ASRock has released a statement concerning the new CometLake CPUs from Intel that will be good news for some users. The B460/H470 chipsets will be getting some support for overclocking with certain Intel CPUs via a microcode change. This will even allow users to apply some overclocking to locked CPUs on any non-Z compatible motherboard.
Intel has long used the K naming scheme to denote chips that have their overclocking locked via built-in protections. And much like the older binning of CPUs that could potentially allow BIOS hacks to unlock cores, it’s seemingly possible to push the silicon to new heights thanks to some planned patches at the mobo level.
ASRock’s solution to this problem applies to any non-Z 490 motherboards and will use a feature they’re developing called Base Frequency Boost (BFB). Intel’s 10th Generation Comet Lake processors are a pretty nasty beast, but unlocking additional power can do a great job for PC gamers of making them a better buy option.
Intel has yet to respond to this announcement, but users are curious how they will eventually do so. Intel could eventually disable this ASRock feature with another microcode update, prompting a feature war of sorts where ASRock and other companies try to outplay Intel. This, of course, assumes that Intel doesn’t build hardware mitigation into their chips for this development.
BFB overclocking is a bit of a mystery right now, with ASRock and Intel remaining pretty hush on the whole thing. Videocardz published a picture of one MAXSUN B460 motherboard a few days ago, which features some unique buttons that could have to do with the new overclocking system that’s built into the boards. This button could be part of triggering an increase in power being delivered to the CPU, which when combined with the correct microcode essentially overvolts the hardware to a higher base clock.
ASRock provided an example of BFB overclocking that raised the TDP of a 65W Comet Lake model to equal that of a 125W variant. This higher TDP could result in a rather powerful jump in performance as it opens up the potential of the platform. Giving a non-K Comet Lake processor a better base clock speed would help its performance, although thermals and stability will remain a concern.
According to the company, BFB overclocking will not produce the same level of uplift performance on all Comet Lake processors. Internal documents suggest an average lift in performance of anywhere from 800 MHz to 1,100 MHz.