Sapphire Pure Platinum Z77K Reviewccokeman -
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Testing the latest Z77 board from Sapphire will involve running the Pure Platinum Z77K through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which include both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and the latest AMD Catalyst drivers for the XFX HD 7970. To ensure as few variables as possible, all hardware will be tested at their stock speeds, timings, voltages, and latencies – unless otherwise stated. Turbo Boost is disabled to make a fair comparison without skewing results.
Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 1155
- Processors: Core i7 3770K
- CPU Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H100
- Motherboard: Sapphire Pure Platinum Z77K,
- Memory: Mushkin 993997 Redline PC317000 9-11-10-28 8GB
- Video Card: XFX HD 7970 Black Edition
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1200
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: Lite-On Blu-Ray
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D
- OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Overclocking with a Z77 chipset board and the latest Intel socket 1155 Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge processor is accomplished by the same means we have used since the introduction of the Sandy Bridge CPU Architecture. With the drop to 22nm the voltage applied is going to be slightly less than on the 32nm Sandy Bridge architecture. The Sapphire Pure Platinum Z77K was surprisingly eager to overclock. The UEFI BIOS is easier to navigate and is clearly marked although the granularity of the adjustments for the majority of the overclocking sections is less than anticipated. What is there though works flawlessly. The test chip I have is limited to 4.7GHz and not a MHz more so maximizing the performance through bclock and multiplier adjustments was the way to go. The comparison boards would not allow a bclock higher than 102MHz; a bit disappointing to say the least but they did allow overclocking close to the maximum clock speed of my CPU.
The Sapphire board pushed right past that 102MHz threshold up to 103.5 with booting into the OS and using Sapphire's TriXX utility to increase the bclock the rest of the way. 1.325v with a 25% Loadline Calibration was set for the CPU in the BIOS with the PLL voltage set to 1.675v using TriXX. Memory voltage was constant at 1.66v. The final result was short of the 4.7GHz on the Intel board due to the methods used to overclock. Finding the bclock limit for each board will allow for a more flexible clock speed. In the end just like the other two boards a close to 1.2GHz clock speed increase can be achieved through some fine tuning of the BIOS. Using TriXX while in the OS can easily provide a way to quickly test settings without going through the boot process.
Each CPU and motherboard has been tested for stability at the clock speeds listed when in an overclocked state. These clock speeds will be used to run the test suite and will show the performance increase over the stock settings in the overclocked scoring.
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