MSI Makes it Easy for Intel i7-7700k To Hit 5.2GHz with Liquid Cooling

At CES 2017, MSI was presenting their hardware line-up that included the latest Intel 270 motherboards.  They had an interesting demo running the MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium ($329.00) with an Intel Core i7-7700K processor at 5.2GHz, the same can be applied to their Z270 Gaming M7 ($249.99), and Z270 MPower Gaming Titanium ($239.00) motherboards.  Legit Reviews talked about it with MSI and CES 2017 and they stated that any Intel Core i7-7700K should be able to hit 5.2GHz on liquid cooling with a single click of their Gaming Overclock button within the UEFI.  That's an impressive statement. [caption id="attachment_190229" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium Overclocked to 5.2GHz[/caption] During the discussion, MSI stated they have tested several hundred different Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake processors and haven't had any issues with any of them.  There are a couple caveats that you have to be aware of to reach the 5.2GHz.  First, a good high quality (closed loop) water cooler is required, it needs to be a minimum of a 240mm model (dual rad).  Next, the memory should be a good high quality enthusiast brand; while overclocking the CPU won't be impacted by the memory much, it is always recommended to get the best you can afford.  Of course, MSI did reinforce that they are not responsible for damages caused by the GAME BOOST feature as with any end user performed overclocking. [caption id="attachment_190231" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium[/caption] The demonstration at CES 2017 did indeed show the system up and running within the UEFI, but not within Windows (which is the real test).  The test system included the MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium motherboard, G.Skill F4-4000 DDR4 memory, and a Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate.  We asked them to reset the UEFI back to defaults, and once that was done. They demonstrated the single click to get to 5.2GHz, simply by setting the Game Boost to 11.  After a quick reboot, the system took a moment to re-enter the UEFI, but once it did, it was showing 5.2GHz once again. [caption id="attachment_190232" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium BIOS MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium BIOS[/caption] A couple interesting things within the UEFI that we noticed, the CPU voltage was automatically configured to run at 1.507V.  The next thing, the CPU temperature was reading 48C.  This seems to be higher than most would want, especially considering that it is in an open air test bed, with a Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate running with the fans at high speed.  So while 5.2GHz might not be an issue while idle, once we start running tests it might become an issue with heat. [caption id="attachment_190409" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium[/caption] In our current testing of the Gigabyte Aorus Z270X Gaming-9 and ASUS Prime Z270-A motherboards and the Intel Core i7-7700K, we have been able to obtain an unstable 5.1GHz, and a stable 5.0GHz overclock.  MSI sent Legit Reviews their Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium motherboards, so we can verify the overclocking ourselves.

MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium Overclocking

After our meeting with MSI at CES 2017, they promptly sent us the Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium so we can see for ourselves what Game Boost can do for users and the other enhancements that they have made for the Intel Z270 chipset. MSI Gaming Boost Knob The MSI gaming boost knob is located on the lower right corner of this board with a big red button in the middle. You can either make your overclock seeing using this dial or by entering in the UEFI if you'd like. [caption id="attachment_190379" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium BIOS Default Settings[/caption] After setting up the test system, we were able to boot into the UEFI, and saw that everything was immediately recognized, and configured correctly. [caption id="attachment_190421" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium Game Boost[/caption] MSI said to simply click the Game Boost button in the upper left corner and set it to 11.  So that's all we are going to do at this point. [caption id="attachment_190380" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium Game Boost 11 Settings[/caption] The MSI UEFI does a nice job at telling you exactly what it is changing when you exit the UEFI.  However, as we are using the built in profile, it doesn't tell us everything.  There is a way to find out, just revert it back to the non-Game Boost settings and it'll tell you when you exit the UEFI again.
Game Boost Speeds
CPU Clock CPU Voltage
Setting 1 4.6GHz 1.257V
Setting 2 4.7GHz 1.276V
Setting 4 4.8GHz 1.305V
Setting 6 4.9GHz 1.305V
Setting 8 5.0GHz 1.382V
Setting 10 5.1GHz 1.411V
Setting 11 5.2GHz 1.507V
Checking the other Game Boost settings within the UEFI, presents an extremely easy way to overclock the motherboard, and a wide range of speeds.  Game Boost mode does lock out certain overclocking features, so you can't make many adjustments after enabling Game Boost. The Game Boost dial goes from 0 - 11, but as you can see, it skips #3, 5, 7, and 9.  Checking the other sections in the UEFI, these "missing" options weren't to be found, maybe they become available with other lower clock speed processors.  [caption id="attachment_190381" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium Game Boost 11 Overclock[/caption] After a reboot, the UEFI comes back up (after a little text warning that we are using Game Boost settings, and MSI does not recommend changing any of them).  XMP is disabled, however we can easily re-enable it if we want.

MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium Overclocking Results

Just for reference our test system included the following hardware
Intel LGA 1151 Z270 Test Platform
Component Brand / Model Live Pricing
Processor Intel i7-7700K Click Here
Memory Kingston 32GB DDR4 2666MHz Click Here
CPU Cooler Corsair H105 Click Here
Video Card eVGA GTX 970SC Click Here
Hard Drive Intel Pro 2500 180GB SSD Click Here
M.2 Drive Kingston HyperX Predator 240GB Click Here
Power Supply Corsair CX750M Click Here
Operating System Windows 10-Pro 64-Bit Click Here
Booting into Windows 10 was successful at 5.2 GHz on our Intel Core i7-7700K processor with Game Boost set to 11!  This is the first time that we have been able to successfully boot into Windows at 5.2GHz with this specific test configuration.  However, this is where the fun ended. [caption id="attachment_190382" align="aligncenter" width="418"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium Game Boost 11 CPU-Z[/caption] We were able to run simple programs such as Paint, CPU-Z, HWMonitor, Edge, and Chrome for several hours without any issues.  If we went to do anything that stressed the CPU, we would get the BSOD.  Watching HWMonitor, temps could be seen reaching close to 90C, and then shortly after that the system would BSOD. [caption id="attachment_190416" align="aligncenter" width="587"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium HWMonitor 5.1GHz[/caption] While we were unable to successfully run any benchmarks at 5.2GHz, taking it down to Game Boost 10 (5.1GHz) we were successful at running quick several benchmarks; and temperatures remained in the mid 80C range. [caption id="attachment_190414" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium Cinebnech R15 5.1GHz[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_190415" align="aligncenter" width="645"]MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium GeekBench 5.1GHz[/caption] Final Thoughts and Conclusion: MSI told us at CES that any Intel Core i7-7700K processor can hit up to 5.2 GHz with their Game Boost technology which can be found on all of MSI's Intel Z270 motherboards in their Gaming models, Enthusiast, Performance and Arsenal.  However, only three motherboards have the Game Boost Dial, which provides the best and easiest overclocking possible; Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium, Z270 MPower Gaming Titanium, and Z270 Gaming M7.  We are impressed by the ease of the Game Boost Overclocking dial, however have recommended MSI to change the profile numbers within the UEFI to the actual CPU GHz speed which is based off the CPU. MSI engineers have tested 200 - 300 processors with no issues at 5.2GHz.  While this is technically true, We were able to hit 5.2GHz with the test system, it was unstable on the Windows 10 desktop.  Overclocking is a fine art and can be difficult to get a great overclock setting.  On MSI's website for the Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium, they state that while 5.2 GHz with Game Boost is possible, "Results may vary according to your platform, model and cooling". Whether that is a limitation on the CPU or the other hardware in the test system, we can't be certain yet.  We will be working to make adjustments to the settings on the test system to see whether it can achieve a stable 5.2 GHz. Of course keep in mind that any overclocking you do with your system is at your own risk.  MSI is not responsible for any damage to the system from Game Boost overclocking, or any other user performed overclocking.