ASUS Maximus III Extreme
As with all overclocking, your mileage may vary. But more importantly, be sure you don’t get overzealous without knowing the implications and what could go wrong, since the last thing you want is a blown processor. Manual overclocking requires time and effort to learn some of the basic rules, then work on the intricacies; your patience will be rewarded.
The Maximus III Extreme is designed for serious overclocking so we decided not to baby it; if you want simple and safe, you can buy any P55 board for that. So we chose to go for the jugular here and went with dry ice in a sub-zero cooling setup.
Getting the temperatures down to -65°C and using a combination of BIOS and TurboV EVO, in conjunction with CPU-Z, we managed to achieve the following results. Keep in mind, again, this is a beta BIOS, so we’re confident that subsequent BIOS releases will no doubt improve the results even further.
MAXIMUM BCLK OVERCLOCK
First up, we looked to find the maximum BCLK possible. We dropped the CPU multiplier and set about working the voltages, ultimately resting on a BCLK of 225, up from the stock 133, representing a 69% increase.
Not only is this is an outstanding result for a LGA1156 motherboard, but remember that we’re using a Beta BIOS here. A 225 BCLK on a Beta BIOS? Incredible.
MAXIMUM MEMORY OVERCLOCK
Memory overclocking is perhaps a bit less motherboard-dependent, but nonetheless an important component in system overclocking. We dropped in our set of killer Kingston HyperX DDR3-2133 modules and juiced things up.
We didn’t bother tweaking the BCLK and CPU multipliers much to squeeze out every last ounce of speed, but finishing with a final 2264MHz is nothing to be ashamed of. These Kingston sticks pack some serious punch, and will allow you to push some impressive performance numbers. The Maximus III Extreme clearly can harness this horsepower and we had no problems, as dialing in the BIOS settings proved to be very easy. This is our best result to date of any LGA1156 motherboard.
MAXIMUM CPU OVERCLOCK
Wanting to push this board, we installed our Koolance CPU-LN2 Evaporator (though it’s a far better pot for dry ice than liquid nitrogen) and an LGA1156 bracket. After some board insulation and other adjustments, we fired up the system and settled in with working temperatures around the -62°C range.
It is often very difficult to find the right combination of settings and voltages to extract the maximum out of a CPU. Our chip proved rather touchy to voltages, unfortunately, and after several attempts at 5.0GHz, I had to settle for slightly less:
Increasing the multiplier to 24, I managed to achieve a BCLK just shy of 205, resulting in a final overclock of 4.91GHz, almost a 68% increase on the i7 870. This is an outstanding result. Disabling a couple cores and Hyperthreading likely would have put the chip over the top and into the 5GHz Club territory.
I did run a few other quick benchies and managed a couple Top 3 and Top 5 world finishes for this CPU in 3DMark runs. Not to shabby for a beta BIOS. Clearly, the Maximus III Extreme is a helluva board for extreme overclocking.