After Alder Lake’s AVX-512 purge, Intel has decided to do the same with the BLCK overclocking capability of the 13th Gen non-K SKUs. Certain motherboards, such as the MSI B660M Mortar Max and ASUS ROG Strix B660, came with an external clock generator. This allowed BLCK overclocking on the Core i5-12400, i7-12700, and other non-K chips with a locked multiplier.
The effective frequency is the product of the BCLK (usually 100MHz) and the multiplier (ranges between 40-50). On K-series CPUs, enthusiasts increase the multiplier to push the cores well over their spec clocks. The cheaper non-K chips come with locked multipliers, preventing the same. Certain users found a way to circumvent it on non-K Alder Lake parts using specific B660 series boards, incurring Intel’s wrath.
Tom’s Hardware verified this using a Core i7-12700 and the i7-13700 on the MSI B660M Mortar Max. On the former, the option to enable BLCK overclocking is still available. Unfortunately, switching to the newer Raptor Lake chip doesn’t produce the same result.
According to TH’s sources, Intel provided its board partners with pre-release microcode during the development cycle to ease the transition to a hybrid core design. Knowingly or unknowingly, this code allowed the manipulation of the BCLK of these processors. Of course, this was patched with the retail versions of the microcode, but OEMs held onto them, releasing them on dual-BIOS boards.
The result was that the higher-end variants of the B660 motherboards supported BLCK overclocked across most vendors. With Raptor Lake, Intel didn’t provide OEMs pre-release microcode with unlocked BCLKs, thereby blocking the feature. The existing micro-code from the Alder Lake launch doesn’t work with Raptor.
After disabling the SA voltage on B-series boards, Intel has essentially killed overclocking on the non-K SKUs. Even though the chipmaker has a capable lineup, the release of AMD’s Ryzen 7000 V-Cache and non-X CPUs may turn things around.
The primary complaint against the AM5 platform is pricey “budget” motherboards. However, industry reports claim that board partners are working on a solution. We should soon see PCIe Gen 4-based designs that are much more affordable than existing products.