YouTube-based enthusiast overclocker Der8auer has recently discovered that some Asus Z690 motherboards can actually overclock the supposedly non-K Core i5 12400. Are we back to the old Skylake BCLK OC days once more? Team Blue interventions aside, there’s one obvious shiny caveat.
Indeed, Intel Might Just Change Everything
In the latest upload of PC tech (mostly overclocking) channel Der8auer, he showcased a rather curious discovery that the Asus ROG Maximum Z690 APEX seems to be showing additional BIOS menu options when slotting in a Core i5 12400 on it. Specifically, using the specific 0811 BIOS update, several options for BCLK frequency tweaking essentially allow the supposedly non-K CPU to be overclocked like an unlocked K SKU. Even better, the settings only affect the CPU itself, unlike older versions of BCLK OC that affects the entire system and other connected components.
As per Der8auer’s test sample (silicon lottery), he was able to overclock his Core i5 12400 to an all-core boost of 5.2 Ghz, an entire 1.2Ghz higher than its standard all-core boost of 4.0Ghz (4.4 single), which actually shows more or less the true physical limits of the underbinned dies. During benchmark tests, this was reflected mostly as a 30% average improvement on the performance of the base 12400. In some tests, it even exceeds the Ryzen 7 5800X, and more or less caught up with the Core i5 12600K, which is absolutely insane for something that currently retails for “only” 180 to 200 USD.
In gaming, where you would expect such a budget option to be generally used, it came up on par with most of its fellow unlocked K version brethren. In fact, on some games where CPU and GPU loads can get out of whack, like the lampooned Battlefield 2042, it managed to outpace even the 600 USD MSRP Core i9 12900K.
Power draw and temperature gains were a bit less impressive, or at least it’s the typical results you would expect from such a high OC value from Intel. As per Der8auers observation on a 24/7 stable operation it averaged with a peak of 90 degrees Celsius, and 135 watts. However, with fluctuating usage (gaming a few hours and some on idle), you can more or less expect a more acceptable average of 65 degrees Celsius.
The Shining Golden Elephant in the Room: Z690 Only (So far)
As you may have instantly realized with the opening statement, this particular trick has been at the moment only discovered so far with Z690 motherboards. Specifically, the Asus ROG Maximum Z690 Apex, and the ROG Maximus Z690 Hero. Der8auer also tried the 0811 BIOS BCLK OC trick Asus ROG Strix Z690-I Gaming WiFi, but the extra tweaking menus, unfortunately, did not pop up.
So, all in all, this discovery probably wouldn’t be as practical as it apparently seemed. Still, all the performance data shown was truly impressive and showed what the non-K SKUs were really capable of without their artificial limitations. If it can be replicated on cheaper motherboards, like the non-Z690 Asus TUF Gaming, or even the Prime lineups, then it would absolutely change the dynamic using these motherboard and CPU combinations for the foreseeable future.
… That is, at least until Intel decides to ultimately remove the feature on future boards to prevent the potential decrease in interest over their more “hotter” product SKUs. But hey, at least those we have now can potentially keep their 0811 BIOS version forever.