannot overclock multiplier, so you are left to other means, like BCLK. I personally have not overclocked Alder Lake, so I do not know its range. The BCLK overclock will mostly depend on the motherboard’s quality here, and maybe voltage? It’s been forever honestly since I’ve overclocked with the BCLK, like forever, so I don’t know how AL will interact with it. Does it even still overclock other subsystems like PCIe? Or can it be isolated? I honestly do not know without more research and trials.

  3. BCLK, that’s it!

    Yeah, if I remember correctly, BCLK overclocking was ‘a thing’ maybe a decade ago, but fell out of favor with the introduction of -K unlocked CPUs, and it became somewhat perilous due to running other subsystems out of spec.

  4. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 46648, member: 1367″]
    BCLK, that’s it!

    Yeah, if I remember correctly, BCLK overclocking was ‘a thing’ maybe a decade ago, but fell out of favor with the introduction of -K unlocked CPUs, and it became somewhat perilous due to running other subsystems out of spec.
    [/QUOTE]
    Sort of. Base clock or “BCLK” tuning has never really been a thing. Bus tuning was popular from the beginning of the PC all the way up to the Core 2 Quad CPU’s. The latter of which used a front side bus or “FSB”. Tuning with this method produced good results. This went away with the introduction of Intel’s “Nehalem” CPU’s which brought the memory controller onto the CPU die. It’s pretty much the same story with PCIe controllers as well. Memory controllers and PCIe controllers do not do well being overclocked. Often, simply increasing their clocks by even 1MHz can be problematic. Doing that creates stability issues almost immediately.

    The reason being that it adjusts those values for all devices connected to them which is basically everything. Your network controllers, USB ports, and GPU all get their bus overclocked at once. Like most things, you can only go so far as your weakest component allows. The first thing that doesn’t like to be overclocked will start giving you problems. Because everything connects through PCIe or direct memory channels, things go wrong very fast when making adjustments.

    Since the introduction of the base clock, there has been no reason to tune it at all. There is an external clock generator on most boards but its purpose is simply to give you additional dividers for the memory/PCIe controllers to aid in overclocking. It keeps the PCIe and memory clocks in a range where things remain stable while you increase the multiplier of the CPU. With non-K SKU Intel CPU’s base clock tuning is all you have. But again, this doesn’t really give you a lot of overclocking headroom.

  5. As a side note, base clock tuning and whether or not you can get anywhere with it depends on a lot of factors. Various platforms, chipsets and CPU’s respond to this differently. I’ve never tried base clock tuning with Alder Lake-S and the 600 series chipsets so I can’t speak to how we’ll they’ll do it. But since the base clock was introduced, I’ve seen chipsets where 2-3MHz was all you could get up to about 8-10MHz. I can’t recall ever seeing any chipset from X99 onward that did this well.

    With X99 the clock generator allowed you to use different strap settings and basically change your CPU multiplier so that it was compatible with 100MHz, 125MHz, and so on. There were three or four different strap settings, but that was basically adjusting your multiplier so that your PCIe and memory controllers all stayed at the same frequency. I don’t recall anything supporting that beyond X99. It was frankly a bit of a shit show with that platform too. Although, some people swore by it.

    With the crazy multipliers modern CPU’s have, even a 5MHz adjustment would get you a couple hundred MHz of improvement. However, I can’t tell you whether or not 600 series chipsets and Alder Lake can even do this at all. The platform can theoretically support doing this, but whether or not it does it well is unknown at present. I do have Alder Lake-S in my personal machine, but I’m not willing to mess with BCLK overclocking on it as that can lead to data corruption in my experience. I’ve got a 600 series board and CPU going on the test bench shortly, so I may play with it there and see what can be done with it.

    Honestly though, these CPU’s are tightly binned as it is. Usually the best you can do with Intel CPU’s is to get them running at 5.1GHz to 5.2GHz on all the P-Cores. Your CPU boosts to that anyway, but with overclocking you can basically force it to do that all the time. (In theory.) I just don’t have that much overclocking experience with Alder-Lake-S yet.

    These things run extremely hot. Even under water I routinely see 85c-90c at stock speeds. Meanwhile my 3090 in the same loop never exceeds 68c. I’ve got a proper block for LGA 1700 CPU’s coming, so hopefully that helps. As for the test bench, I’ll try it under water after awhile but in the meantime I’m going to use an AIO for that. Perhaps it will fair better than my LGA 115x/1200 waterblock has but we’ll see.

  6. Anandtech’s architecture review article mentioned a separate bclk plane for CPU vs the rest of the PCIE bus. I’ll see if I can find it quick, but that sounds like the right ticket for OC on non K CPUs

    edit:
    found it

    What Alder Lake brings back to the table is BCLK overclocking. For the last decade or so, most overclocking is done with the CPU multiplier, and before that it was BCLK or FSB. Intel is now saying that BCLK overclocking has returned, and this is partly due to motherboard customizations in the clock generator. Every Alder Lake CPU has an internal BCLK/clock generator it can use, however motherboard vendors can also apply an external clock generator. Intel expects only the lowest-end motherboards will not have an external generator.

    [URL]https://www.anandtech.com/show/16959/intel-innovation-alder-lake-november-4th/5[/URL]

  7. And a week from now they are backtracking it due to pressure from intel, as it happened a few times since K series was introduced. Intel does not want you to get value for your money, they want you to stay in your lane.

  8. [QUOTE=”Endgame, post: 46662, member: 1041″]
    Anandtech’s architecture review article mentioned a separate bclk plane for CPU vs the rest of the PCIE bus. I’ll see if I can find it quick, but that sounds like the right ticket for OC on non K CPUs

    edit:
    found it

    [URL]https://www.anandtech.com/show/16959/intel-innovation-alder-lake-november-4th/5[/URL]
    [/QUOTE]
    Well, Intel CPU’s have had internal clock generators for awhile. Motherboard manufacturers have provided external clock generators for some time. Anytime you saw motherboards advertising BCLK adjustability from 100-400MHz back in the Z170 days etc. it was running one of those clock generators. From the way I’m reading that, it sounds like the difference is that motherboard manufacturers have found a way to implement them better so that they will be more useful.
    [QUOTE=”MadMummy76, post: 46664, member: 1298″]
    And a week from now they are backtracking it due to pressure from intel, as it happened a few times since K series was introduced. Intel does not want you to get value for your money, they want you to stay in your lane.
    [/QUOTE]
    Doubtful. Believe it or not, these things are not always up to Intel. Motherboard manufacturers are Intel’s customers first and foremost. In fact, the return of the external voltage regulator was not because of some technical challenge or reason on Intel’s part. It was because motherboard makers asked them to do that for Skylake.

    Motherboard makers want to sell us product. Motherboard makers know what their customers want and as a result, they ask Intel to do certain things for them in order to accomplish that goal. Intel wants to sell more CPUs and chipsets, so it complies with the demands of its customers. At the same time, Intel doesn’t want you to be able to buy a $300 CPU that performs like its $600 models and thus cheat them out of the additional profit margin they’d have made if you bought the $600 rather than that $300 CPU.

  9. Intel can, and has, thrown their weight around to get a manufacturer to get in line.

    [URL unfurl=”true”]https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/asrock-killed-overclocking-intel-skylake-nonk/[/URL]

    Sure, they may not be the dominant gorilla they once were with AMD’s current prominence, so we will see. But just because they didn’t do the same thing with Comet Lake doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t with Alder Lake.

  10. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 46667, member: 6″]
    Doubtful. Believe it or not, these things are not always up to Intel. Motherboard manufacturers are Intel’s customers first and foremost. In fact, the return of the external voltage regulator was not because of some technical challenge or reason on Intel’s part. It was because motherboard makers asked them to do that for Skylake.

    Motherboard makers want to sell us product. Motherboard makers know what their customers want and as a result, they ask Intel to do certain things for them in order to accomplish that goal. Intel wants to sell more CPUs and chipsets, so it complies with the demands of its customers. At the same time, Intel doesn’t want you to be able to buy a $300 CPU that performs like its $600 models and thus cheat them out of the additional profit margin they’d have made if you bought the $600 rather than that $300 CPU.
    [/QUOTE]
    What do you mean doubtful? It happened already before. MB manufacturers enabled overclocking features to non-K processors then they were soon removed from bioses.

  11. [S]Ran across more information on this, including an [URL=’https://www.anandtech.com/show/16959/intel-innovation-alder-lake-november-4th/5′]Anandtech article[/URL] with BCLK overclocked actually being touted as an Alder Lake feature last year.[/S]
    * [USER=1041]@Endgame[/USER] posted this already

    Main requirement is that the board include an external clock generator – not an expensive part, but would involve extra costs just to produce a different SKU, so the utility may be limited. Why pay more for a board when you can just buy a faster CPU, right?

    der8aur also put out a video dive on the subject:
    [MEDIA=youtube]8diXDeTDCbo[/MEDIA]

  12. [QUOTE=”LazyGamer, post: 46965, member: 1367″]
    Ran across more information on this, including an [URL=’https://www.anandtech.com/show/16959/intel-innovation-alder-lake-november-4th/5′]Anandtech article[/URL] with BCLK overclocked actually being touted as an Alder Lake feature last year.

    Main requirement is that the board include an external clock generator – not an expensive part, but would involve extra costs just to produce a different SKU, so the utility may be limited. Why pay more for a board when you can just buy a faster CPU, right?

    der8aur also put out a video dive on the subject:
    [MEDIA=youtube]8diXDeTDCbo[/MEDIA]
    [/QUOTE]
    Huh, like the same Anandtech article I linked 5 posts above this one? 😉

  13. [QUOTE=”Endgame, post: 46967, member: 1041″]
    Huh, like the same Anandtech article I linked 5 posts above this one? 😉
    [/QUOTE]
    Seems to be 😳

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