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Laz322 10-20-2016 11:43 PM

Trouble Overclocking with MSI Z170A Gaming M5 + Intel 6600K Processor

I've been having a damned difficult time trying to get a stable overclock with this motherboard (MSI Z170A Gaming M5) and the Intel Skylake 6600K. I know all overclocks are not the same and I understand that results may very depending on differences in hardware/cooling, etc. but I though the 6600K was easy to overclock and at relatively low voltages (I often read of people getting to 4.4GHz at a Vcore of 1.250v). I haven't been so luck yet and if I don't figure things out by tomorrow I will not be able to replace either the motherboard or the processor (if the fault lies with either one).

My target is 4.3ghz. At first I tried the recommend Vcore of 1.250v (at optimized default in the Bios as a starting point) with XMP disabled (just in case) and all power saving features turned off. I ran Prime95 on Blend and after two runs one of my cores stops working. The best I could do with Intel Burn Test (@4.2ghz) was to pass the standard test, if I tried the next setting up [High] the program would either shut down with a warning message or the computer would freeze up. I pass AIDA64's stability test without a problem, run a Cinebench CPU benchmark no problem, etc. I've had no luck with Intel's Extreme Tuning Utility (just for stress testing, not overclocking with it) and my memory passed four hours of the UEFI MemeTest86 without any errors.

Right now I'm at a Vcore of 1.300v in the Bios. I've set an Override Offset of 0.065mv to battle the voltage droop at load. The Ring is at 3900GHz, FCLK is at 1000GHz. The offset brings the Vcore up to 1.368v (though at idle the system Vcore in CPUID is 1.384, but I believe the values are slightly different on how the motherboard steps up each offset I set).

Ideally I'd like to get a lower Vcore at idle and find some way to battle voltage droop during load. I'm already heading towards the voltage limits for this chip (1.450v) and I haven't even got 4.3ghz OC stable!

There are other settings in the Bios dealing with voltage/delivery to the CPU that I do not fully understand and won't touch until I have, at the very least, a basic understanding of their function.

This board doesn't have LLC (Load-line-calibration) which was very surprising since it isn't a budget board and it was marketed for gamers and overclockers. MSI tech support (based out of California) is horrible. The phone "techs" know virtually nothing about the board and say if I want LCC I have to buy the more expensive M7 as they have no plans on ever updating the current Bios to add LLC.

Thanks for reading, I know it was a bit long.

Please help if you can,


snapper69 10-27-2016 08:05 AM

I have overclocked all my systems over the years, but I'm no expert. One thing that I do know, is that Prime 95 and Skylake do not go together, Prime 95 ramps up the voltage levels and causes heat problems. Most people recommend Intel Burn Test.

I have a 6600K overclocked to 4.4 at 1.26V, cooled by a Corsair H110i GT AIO cooler. I did have it at 4.5 at 1.27 but the temps were a bit higher and I got the occasional crash, so I dialled it down a bit. Not all cpu's are equal, but the 6600K seems to be fairly consistent, have you tried the MSI forums for any tips/problems on your board?

Laz322 10-27-2016 06:42 PM

Hey Snapper,

I can't get anywhere near 4.4GHz with that voltage. I can't even get 4.3GHz stable at a Vcore of 1.35v!

I honestly think it is my motherboard. It doesn't have LLC and it cannot be added via a Bios update (supposedly MSI would have to change the board itself to add LLC). I've never heard of a board that was advertised and an "Overclocking" motherboard that didn't have LLC ( I own the MSI Z170A Gaming M5).

I researched this board before I bought it, that's the sad part. Literally all of the Youtube reviews and website reviews said it was a great board for overclocking. Apparently all those reviews were either bull**** or the guys doing the reviewing never went beyond using the overclocking software, either that or they are receiving kickbacks for doing a positive review.

I'm not giving up but I am getting a bit frustrated at this point. I don't think I lost the Silicon Lottery either as I have finally dug up some negative comments by users who have experienced the exact same problems with this motherboard.

After all, the 6600K has a reputation for being easy to overclock without using huge amounts of voltage to get things stable.



rbassett15 06-24-2017 08:22 PM

I have a stable overclock on my msi gaming m5 6600k at 4.7 ghz vcore at 1.272 never even adjusted it

DevBiker 10-06-2017 07:01 PM

"Stability" is a relative thing and a matter of how you define it. As snapper69 pointed out, Prime95 is absolutely brutal on Skylake (and Kaby Lake) CPUs because of how it uses AVX. It's also not a good measure of "stability" unless you are, well, only using Prime95.
Instead, consider what they meanest, baddest thing is that YOU do to your CPU and test for stability accordingly. For me, that's hours on end of video encoding, which I do pretty frequently. For my stability testing, I use ROG RealBench (which includes x264 testing) rather than just the x264 test because RealBench also stresses the GPU, adding heat to the system and really letting me know if I have my system's cooling dialed in decently. My 7700K is overclocked to 5.1 Ghz and fails Prime (also) but passes RealBench over 8 hours ... so I'm happy. It's also rock solid during extended gaming sessions. Since I'm on KBL/z270, I could probably put in the AVX offset if I cared to tweak it ... but I don't.
Finally, take a look at Not only are there tips, but you can see a list of overclocks that worked for others and some details on their settings. Interestingly enough, some of the MSI's have LLC in the comments although, personally, I don't recall seeing that when I had a z170 Gaming M5. (Not that it means much!) You will note that there are a bunch of Asus boards on that list (which is one thing that influenced my upgrade to an Asus Maximus IX).

Laz322 08-15-2018 02:55 PM


Sorry for the belated reply (two years later, ha! 🤪). I've been on a stable 4.2ghz for the past two years and I've just gotten the itch to do some overclocking again. I really want to see if I can reach 4.5ghz, or a the very least, a stable 4.4ghz, thing is, I'm already at 1.32v for my 4.2ghz overclock.

Is there anything I could show you from my system that would help you to help me to get my 6600K running a bit faster?

Thanks man,


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