Budget? Overclocking? Are you out of your mind?! I absolutely am not. What with today’s standards in motherboards and other components, there’s pretty much no need to worry about frying the poor thing due to subpar components. The Gaming K3 is something that can handle overclocks without any fuss and it just seems to work without a hitch. Unlike on previous budget motherboards that we’ve taken a look at, such as the MSI Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON, where the clocks tended to dwindle when the CPU was placed under heavy load, the Gaming K3 does not suffer from this issue.
There are a few things which I test explicitly when checking for the overclocking performance besides the obvious performance increases. One very important key factor to me is that the motherboard successfully recovers after a failed overclock without you having to go through the troubles of resetting it by removing the CMOS battery or pulling out the power, be that the power into the rig or the 24 pin from the motherboard. Needless to say, the Gaming K3 recovered flawlessly, just like the Gaming 7 that we tested previously. Motherboards can tend to struggle to reset themselves correctly after a failed overclock occurs, but it seems to be something that perhaps won’t even need a mention in the very near future. I’ve not encountered a motherboard in this Z170 generation that has failed to reset itself correctly thus far, and I am fairly confident to say that it will remain that way when I test other boards as well.
Naturally, if you follow this segment in my motherboard reviews, you’d already be aware that my CPU is limited to 4.8 GHz, and no motherboard change will be able to eek any more out of it. The Gaming K3 is no exception to this rule, which wasn’t unsurprising. However, it did manage to maintain a full 4.8 GHz as I said above, even when it was under very heavy loading. The VRM did not get too warm, and I suspect that the temperatures would be even better within a case. An open air test bed is great, but it does not give proper airflow over components that should have it in an ideal world. Hey, it does sort of prove that the motherboard can take a beating; right?
The performace increases were as you’d expect and were pretty much scaling linearly with the stock results. It didn’t manage to trump any of the other boards that are more than twice its price, but it does manage to pack a punch and bring a budget motherboard into a higher end of the market by managing to stay stable and maintain overclocks without an issue.