By default the Core i5-2500K has a clock speed of 3.3GHz, lets see how far we can push it! Overlcocking on Sandy Bridge is extremely simple, especially since the memory is completely separate from the CPU. The first thing you need to do is go into your BIOS. You will first need to go in to the Overclocking settings. You will notice that you cannot change the CPU Base Frequency or BCLK as most of you know it. This really makes things easy as you just need to adjust the CPU ratio to overclock the CPU.
By default the CPU ratio is at 33. I first moved it up to 40 to get the CPU up to 4.0GHz. This was done without any other adjustments. To test how stable the system was I ran Prime 95, 3DMark Vantage and Super Pi all at the same time. After I knew the system was stable I started moving up in 100MHz intervals. I got stuck at 4.4GHz as the system would blue screen at 4.5GHz. I tried upping the CPU voltage, but was unable to get the CPU past 4.4GHz stable. A 1.1GHz overclock on air cooling is not bad at all!
Another way to overclock your system without going in to the BIOS is with the Control Center application that MSI provides on the drivers and utilities CD. Within this application you can change the CPU ratio and even the Base Clock! You can also adjust all of the voltages and many other settings right within Windows. Then just hit apply and the settings are automatically changed, without you having to restart your system! The application is pretty impressive, here are some screenshots.
One really cool feature that this motherboard has is OC Genie II. What that does is automatically overclock the system for you. Just press in the OC Genie button on the motherboard and restart your computer. When you turn it back on it will be automatically overclocked! For our specific system with the Core i5-2500K it overclocked it to 4.2GHz from the stock speed of 3.3GHz.
This is great for people who do not want to mess with the BIOS and really don’t know much about overclocking, but still want to get the most out of their system.