|Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P X58 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 24 January 2009|
Page 11 of 17
GA-EX58-UD4P X58 F6b BIOS
If you're a true hardcore overclocking enthusiast, chances are good that you'll be mighty concerned about the motherboards BIOS. For years now, I have found the BIOS to be the one factor that manufacturers overlook on their products. All of the heatsinks, heat-pipes, and fans will not offer nearly the control over any decent overclock to the same degree as a well designed BIOS. For just as many years, I have also been keeping track of who incorporates the good designs, and who doesn't. This experience has made me become very picky about how I like to have the BIOS presented. I recall a previous review where another now-defunct manufacturer (abit) colored the entire BIOS background pink, and then another manufacturer made theirs completely yellow. Blue works for me, despite its closeness to the BSOD.
Like any good system builder, the first thing I do is set the date and time. After that, it's straight into the Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker (MIT) section of this Award BIOS. In the image below, which was created with composite sections of the entire MIT page, you can see how far Gigabyte has come with their BIOS programming... and this is just the main MIT page.
Most of the familiar variables are present and accounted for. The CPU Clock Ratio feature allows you to alter the clock ratio for the installed CPU. This item is present only if a CPU with unlocked clock ratio is installed. Intel Turbo Boost Technology can be enable or disabled, to avoid cores from switching 'off' to optimize the cores in use. QPI Link Speed allows you to set the options to: Auto (default), x36, x44, x48, Slow Mode. Even Load-Line Calibration is present, which enables or disables this feature to adjust Vdroop, keeping the CPU voltage more constant under light and heavy CPU load while the Disabled setting keeps CPU voltage at the Intel specifications.
In past motherboard reviews, I've taken pages to document and explain a myriad of BIOS features and functionality. Most people feel that this is an information overload, so for this review I've decided to offer a comprehensive X58 BIOS overclocking guide on PDF. Gigabyte offers this eleven-page guide as a reference for tweaking the Core i7 processor with their X58 motherboards.