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  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I don't have a problem with it in motherboard reviews, but it should be turned off for processor reviews. As long as the board and processor can handle it, and RMAs are honored, more power to them for innovating. Reply
  • Tetracycloide - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I'm pretty sure the motherboard in use is held constant for CPUs i.e. either all the CPUs get it or none of them do depending on which board was used in the review. I guess you could make an argument for turning it off on intel CPUs to get a 'fair' comparison to AMD CPUs and that does make same sense, an Intel CPU could look better than a comparable AMD model just because of the MCE and if a consumer reads that result and buys the part but doesn't get an MCE board they won't enjoy the performance they thought they were getting (although I doubt they'd really notice the difference unless they were a person 2 anyway). Reply
  • poohbear - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    i overclock my 2500k, but i have the power saving features on so when its idling at desktop it drops down to 1600mhz (its overclocked to 4.4ghz). I think its a great way to conserve power and not overuse the CPU. There's no reason i'd need all 4 cores running @ 4.4ghz all the time, and if the BIOS allows the system to downclock to 1.6ghz when the cores are'nt being used, i think its fantastic! It works flawlessly from what i've seen, (i have E1 on and EIS on in the bios), so as an overclocker and gamer i enjoy having it. Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I think you're confusing what MCE is. MCE makes a processor that normally should do 39x/39x/38x/37x on 1/2/3/4 core load perform by default at 39x/39x/39x/39x. That means at full load, you get 200 MHz more on an i7-3770K. It's not specifically a feature for implementing top Turbo mode in OC'ed systems - for that you can adjust the per-core turbo modes individually.

    Ian
    Reply
  • Grebuloner - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I OC my 3930k (on the Sabertooth) to 4.2 GHz, and I think the MCE is great as even as an overclocker, I don't have to do anything really fancy to make sure that all 6 cores can run at that speed at the same time, it's an easy "set, test, and forget" situation. And like poohbear, leaving all the power saving features on let's it run at the intermediate frequencies (including the stock 3.2) when it's a lighter load.

    To a person who truly buys/builds a proper HTPC, I don't see how it is a power-wasting service, most will pick the slower processors with mild turbo or no turbo at all (i3).
    Reply
  • derickso - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I'm fairly certain if you are competent enough to build a computer from scratch you will go into the BIOS.. however this is the first I've heard of this 'feature' so I am guessing people may not know it exists even if they see it in the BIOS. Reply
  • Assimilator87 - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I work at Micro Center and I can assure you that a lot of my customers, probably a quarter, are competent enough to put a system together, but will blow it up if they touch the BIOS. Many of these people can't even manage to get drivers from the respective manufacturer websites.

    As far as MCE, when I first got my 3930K, I was wondering why it would run at 3.8Ghz all the time. I only recently found out about this feature.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I'm a heavy over clocker so it's not a direct concern to me.

    For general purpose benchmarking I lean towards testing with it enabled since most users are unlikely to fiddle with the setting.
    Reply
  • Lonyo - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Maybe it's because I haven't read any motherboard reviews recently (I bought my mobo in ~April or something), but I haven't seen mention of this in reviews.

    I think the main thing is to just seriously highlight that this MCE is enabled, maybe on page 1 AND the conclusion, so that there is no doubt that people are aware of it, and that may be why scores are higher.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    It is often covered in the BIOS section and the conclusions. All the recent ASUS and Gigabyte reviews have it mentioned, as they are the ones that have it, or in the latest ASRock review, as it did not.

    Ian
    Reply
  • nevertell - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I've been able to do that on the software side of things with a cheapo gigabyte motherboard (HA65M-UD3H-B3) with an i5-2400 and linux. I am able to set the max turbo clock by just selecting the speed on my cpu governonr applet.

    As for the HTPC people, they don't really need an i5, as an i3 will deliver better power efficiency and all the decode hardware it would need for years to come. The i5 is only good for an htpc, if you have to transcode from time to time in peculiar formats that don't have an AVX aware transcoder, yet.
    Reply
  • ifrit39 - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I use MCE on an Asus p8z77-m pro. I am constantly tweaking my system because I love to be energy efficient while still getting decent framerates. I use the Asus provided software to downclock/undervolt or overclock if I need to but keep it no higher than stock voltage at 4Ghz (3570k).

    To be truthful, I haven't really noticed the difference between MCE on and off, even on cpu limited games. I've tested with a kill-a-watt and know it doesn't affect power consumption by more than a few watts loaded (again - with reasonable voltage), so I have it on for the day I need to unzip huge files. I don't think anyone except for power users such as AT readers really care about it.

    If its on by default, then I would expect nothing less than an honored warranty from the mobo manufacturer, but I agree that the default MCE clocks are well within limits of the silicon.
    Reply
  • jokeyrhyme - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    If different motherboards all use the same chipset, then the performance is likely to be very similar for a given CPU.

    I think motherboard manufacturers are incentivised to make these little tweaks by reviewers that pit them against each other in performance tests.

    I do appreciate tests that highlight serious regressions and problems.

    In the absence of obvious issues, however, CPU performance is not the primary purchasing factor when I am selecting a motherboard. I more highly value component / port layout, power efficiency and the portion of Intel's feature-set that is exposed or augmented.

    I realise that Anandtech similarly avoid making recommendations on performance alone, but performance comparisons are more useful between chipsets, not between motherboards.
    Reply
  • MartinT - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    +1 Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    "CPU performance is not the primary purchasing factor when I am selecting a motherboard."

    However, now it might be - if the processor is run at stock (which most people will). I know a lot of people in the comments customize the system, but in the wider world 'stock' is the most common setting. If 'stock' on one board with the same processor as another board means more performance, then that equates into either a pro or a con in the buying decision.

    If motherboard reviewers are reviewing such that motherboard manufacturers have to innovate, then hopefully it forms a positive feedback loop. If one manufacturer gets a jump during one chipset with a tweak, most of them usually follow in the next.

    Ian
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I agree with this.

    I purchase motherboards based on price, overclock abilities, non-chipset features (additional USB3/SATA3 ports, Wifi/Bluetooth), PCIe lanes and slot configuration, firmware stability and lastly addition software. Of course I research all the reviews once I have distilled a list of motherboards I might purchase based on the aforementioned criteria. If I found an issue with USB transfers or gaming performance etc. that is inexplicable and repeatable, I will not buy it. CPU performance is not on that list.
    Reply
  • jibberegg - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    I think it seems either good or neutral for most people. The only people I can see it not being beneficial for are the low power crowd who don't know about clocking options. Surely a small segment? Reply
  • EnzoFX - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Sure it is, even if not so much relatively. However, this isn't all or nothing. I'm sure there will be products that cater to those extreme green users, and even more as the niche matures. Reply
  • boogerlad - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    With it on, it invalidates all benchmarks from an efficiency point of view. The same with turbo, when doing clock for clock comparisons. Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    How many people buy a motherboard for efficiency though? Isn't the reviewer meant to review the product as it comes out of the box, and attempt to make the board the limiting factor in all testing? This is a setting made by certain manufacturers, which ultimately differentiate their products from others while at stock. Efficiency is not really the end goal - the final result is the end goal. In my opinion at least. If one product is efficient but doesn't perform well, is it better than a strong product that isn't as efficient that performs better? Depends on the end user ultimately in what they want from a product.

    Ian
    Reply
  • law99 - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    I'm defending your decision and your point. Stock is the only fair way to do it... and for you that should be stock out the box.

    The manufacturer has to live with the decision it made, not the reviewer. You shouldn't have to compensate for the way they want average Joe to perceive their product.

    And I probably should clear up what I meant above; a lower clocked processor of the same family will complete the task slower than the performance model. Meaning that as long as the idle consumption on the higher performance part is the same or similar, overall consumption can murky the waters with a performance part consuming less over all due to finishing faster.

    Why should that matter for mobo designers though? Like you say, it can inflate certain performance figures, but as stock options should create an entirely differnet level playing field. One where those ratings become more interesting.

    The only people I can really see having a say in the end are AMD and Intel through compliancy. In the meantime I'd commend you for keeping things level the only way that is fair, with the least effort required by me to match it.
    Reply
  • law99 - Wednesday, September 05, 2012 - link

    I may need a little more elaboration on your point here but, time and time again, we see that low power alternatives consume less power over longer periods, thereby consuming more than their high powered counterparts.

    If this is true, we can take it to mean that if anything power vs performance graphs just got more interesting.

    The only time I can see that this may be of negative impact to such a metric would be if video playback is involved and the mobo is constantly jumping between a low base and inflated top clock.

    In which case, as these mobos and their respective makers purposely implemented these features, if anything, the results will further help you to seperate the wheet from the chaff at a low power point.
    Reply
  • jtd871 - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    Ian, thanks for asking for the feedback.

    I do wonder about the effect on the effective lifespan of the CPU under MCE vs. a "stock settings" approach. It may be too early to tell how robust the various flavors of Ivy Bridge are.

    I'm also of the school that thinks that overclocking for overclocking's sake is a bit of a waste, since most of the high-end processors are ridiculously powerful for the vast majority of consumers' needs at their stock performance, and that one downside of enabling MCE as a default is that inexperienced users may push beyond the safe limits of stock cooling solutions, and wonder why they can't get the processor to run at the higher clocks.

    I think that as long as the vendors educate the users about the presence of MCE on their machine, discusses the advantages, disadvantages and provide simple and effective software to enable/disable it through the OS that won't let you brick your machine, then the user can make the choice of whether to disable it or not.

    j
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Making MCE go beyond cooling will depend if manufacturers want to push the limits of MCE-plus, i.e. go one turbo bin above stock settings, or maybe even two or three. I have a feeling that manufacturers test internally with the Intel stock cooler to ensure compatibility, but in the future you may see a board bundled with a CPU cooler for this very purpose. Perhaps.

    Don't forget that once a user tries to overclock, whether a board has MCE or not is no longer an issue. If the user is overclocking, then it's up to the user to provide sufficient cooling. I'm a competitive overclocker, so I enjoy overclocking for overclocking sake - my gaming PC is overclocked and has an All-In-One liquid cooler, but my home system is at stock and MCE makes me run just a tad faster in unzipping files, encoding video et al.

    Ian
    Reply
  • Rjak - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - link

    The MSI Z77A GD65 does have MCE, it's just disabled by default.

    In the BIOS it's called "Enhanced Turbo", and I have it enabled - it's the only overclocking feature I currently have enabled on that system (the RAM I have at 2133, but it's rated for that).

    A faster computer is nice, but for what I'm doing the overall system performance isn't improved enough to justify an overclock that will add 10-15 degrees or so.
    Reply
  • frogger4 - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    [long time reader, first time commenting]
    Given that MCE is a feature in the motherboards, and given that the purpose of a motherboard review is to consider its features (especially against boards lacking a feature), I think it makes sense to do the reviews with MCE enabled (or however the board comes stock).
    Although it doesn't affect me (990X @ 4.3GHz) of course, it seems like a very sensible thing for the motherboard manufactures to do. It is literally free performance - no reason to complain there. And, since the reviews take into consideration power use, the extra power consumption will not go without proper consideration.
    Reply
  • Streetwind - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I think this development is largely a result of the increasing difficulty mainboard manufacturers face when it comes to differentiating their products.

    Back in the day, chipsets were a big deal that housed many important system components, and they were manufactured by several third party companies. Nowadays, Intel supplies the chipsets more or less exclusively, and the CPUs cannibalize them for functionality more and more with every generation. What kind of motherboard you use has never been so completely and utterly unimportant for your computer's performance as it is today.

    Look at ASUS: The entry-level $130 P8Z77-M mATX, the top of the line $280 P8Z77-V DELUXE ATX, and the specialty-built $200 P8Z77-I Deluxe mini-ITX boards. They have the exact same chipset, the exact same feature set, they even literally have the same firmware. Think 10 years back - if someone had told you that you'd have the option to clock a CPU to the limit of your cooling solution and configure the most obscure memory subtimings on a company's cheapest possible offering on the market, you'd have laughed in disbelief. The only thing the more expensive boards offer is more auxillary components, like double WLAN antennas and dozens of extra USB 3.0 and SATA ports that 95% of all people will never touch, and fancy-looking passive coolers that are even more superfluous.

    Add to that the rapid expansion of the internet and the ever-growing importance of independent reviews in the eyes of the customer. The manufacturers want and must be ahead in the graphs, even if it's by a metric that doesn't matter. Fewer people will want to buy a product that is at the bottom of the chart, and explaining that "we are simply keeping within Intel's specifications" is irrelevant. Few enough people even read the text accompanying the charts, and even less truly understand and remember it. And likewise, tons of superficial reviews don't even mention these details. I mean, that's why we come to Anandtech, no? You don't get quality reviews and a quality readerbase at once just anywhere, after all! ;)

    Ironically, those people that are liable to read reviews are those that benefit least from MCE - namely those people who will go and tweak their settings anyway, even if they are not true enthusiasts. As such, I would consider this feature merely marketing shenanigans and customer misdirection... were it not for the fact that having the choice whether to stagger your turbo bins or keep them all at the same level is in fact a choice that I like having.
    Reply
  • Malih - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Probably Intel should have a standard on how this MultiCore Enhancement should be done, instead of letting each manufacturers doing it differently, especially on ITX systems, they should be turned off by default, but with the ability to toggle it on the EFI/BIOS. Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately, Intel can specify what they like. They already specify the Turbo bins. If the motherboard manufacturer wants to produce out of spec, then that's up to them and they are free to do it.

    Ian
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    It makes me wonder if Intel will look into moving the turbo control CPU-side, much like how they have multipliers defined in the CPU now. Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Put me in the crowd which are squarely against it.

    Not only because it technically pushes the hardware out of spec by default, but also because I don't like the idea of motherboard makers deciding what's best for me.

    On top of that I'm the kind of person who undervolts rather than overclocks. Sure, as long as you can turn this off at the BIOS level it's not too painful to handle but I'm struggling to see the upside in the first place.

    Then again I never agreed with the slight FSB overclocks many manufacturers like to use either.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Technically most processors are well inside their limits to begin with. Intel has no reason to push the silicon because there's no competition - there have been tests online with 50 i7-3770K processors from different batches and each one overclocked to at least 4.6 GHz on air without issue. As shown in my original overclocking article, at stock volts these processors can get an additional 500 MHz without stressing the system.

    The upside of MCE is that little bit of extra performance when you're stressing the system. Video editing, unzipping - at the end of the day it means the computationally heavy process is a few seconds faster each time, in exchange for a few extra watts at the meter.

    MCE-plus is where a manufacturer truly takes it out of specifications, but as long as they've done their homework, and provide a feature to disable it, then we get the best of both worlds, surely.

    Motherboard manufacturers have a hard time distinguishing themselves - this is just another feature in their arsenal, but actually one that can directly affect everyone, rather than having 40 phases or a 12-layer PCB.

    Ian
    Reply
  • Exodite - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Sure, I'm not implying that stuff will blow up in the users face due to it - that wouldn't really be in the motherboard makers best interests. :)

    It's just ever so slightly dishonest, and /technically/ out of spec.

    My 2600K happily does 4.2GHz on stock voltage (load 1.25) but when I can run it at stock clocks on 1.15 and idle at 0.9 I'll take that.

    In the end it won't matter much for anyone that doesn't use the stock BIOS options in the first place, I just feel that stock options shouldn't pull the hardware out of spec.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Do all of the MCE implementations keep the CPU at stock voltage then? MCE-Plus does overclocking and overvolting? Reply
  • Astennu - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I feld the need to commend on this one so i made a account.
    I think MCE is unfair. Just as slight FSB overclocks in the past are unfair. They Mask how good motherboards really are and make it harder to compare different boards and different CPU's.

    You could opt to just disable turbo to make things fair again. But then you have the problem that Intel cpu's have a disatvantage when tested vs AMD cpu's.

    In my option MCE is a overclock. I personally dont mind because i run all the cores of my 3770K on 4600 anyway. But in this case they are going past the specifications for the product. Intel does not have 3900 MHz for 4 cores in the specs so its overclocking. And it sould not be tested like this.

    It would be unfair to test a Intel cpu with MCE vs a AMD system. Or bv a non MCE system. Of its possible MCE should be disabled in reviews. And tests should be done with regular turbo.

    But this is my Opinion
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Most users do not touch the BIOS, so if I disable MCE, it would be under-representing the performance of the product, surely? Motherboard manufacturers for a long time have been able to be aggressive with many settings - switching frequencies, memory subtimings et al. This is just another setting in the BIOS they have decided to change, except it can affect users in a positive way. The processors are not on the verge of dying when you buy them - they are conservatively clocked and easily go beyond their specifications. In our motherboard testing, we're specifically testing the motherboard and the settings the manufacturer has chosen to sell with the board, rather than the CPU.

    Ian
    Reply
  • Fx1 - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    What kind of Faggot doesnt overclock his CPU anyway? i have never seen one die due to overclocking. Who cares about RMA? Void warranty? pshhh Its all scare tactics. Standard clocks are way to conservative anyway. Intel should be pushing the envelope. Everyone with a K processor is running 4-4.5ghz 24/7 anyway. Reply
  • Streetwind - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Congratulations. This is possibly the worst comment I've ever read on Anandtech. Reply
  • cjb110 - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I think it should be set to off in any comparative benchmarks. What has the motherboard done to be at the top? apart from forcing the processor faster, so its akin to using different speed processors in your test-bed...which is an obvious no-no.

    You've also lost a 'test', as your no longer testing how well the motherboard switches the processor speed. There's been case in the past where people turned on energy saving, and the mobo ignored it!

    A lot of the time you do the 'highest' overclock test, that tells everybody how good the mobo is at coping with faster than default speeds.

    And as a side point, Intel put the work in to balance speed and power consumption, this is the right thing given the dwindling energy supplies. So this should be considered an option for the selfish, and not something recommend!
    Reply
  • Senti - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    MCE as well as Turbo Boost are completely useless for me as I'm "class 2" person and always run all my CPUs at stable top speed (with energy saving features all preserved). Running modern CPUs on official or even Turbo Boost speeds is such a waste...

    On the other hand, if MCE doesn't damage energy saving features (primary, C-states, not the almost useless on desktop clock changes) as it was for example with my i7-930 that many motherboards can run in permanent turbo (not the very top bin of it though) but that effectively disables disables most (all?) energy saving – I have nothing against MCE and even MCE-plus that are still way below of what CPUs are capable of.
    Reply
  • CaedenV - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I have an i7 2600 (nonK) in a video editing build that I have. I origonally was not planning on doing an overclock, but I ended up playing with it a little eventuially and was very happy with the result.
    All that I did was bump the max multiplier up to x42 (which is the max allowed on a locked CPU), and then bumped the BLCK up to 103, and then I extended the 'up time' of the turbo a little. I then added a 212 Evo cooler (with 2nd fan), and I love the way it all behaves. At idle and light loads the CPU goes down to 1.6GHz, saving me power and noise. Under heavy single core usage it maxes out at 4.3GHz. Under heavy 8 thread usage it hangs out around 3.8-4.1GHz.. To be honest that is all the speed I need, and in day-to-day usage I feel no difference between having done it or not, but when editing it definitely takes a few minutes off long renders, which makes me quite happy.

    The problem is that it is not nicely benchmarkable. My system is in a nice cold basement, and I have a breathy case with a bunch of fans (though upgrading to a better case in a few days). I took my computer to an office to edit footage on location and the AC was weak and I was not getting anywhere near 4GHz under load (3.4 I think it was). And even in the basement under load it does not sit at a constant speed. It is variable by nature, and even running the same benchmark several times in a row can have very different results because the speed is temperature driven. Lastly, becuase the locked CPUs are binned lower, there is simply no guarantee that every chip can make it to 4GHz. You get what you pay for... and if you happen to get lucky and get one that can run above stock then it is just that; you got lucky.

    I think for reviews we are more in core workload efficiency (how fast does CPU X chew through load Y at ZGHz), core efficiency (hot hot does CPU X get under load Y), and an educated guess at how fast an 'average chip' can go. For example, almost all high end chips can hit 4GHz (though not all), at 4.2GHz there is some fall-off, at 4.5GHz there is a bunch of fall-off, and then very few can get above 4.8GHz, with 5GHz being nearly impossible to reach. So reviewing chips at 4-4.2GHz would be acceptable, but then cranking it up to as fast as your manufacturer's 'hand picked' sample can go, would be false advertising as it is likely a step above the average retail product.

    When it comes to a review we want/need to know how a CPU behaves at a given frequency so that we can make proper reccomendations to others, and have reliable data to work from. Having so many variables muddies the data, and makes decisions harder to make.
    Reply
  • Termie - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I have a Maximus V Gene and 3770k - I bought the board knowing that it would have a 39x multiplier, based on the reviews I had read. In fact, I don't even think I needed to enable XMP to do so,

    In my opinion, this is just "motherboard overclocking", and it's a feature we accept in video cards, so why not in motherboards? Of course, it should be advertised as such, and reviews should mention it (which I believe they usually do) - the advertising is up to the manufacturers, and I think they haven't done a great job making this clear exactly what they're doing on packages and on their websites. So things aren't perfect.

    But this is not equivalent to a user raising the multiplier. By shipping it as a default configuration, the motherboard manufacturer is guaranteeing that it will work. Frankly, users could expect to pay extra for that "feature," and indeed it seems it's more often available on high-end boards. This takes care of user #4 - if you're buying a low-end green machine, you likely buy a low-end motherboard, and I would expect that such boards not include MCE.

    In the end, MCE is a feature just like any other. An i7 has hyperthreading - we expect reviewers to test it with that feature on. Asus boards and a few others have MCE - I think we should expect reviewers to test with that on, as long as it's just as clear what's going on as if you were testing a chip with and without hyperthreading, or with and without turbo.

    Thanks to Ian Cutress for bringing this issue to the readers of Anandtech, and for being willing to hear our feelings on the issue.
    Reply
  • Kougar - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    To nitpick the listed scenarios... Say Person 2 plans to overclock anyway, but is reading review(s) in order to determine which motherboard performs best.

    If MCE is enabled, this skews the results for (some) Person 2's. Assuming they were going to clock the pre-selected CPU to 4.5GHz regardless of which motherboard was chosen, then as you say MCE is not a concern. BUT, leaving it enabled during the review itself prevents them from easily determining which motherboard would perform best AT the forced 4.5Ghz overclock they would plan to use. In other words, MCE denies any sort of apples-to-apples baseline that this Person 2 would require to make such a determination.

    That said, these days I tend to think benchmarking a motherboard is mostly superfluous. I instead want to know about the features, software, recovery, and MOST of all, the nitty gritty hardware details about the board design itself. Such as if it has X phases, Y chokes, and Z mosfets, how much of those are really doing any work and how many were added just as icing on the (spec table) cake? I (and most readers) are not electricians, so we wouldn't know how to tell.

    The only reason I'd care at all about motherboard benchmarks is to ensure there are no glaring BIOS/UEFI bugs or huge performance issues. (Notably marvel controllers limited to PCIe 1x lanes, which led me to buy an expensive, useless X58 motherboard upgrade before the issue was reported. To date, the best SSDs can only achieve 150MB/s writes in ATTO, meaning the Intel SATA 2 port on my old X58 board gives significantly better performance. If I had said high-end SSD when i first bought the board I could have promptly returned it.)
    Reply
  • ashrafi - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    MCE jumps from idle to max core speed( 1.2Ghz to 3.9Ghz ) for GA sniper , i dont mind the extra performance but it would be better if MCE is stepped as medium / high depending on load ,
    rather jumping to 3.9Ghz for all cores ; the multiplier should be constant , e.g 3.7GHz for all four cores (3770K) .
    I see the benefit in rendering nodes , when the system could be idle consuming minimum power and boost to 3.9Ghz when needed.!
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    As soon as the first story of an RMA being refused because of MCE is published, that meh will change to a "wtf" very fast.

    I'm personally overclocking all my CPUs (and GPUs) in a reasonable way, meaning 24/7 stability without going for the last 50MHz. Currently running a i7 860 @ 3.8GHz with water cooling. I would not buy a non-K processor for my main desktop at the moment. And I would immediately overclock the new CPU. So MCE doesn't affect me there.

    I'm also running an HTPC with a Llano APU quite undervolted to fit with my 40W external PSU and because I don't need the power, but I didn't buy a lower SKU because I like to have the power in any case and the price/performance ratio of the A6 3600 was quite good. I would not benefit nor suffer from MCE as I would disable it.

    I built a PC system for my brother high-end-ish at the time (AMD Phenomx 6 core, HD6970). He mostly uses the PC for internet and gaming. It serves him quite well with his 1920x1200 resolution. He has forbidden me to overclock it in any way. He just doesn't like it. When games become more demanding he simply lowers the settings. And when things become too bad he buys a new PC. He would profit from MCE I'm sure, because without negative info regarding RMAs he would likely let it be enabled and wreak the performance benefit.

    Same thing with my mother's PC.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    As to how to benchmark things, my take is that MCE should be disabled but mentioned and maybe have one test done with it enabled. This way you get apples to apples comparisons. And people who read reviews of motherboards will often enough be able to make the choice of whether or not to enable the feature. In my environment there is no one who reads tech reviews who doesn't know what to do with them intimately. So if they read motherboard reviews, they will also know how to set the BIOS options. Reply
  • Wall Street - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    I can clearly see the reasoning for running the system as delivered out of the box. However, at least one test needs to be run to show that each motherboard performs in line with other motherboards of the same chipset without MCE enabled. I worry that agreesive MCE could make up for shortcomings elsewhere in motherboard performance.

    One thing that I look for in motherboard reviews is to make sure that the board I am considering doesn't have any firmware or design issues that make it slower than other boards that accommodate the same CPU. That can only be done by showing at least some apples to apples tests. I think it could be similar to the overclocking page where just one extra skipable page at the end shows all of the MCE disabled charts.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    Everyone obviously doesn't fit into on of the four neat little examples you have, but my system is some sort of mix between 1 and 2. I buy parts that can do what I need without having to mess around with overclocking them. Right now that's a i7-2600(non-k) in a mITX case with a $300ish range video card. It plays everything I want it to while running cool, quiet and completely stable at stock. No manufacturer would likely put MCE, let alone MCE-Plus, on a mITX board, but if they did I would turn it off. A modest boost on a machine that doesn't need boosting to begin with is just screwing with the thermals, power consumption, and stability of a SFF system. If this is purely a mATX/ATX thing, you can safely ignore me. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    If this feature ends up in Dell or Acer machines as a stock option, then it is a concern. But anyone who buys their own parts should already be pushign the turbo up as high as it will go. Assuming it even has turbo. This has no effect on i3 and pentium, right? So its pretty much pointless. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I think this discussion could be avoided if Turbo Mode could be even better: a CPU should feature a certain base clock and a maximum turbo clock. The acutal clock speed chosen should depend only on the external conditions (power consumption, current, temperature etc.) and power management settings in the OS, but not on the number of cores.

    I could have some multi-threaded branchy integer code, which causes low IPC and low power consumption.. why shouldn't the CPU be able to reach a higher performing state it is guaranteed to work at anyway (clock & voltage)?

    In this case we wouldn't need MCE at all. And configurable TDP could come in really handy.
    Reply
  • asgallant - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    When I look at a motherboard review, I want to see an apples to apples comparison - what does the motherboard bring to the table in terms of performance. Bumping clock speeds is "cheating" in a way, because it's the CPU bringing the extra performance, not some aspect of the motherboard.

    It's good to know that the feature is there, and what it does with performance, but I need to see the benchmarks with it disabled to make a fully-informed purchase decision.
    Reply
  • Urbanos - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    I use my pc as all 4 of your people scenarios, I use overclocking profiles for heavy games and also stock or undervolt profiles for htpc use when watching movies connected to my 50" tv.
    If the mce option has any affect on system stability, in any of these cases, personally its not worth it.
    Longevity isn't much of a concern of mine, and the very small increment of extra power used by mce isn't a bother either. But stability is. If I have to factor potential stability issues because of mce in any scenario, its not worth implementing as a default enabled feature.

    It reminds me of the motherboard factory overclock auto features that many gaming boards put in. They don't tune the system well and their standard settings are always merely novice mediocre attempts at free mhz.
    Let me choose, leave it as a default option that can be easily disabled.
    Reply
  • snadge - Saturday, September 01, 2012 - link

    - this isnt really a 'new' feature - we've been able to do this since 2500K, simply set max Turbo speed across each core to 4Ghz and that's it!! - it will idle at 1.6Ghz and all 4 cores will boost up to 4Ghz when in use...no need to set voltages or anything?? - or you can disable TURBO mode altogether and set the Multiplier to x40 and results will be exactly the same = Idle at 1.6Mhz and 4Ghz speed across all cores when in use.

    we all know that Sandy-Bridge + Ivy-Bridge are good on Air up to x44 - x46 multiplier, so no harm in hitting x40 or x41 - I would say x42 would probably be the safety limit that manufacturers dare to venture beyond.

    - this too me is just another way of doing it and pretty much pointless, swapping one BIOS option for another.
    Reply
  • Archangel35757 - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    I'm new to over-clocking... and am somewhat confused-- perhaps someone can clear-up my ignorance... I have an i7-3930K cpu and am about to buy a motherboard for a new 3D modeling/animation "workstation" plus some gaming... and I stumbled upon this post on MCE. I was planning on overclocking the CPU and was going to get the ASRock Extreme9 motherboard... but I see it does not have the MCE feature. So I presumed when you overclocked the cpu manually in the BIOS that all cores worked at that overclock setting... is my thinking incorrect- and you need MCE to make all cores work at the overclock speed? or does manually overclocking in the BIOS make the MCE a moot feature? Thanks for the replies. Reply
  • Brainling - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    No, you're first thought was correct. You can do everything MCE does yourself, provided the BIOS you are using has turbo profile settings. MCE is just a nice "stock" feature for people (like me) who don't have the time and energy to sit and hand set and test turbo profiles. Reply
  • Brainling - Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - link

    In this new wonderful world of changing power envelopes, and headroom on top of headroom in our CPU's, I think it's an important feature to talk about. I am one of the "used to overclock" crew, but now run my system completely stock....so this is a feature I would actually make use of. Knowing that I can buy one board and get 10% theoretical performance because it has this feature would be a selling point to me.

    I understand that for the overclocking crew it's a pointless feature, and they probably don't care either way...but I like that you are mentioning it, and I don't think it can be ignored.
    Reply
  • EJ257 - Thursday, September 06, 2012 - link

    So is this like the CPU Intelligent Accelerator on the Gigabyte boards? You could set it to 5 different speed zones in the BIOS and depending on the load on the system it will either go all the way down to 1.6GHz, give you stock speed 2.4GHz (Q6600) or go up to 2.8-2.9GHz when it "turbos". All this by change the FSB and multiplier (which varies between 6x or 9x). Keep in mind these speed boost are applied across all cores since the Q6600 didn't have the fancy turbo boost of the later i series. Reply
  • ClagMaster - Monday, September 10, 2012 - link

    The problem with Multi-Core Enhancement is not many people (Persons 3 and 4) would not understand what this is. BIOS is often very terse describing its features and this needs to change. Reply
  • Casper42 - Thursday, September 20, 2012 - link

    I am a combination of 1 and 3
    I know what most of the stuff in my BIOS does but I choose not to touch most of it because I don't have a lot of experience with overclocking.

    The exception is on my new 3770K machine I bought 2133 rated memory and the Asus BIOS didn't seem to have a way to simply select from the XMP modes so I went in and forced the Memory to 2133 with the right settings.

    So how do I check if my board has this or uses it?
    I have no problem turning this on since I am either doing light web surfing that barely taxes the machine, but then I flip over to either Gaming or dual boot into ESXi as a Home Lab for my work, both of which I am sure would love the extra horsepower.

    P8Z77-V Pro
    3770K
    4 x 8GB 2133 Ripjaws Z
    Reply
  • Chris87 - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Which motherboards support this feature? I´m looking for cheap MB. I have i7 3770 (non-K) so i woul like to run it on 4.3GHz on all cores at load. I don´t know if cheapest gigabyte or asus z77 MBs support it... Thanks Reply
  • Comdrpopnfresh - Saturday, January 26, 2013 - link

    The feature should be disabled by default on all motherboards, but be open for configuration by the user in BIOS.

    I see no difference between this and BIOS settings for previous generations that boosted CPU speed by single-digit percentages. Those settings were typically separate from "AUTO."

    Even if this is unreasonable for consumer sales- this is how you should be running benchmarks. This is what baseline is. Go ahead and enable it and re-run as a point of interest; but how is leaving BIOS at stock settings, which the manufacturers can tool for benchmark results, instead of equivalent settings make for good comparisons? If a memory kit is sold with a reported stock timing and the motherboard does not default to those timings for one reason or another, would you benchmark a group of memory kits without manually keying in the timings they are sold under? Same for AMD boards and core unlocking- a board that does it will test better on multithreaded tests than another that does not. Apples and oranges. Plus- what happens when newer BIOS revisions are released with tighter algorithms? Will you re-run and redraft the results every time into the future? The only way to achieve results independent of a factor is to remove it from the equation.
    Reply
  • jleach1 - Friday, April 19, 2013 - link

    We don't run our ,motherboards with stock settings, and we certainly don't care what the stock settings are. You know as well as I know, manufacturer based settings for storage, memory, voltage, etc. Are a joke...

    We come here to put Product A, against product B. If you don't cross check settings for each product, reviews and charts for items-- especially motherboards-- are a joke.

    The only answer, is the one you already knew. We come to AT because you guys are scientifically mindful, and always strive to compare an contrast with numerically significant variables.

    Set that @#$t to the same voltage, MHz, features, etc. On every device and module possible, so we can see who makes a faster, better, more reliable, and all around superb board.

    Platform comparisons are different. Comparing board lineups from manufacturer A, to manufacturer B, is different. Only in the case of a platform war, or feature lineup/comparison, should things like MCE be listed--but never used.

    Again, we want to know who makes the faster board; not who chooses the faster settings for a default profile.
    Reply
  • lagittaja - Monday, April 29, 2013 - link

    In my opinion motherboard makers shouldn't implement this kind of feature unless there are STRICT guidelines made by Intel.
    Unless it turns then in to a speed race. Like said, first one raises it to 4.0Ghz, then 4.1Ghz the next 4.2Ghz.. Where does it end? THAT is overclocking.
    In my honest opinion. If one would have a 3770K which would be at turboing to 39x/39x/38x/37x bins at 1core/2core/3core/4core then yeah with MCE MB makers can make it run 39x/39x/39x/39x but not go above the rated maximum turbo bin.. Also the MCE feature would need to be DISABLED by default. If an user thinks they need to have more perf with more cores loaded (as in 39x/39x/39x/39x instead of 39x/39x/38x/37x) then they can go and enable that option.
    But for me this doesn't matter. I have 3770K which I overclock manually, and will have a G2120 in my HTPC which doesn't overclock nor have turbo.
    Reply
  • Gastec - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    This is an year old article but I read it now and Ian asked for opinions ans her is mine.
    I think MCE should be present on all newly constructed motherboards and DISABLED BY DEFAULT! All UEFIs should have the option to enable/disable MCE along with a detailed enough description of what it does. Under no circumstances should MCE automatically be enabled when using XMP memory - that's seems like some engineer's idea that people who use XMP must be some kind of overclockers and they clearly would want their CPU's to run at full speed under even the lightest load. Well I'm a gamer and enthusiast and I want my CPU to consume as little power as possible and only raise to it's highest frequency when the application requires it, not all the time for some random light loads.
    Reply
  • Gastec - Tuesday, November 05, 2013 - link

    Pardon my spelling errors in the previous post, please correct them if possible, because of course I can't edit it...( when will you let us to? ) Reply

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