SkatterBencher #23: Intel Core i5-11600K Overclocked to 5100 MHz

We overclock the Intel Core i5-11600K processor up to 5.1 GHz with the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero motherboard and EK water cooling.

The Intel Core i5-11600K is the little brother of the overclockable Rocket Lake K-sku CPUs. It is the successor of the i5-10600K which we overclocked once before to 5.2 GHz, also with a Maximus Hero motherboard.

The Core i5-11600K offers 6 cores and 12 threads with a listed base frequency of 3.9 GHz and a listed boost frequency up to 4.9 GHz. It is rated at 125W TDP and should retail at an MSRP of $310.

The ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero is the successor to the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Hero motherboard we featured in a previous overclocking video. It is the entry level offer in the ASUS ROG line up and offers plenty of overclocking features such as 14+2 power stages, the ROG water-cooling zone, a debug code display, as well as AI overclocking and memtest86 integrated in the BIOS.

In this video we will cover the basic overclocking steps to get your CPU all the way to 5.1 GHz using custom loop water cooling.

We will dig into four overclocking strategies.

  1. First, we will unlock all the power limits and enable XMP
  2. Second, we will use the package temperature threshold AI feature to push the CPU frequency up.
  3. Third, we will allow the motherboard to do its thing and overclock using AI overclocking.
  4. Lastly, we’ll do some manual overclocking.

Before we jump into the overclocking, let’s talk a little bit more about Rocket Lake and the hardware we’ll be using in this guide.

Intel Rocket Lake

Intel’s 11th generation Core products for desktop, codenamed Rocket Lake, were officially introduced by Intel during the CES 2021 tradeshow in January and arrived to the market in March 2021.

Rocket Lake is the successor to Intel’s 10th generation Comet Lake processors. Rocket Lake sports a brand new CPU core architecture while still on the vastly improved 14nm process node. The CPU core is built upon the Cypress Cove architecture which is the backported version of Sunny Cove, a core designed for 10nm Ice Lake, with some additional performance improvements.

Due to the increased core size, the flagship Core i9-11900K offers up to 8 cores and 16 threads compared to its Core i9-10900K predecessor’s 10 cores and 20 threads. The Core i5 offer is still 6 cores and 12 threads. Rocket Lake CPUs do gain support for deep learning boost and AVX-512 instructions, a new and improved cache hierarchy, and up to 19% instructions per clock improvement.

Other new features include slightly elevated default memory support up to DDR4-3200, 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes from the CPU, doubled bandwidth of the DMI link, and moving the integrated graphics to the new Xe graphics architecture.

The Turbo Boost frequencies of the flagship processor are identical to the 10900K. So, we’ll see a base frequency of 3.5GHz, an all-core turbo of 4.8GHz, and a maximum thermal velocity boost frequency of 5.3GHz.

Compared to the 10600K, the 11600K has a 200MHz lower base frequency of 3.9GHz while offering a 100MHz higher maximum boost frequency of 4.9 GHz. For the i5-11600K processor, the long-term TDP is still 125W while the CPU can boost to 180W temporarily if sufficient turbo budget is available.

Rocket Lake will work on both 500 series and 400 series motherboards, though not on B460 or H410. Obviously that means Rocket Lake fits in the LGA1200 socket.

Intel Core i5-11600K: Platform Overview

Along with the Intel Core i5-11600K processor and ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero motherboard, in this guide we will be using an NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti, a pair of G.SKILL Trident Z DDR4-4266 memory sticks, a Seasonic Prime 850W Platinum power supply, and of course EK-Quantum water cooling.

All this is mounted on top of our favorite Open Benchtable.

The cost of the components should be around $3,290

  • Core i5-11600K: $310
  • EK-Quantum water cooling: $400 + $200
  • ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero: $500
  • NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti: $1300
  • G.SKILL Trident Z DDR4-4266: $180
  • Seasonic Prime 850W: $200
  • Open Benchtable: $200

With all this in mind, let’s jump into the benchmarks and overclocking.

Benchmarking Software

Here’s a list of the benchmarks and used in this guide

Intel Core i5-11600K: Stock Performance

Before we get started with pushing the performance of the Intel Core i5-11600K processor, let’s first take a look at the scoring at stock settings.

Note that by default the Maximus XIII Hero has Turbo Boost 2.0 limits unlocked, so in order to see the performance at stock settings you will have to go into the BIOS

  • Go to the Extreme Tweaker menu
  • Set ASUS MultiCore Enhancement to Disabled – Enforce All Limits

Here’s the performance at stock:

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX enabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at 4 GHz with 1.124 volt. The average CPU temperature is 59 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 35 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 25 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 127 watt.

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX disabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at 4.4 GHz with 1.175 volt. The average CPU temperature is 53 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 35 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 26 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 127 watt.

Now, let’s try our first overclocking strategy.

However, before we get started make sure to locate the CMOS clear button on your motherboard. In case your system failed to boot up after you configured your settings, pressing this button will reset the bios and you’ll be able to boot up safely.

Strategy #1: Unlocked the Power Limits & XMP

Any aspiring overclocker should be aware of the Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 technology. Turbo Boost 2.0 enables higher CPU performance in situations where there is sufficient current, power, and temperature headroom.

The long story short is that Turbo Boost 2.0 allows the processor to operate at increased power consumption temporarily above the TDP rating to achieve higher performance. It manages this by accumulating “energy budget” during periods of idle time that can be deployed when necessary during periods of high load.

We discussed the Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology at length in a previous video titled “Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 & Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Explored”. While we use a different CPU, the Turbo Boost principles explained in that video also apply to our configuration.

By unlocking all the power limits, we effectively tell the CPU to run at the highest possible turbo boost settings all the time.

As we mentioned before, on the Maximus XIII Hero the power limits are unlocked by default. So all we need to do is load the optimized defaults and the power limits are unlocked.

We also enable XMP.

XMP stands for Extreme Memory Profile. It allows memory vendors such as Gskill to program higher performance settings onto the memory sticks. If the motherboard supports XMP, then you can enable the higher performance with a single BIOS setting. So it saves you from lots of manual configuration.

We discussed the Intel XMP Technology at length in a previous video titled “Intel Extreme Memory Profile Explained”. Check it out if you want additional information.

Upon entering the BIOS

  • Go to the Extreme Tweaker menu
  • Set AI Overclock Tuner to XMP I
  • Set ASUS MultiCore Enhancement to Enabled – Remove All Limits

Then save and exit the BIOS.

We re-ran the benchmarks and checked the performance increase compared to default operation.

As expected, the performance uplift is most notable in multi-threaded benchmark applications which would typically be heavily constraint by the default power limits.

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX enabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at 4.6 GHz with 1.301 volt. The average CPU temperature is 79 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 40 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 25 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 216 watt.

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX disabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at 4.6 GHz with 1.227 volt. The average CPU temperature is 57 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 35 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 28 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 150 watt.

Anyway, let’s do manual overclocking.

Before you get started, make sure to identify the clear CMOS button on the IO panel. In case your system doesn’t boot up after trying overclocked settings, you can press this button to start from scratch.

Strategy #2: Package Temperature Threshold

Our second overclocking strategy utilizes the Package Temperature Threshold feature.

The package temperature threshold is one of the AI features included with most ASUS motherboards. This feature allows the user to target a specific maximum package temperature and will automatically increase the performance until it reaches this temperature. If the CPU package temperature goes over this threshold it will automatically reduce the frequency. This is a dynamic process that will continue to update the CPU frequency throughout your usage. We also used this feature during our i9-10900K overclocking test with Cryo cooling.

As ASUS has unlocked the turbo boost power limits by default on the Z590 motherboard, there may be an increased concern for overheating. By default, ASUS has also enabled the package temperature threshold and set it to 90C.

With custom loop water cooling we obviously should have more headroom than any other type of ambient cooling. Hence, we can increase the CPU frequency to 5000 MHz for all cores. That’s 100 MHz higher than the maximum single core boost frequency of 4.9 GHz, and 400 MHz higher than the maximum all core boost frequency of 4.6 GHz.

Upon entering the BIOS

  • Go to the Extreme Tweaker menu
  • Set AI Overclock Tuner to XMP I
  • Set ASUS MultiCore Enhancement to Enabled – Remove All Limits
  • Set CPU Core Ratio to Sync All Cores
  • Set ALL-Core Ratio Limit to 50
  • Enter the AI Features sub-menu
    • Set Package Temperature Threshold to 90
    • Set Regulate Frequency by above Threshold to Enabled
  • Leave the AI Features sub-menu
  • Enable Ring Down Bin
  • Go to the Advanced menu
  • Enter the CPU Configuration sub-menu
    • Enter the CPU – Power Management Control sub-menu
      • Set CPU C-states to enabled

Then save and exit the BIOS.

We re-ran the benchmarks and checked the performance increase compared to stock operation.

As expected, the performance rises in both lightly and heavily threaded workloads.

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX enabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at an average of 4723 MHz with 1.366 volt. The average CPU temperature is 89 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 44 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 26 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 243 watt.

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX disabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at 5 GHz with 1.442 volt. The average CPU temperature is 79 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 45 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 26 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 248 watt.

Strategy #3: AI Overclocking

Our third overclocking strategy utilizes the ASUS AI Overclocking feature.

ASUS AI Overclocking is a novel approach to automatic overclocking. Rather than the engineers programming a couple of fixed overclock settings as options in the BIOS, AI overclocking attempts to work out the best overclock settings on its own. It does this by evaluating the quality of your processor and your cooling solution. Based on this evaluation, the proprietary algorithm will adjust the CPU frequency and voltages.

The process of enabling AI overclocking is very simple. First, boot up the system with default settings into the operating system. Then, run a couple of heavy workload benchmarks like Cinebench, Realbench, or Prime95. After about 30 minutes the system will have collected sufficient data on your cooler and CPU. Then, return to the BIOS and simply enable AI overclocking. That’s it!

In our case, AI overclocking set the single core OC to 5 GHz and the all-core OC to 4.7 GHz. So, a 100 MHz bump from default maximum boost frequencies.

Upon entering the BIOS

  • Go to the Extreme Tweaker menu
  • Set AI Overclock Tuner to XMP I
  • Set ASUS MultiCore Enhancement to Enabled – Remove All Limits
  • Set CPU Core Ratio to AI Optimized

Then save and exit the BIOS.

We re-ran the benchmarks and checked the performance increase compared to stock operation.

As you can see, the performance increases across the board. However, in all-core multi-threaded applications we find the performance to be lower than our second strategy with package temperature threshold due to the lower frequency.

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX enabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at 4.7GHz with 1.351 volt. The average CPU temperature is 89 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 43 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 25 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 241 watt.

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX disabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at 4.7 GHz with 1.286 volt. The average CPU temperature is 62 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 39 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 27 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 170 watt.

Strategy #4: Manual Overclocking

In our last overclocking strategy we attempt to build on top of what we learned so far and maximize the performance.

While that may sound as simple as just increase the CPU ratio from 50X by one to 51x, it turned out to be a little more complicated than expected. In the end, we were only able to increase the frequency to 5.1 GHz for our two best cores and leave the other cores to 5.0 GHz. We used Rocket Lake’s brand new Specific Core Ratio Limit feature to ensure that 5.1 GHz is only applied to those best two cores.

We also enable XMP.

We use the CPU package threshold feature to target a maximum temperature of 90 degrees centigrade. While our CPU is configured to run 5 GHz when all cores are active, this feature will ensure that the frequency is automatically reduced if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees. For example, when running a very heavy workload.

Since we know that pushing the Ring frequency can be quite tricky on Rocket Lake CPUs, we enable the Ring Down bin feature. This allows the CPU to automatically reduce the ring frequency if necessary to ensure stability.

Upon entering the BIOS

  • Go to the Extreme Tweaker menu
  • Set AI Overclock Tuner to XMP I
  • Set ASUS MultiCore Enhancement to Enabled – Remove All Limits
  • Set CPU Core Ratio to By Core Usage
    • Set 1-Core Ratio Limit to 51
    • Set 2-Core Ratio Limit to 51
    • Set 3-Core Ratio Limit to 50
    • Set 4-Core Ratio Limit to 50
    • Set 5-Core Ratio Limit to 50
    • Set 6-Core Ratio Limit to 50
  • Enter the Specific Core sub-menu
    • Set Core0 Specific Ratio Limit to 51
    • Set Core1 Specific Ratio Limit to 51
    • Set Core2 Specific Ratio Limit to 50
    • Set Core3 Specific Ratio Limit to 50
    • Set Core4 Specific Ratio Limit to 50
    • Set Core5 Specific Ratio Limit to 50
  • Leave the Specific Core sub-menu
  • Enter the DIGI+ VRM sub-menu
    • Set CPU Load-line Calibration to Level 7
  • Leave the DIGI+ VRM sub-menu
  • Enter the AI Features sub-menu
    • Set Package Temperature Threshold to 90
    • Set Regulate Frequency by above Threshold to Enabled
  • Leave the AI Features sub-menu
  • Set Ring Down Bin to Enabled
  • Set CPU Core/Cache Voltage to Adaptive Mode
  • Set Additional Turbo Mode CPU Core Voltage to 1.525

Then save and exit the BIOS.

We re-ran the benchmarks and checked the performance increase compared to stock operation.

As you can see, in the majority of the benchmarks we reach our best performance results.

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX enabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at 4.6GHz with 1.354 volt. The average CPU temperature is 89 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 52 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 29 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 218 watt.

When running Prime 95 Small FFT with AVX disabled, the Core i5-11600K operates stably at 5 GHz with 1.458 volt. The average CPU temperature is 85 degrees centigrade, the average VRM temperature is 56 degrees centigrade, and the average water temperature is 30 degrees centigrade. The average CPU package power is 246 watt.

Intel Core i5-11600K: Conclusion

Overall I enjoyed overclocking the Core i5-11600K processor quite a lot. Rocket Lake is different enough from Comet Lake that the overclocking process is similar but not just copy-paste. We can push the single core maximum stable frequency to 5.1 GHz, up from 4.9 GHz, and all core maximum stable frequency to 5 GHz, up from 4.6 GHz.

The limiting factor of the 11600K and, seemingly a lot of Rocket Lake, processors is the temperature and voltage. Running Prime 95 Small FFTs with AVX at 4.7 GHz requires 1.37v. This voltage causes us to see 89 degrees centigrade and nearly 250 watt power consumption under load. That’s significantly more than what we saw with the i5-10600K. Great cooling will therefore be a good asset to have when overclocking.

Using the package temperature threshold feature is definitely something I will integrate in my future overclocks with Asus systems as it helped me reach elevated performance with minimal work. Combining this feature with automatically enabling the power limits is something I approve of. Even if you have a poor cooling solution, the threshold will ensure no overheating.

1 Comment

  1. Aram

    Hi, informative as always. Thanks for the videos and the text variant on the site. With your help, I’ve overclocked 11600kf to 5.1 all core no AVX offset, 43 cache and 4600mhz cl18 ram. It required 1.65 volts. 80-90 degrees under load. Since I ran 8700k 5.4 allcore at 1.625 volts for 3 years that amount of voltage is not frightening me. I will push 11600kf further in order to get 5.2 allcore after delidding. The question is, are those overclock speeds good for 11600kf, considering no avx offsets, or you think I am getting low numbers? And if those are good, do you think 11900k can give 5.2-5.3 allcore no avx offsets?

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