ASRock rolled out BIOS updates for its Z170 series motherboards, adding support for SKY OC, a new feature that allows you to overclock the baseclock of non-K series Skylake and Pentium processors. The only catch is that this workaround disabled Skylake's integrated graphics, as well as the CPU Turbo Ratio and C-State features. Several other motherboard makers are expected to release similar firmware updates in the coming days/weeks.
Intel® Skylake K series CPUs are on every hardcore overclocker's wish list, due to the fact that they are the only ones with an unlocked multiplier that allows users to overclock the CPU frequency effortlessly. However, there seems to be a shortage of these ultra high performing processors lately. Thankfully ASRock has prepared a nice Christmas present for the overclocking community named SKY OC, an alternative for users to overclock any Intel® Skylake i7/i5/i3 or even Pentium non K CPUs on their ASRock Z170 motherboard.
Engineers at ASRock picked up from where they left off last time, and decided that besides DDR4 memory modules, there might be a way to overclock Intel® non-K CPUs without tinkering the multiplier. So here you have the game changing SKY OC which is obtainable simply by a BIOS upgrade from ASRock's official website. It's not the same as overclocking an Intel® K series CPU, because it's mainly changing the BCLK, but it will be an interesting alternative while people are still waiting for their K series CPUs to come down the chimney. Lab tests show that the once not overclockable Intel® Core i5-6400 CPU can now be overclocked up to a 60% frequency boost with SKY OC on ASRock's Z170 Pro4!
One might wonder, "this is too good to be true, what's the catch?" Well, if you had to ask, there are two almost unnoticeable limitations. The first one is the onboard Intel® graphics will be disabled while SKY OC is applied, meaning that users are required to install a graphics card. The second limitation is that CPU Turbo Ratio and C-State will also be disabled.
While ASRock SKY OC breathes life into Intel® non K series CPUs, currently it is still exclusive to motherboards with Intel's Z170 chipset. But have faith in ASRock's skillful engineers, sooner or later more Christmas gifts from ASRock are going to be delivered.