Jan 03, 2014 Written by: MarshallR

ASUS & ROG X99 Exclusive: OC Socket - Extra Pins, Extra Performance!

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One of the key ways ASUS and ROG have boosted overclocking performance for CPU and memory on its X99 motherboards, is by enhancing the CPU socket! X99 motherboards use the LGA2011-3 socket (with 2011 pins), however with its patent-pending OC Socket, ASUS and ROG have added even more pins to provide more performance!

OC Socket Rampage V Extreme

For reference, here's the comparison of last-gen X79 to this-gen X99 features:

Feature/Option

Intel Core i7-4960X

(Ivy Bridge-E)

Intel Core i7-5960X

(Haswell-E)

Chipset

X79

X99

Socket

LGA 2011

LGA 2011-v3*

Cores/Threads

Up to 6/12

Up to 8/16

Cache

Up to 15 MB L3

Up to 20 MB L3

Feature/Option

DDR3

DDR4

Voltage

1.5V

1.2V

Data Rate (Mb/s)

800,1066, 1333, 1600, 1866, 2133

2133, 2400, 2666, 3200+

What is OC Socket?

Haswell-E (Intel Core i7-5960X, 5930X and 5280K) processors actually have more pads than the reference LGA2011-3 socket design, so ASUS added extra socket pins to tap this resource. OC Socket is an enhancement based on the reference LGA2011-3 design, so for users not overclocking or tweaking voltages in the BIOS, OC Socket does not activate. However for those that do overclock and tune performance, there's significant benefits.

Here is the reverse side of the socket (which affixes to the motherboard PCB), which clearly shows the difference between the two sockets in the six highlighted areas:

ASUS-OC-Socket-comparison

A Haswell-E CPU has more pads than the reference LGA2011-3 connects to, so if you look closer at the CPU pads, the OC Socket matches up almost exactly.

ASUS-OC-socket-CPU-fits

There's more changes under the hood...

OC Socket is just one part of a wider system though. To actually make use of the extra pins and maximize its potential, the OC Socket needs to work together with PCB design innovations, a bespoke VRM power design (Extreme Engine DIGI+ IV) and UEFI BIOS enhancements (which in turn have to co-work with other custom designed hardware like ROG's overclocking IC's across the motherboard). It's not just a simple swap-in!

This diagram gives an idea of the motherboard area OC Socket directly benefits and works with (not including PCI-Express/X99 IO), however please note it is not an actual representation of underlying trace layout. Key: Green = DIGI+ VRM controllers, Blue = CPU VRM system (Extreme Engine DIGI+ IV here), Yellow = DDR4 memory interface.

OC-socket-areas

As with all its customization, the OC Socket, (PCB design, VRM design, UEFI etc) is validated by ASUS to the highest degree of stability and reliability. Backed by years of experience between ROG and ASUS engineers, it's already dominating the overclocking scene from day 1. The OC Socket generates better signal quality and handles any additional voltage/grounding more efficiently.

Even in the most extreme scenarios, there is virtually no voltage drop (termed 'vDrop') on a fully loaded CPU. More stable voltage = higher attainable stable overclock!

oc-socket-no-vdrop

Combined with ROG's extensive UEFI BIOS development, it allows things like fine tuning of each individual CPU core:

oc-socket-processor-core-tuning

For DDR4 performance, higher frequencies are attainable at lower voltages: maximizing your (expensive) DDR4 purchase. The lower voltage has two benefits: firstly it allows more stable high frequency memory, even when fully loaded with 8 DIMMs. This is because there is less signal crosstalk and copper trace capacitance, so less chance of memory data error. Secondly, it helps prevent damage and prolongs the life of memory DIMMs.

DDR4 OC performance

Is OC Socket compatible with LGA2011-3 CPUs?

Yes! ASUS assures OC Socket is 100% compatible with all Intel LGA2011-3 processors. ASUS' extensive validation process tests every motherboard innovation, including OC Socket, to assure compatibility, reliability and optimum performance.

Can I turn it off if I don't overclock?

OC Socket is an enhancement based on the reference LGA2011-3 design, so for users not overclocking or tweaking voltages in the BIOS, OC Socket does not activate.

Which X99 models feature OC Socket?

  • ROG Rampage V Extreme
  • ASUS X99-Deluxe
  • ASUS X99-Pro
  • ASUS X99-S
  • ASUS X99-A
  • ASUS X99-E WS
  • ASUS X99 WS
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