|ASUS P6X58D-E Motherboard Performance|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 17 June 2010|
Page 8 of 17
BIOS and Overclocking
Let's face it: X58 is the platform of choice for enthusiast overclockers and extreme gamers. This is why Intel offers the Core i7-965EE and Core i7-975 Extreme Edition processors exclusively for the LGA1366 socket on X58-Express motherboards. It's also a safe bet that ASUS understands what it takes to deliver the premier overclocking platform, which is what they've attempted to create on the P6X58D-Premium motherboard.
First and foremost, every chip is different. Despite close production tolerances and identical architecture, not all same-model computer hardware will perform the same. For example, the Intel Core i7-920 processor used for testing on the ASUS P6X58D-Premium motherboard may overclock better on a different P6X58D-Premium. Likewise, a different Core i7-920 CPU might overclock better than the processor we've used. To avoid an unfair evaluation of overclocking performance, we will instead concentrate on the overclocking features available within the BIOS.
The ASUS P6X58D-E motherboard makes use of the American Megatrends (AMI) BIOS, similar to most other ASUS motherboards. Our test sample received firmware 0303, released in mid-June 2010. Future firmware releases may offer different options than those we illustrate in this section.
The 'Ai Tweaker' section of the BIOS offers a myriad of settings for the experienced overclocker. The Ai Overclock Tuner is the easiest method to achieve an instant overclock by offering four options: manual user-defined settings, automatic system optimized settings, DOCP (DRAM OC Profile) memory overclock via BCLK, or pre-set eXtreme Memory Profiles. Most experienced overclockers will choose to define their own settings using the Manual option.
While CPU overclock settings run moderately deep depending on your end-goal, system memory configurations become highly complex with options that travel well-beyond CAS latency, CAS-RAS delay, RAS pre-time, RAS act-time, and RAS delay. In fact, with over 26 different configuration options, it might be easier to keep within the first set of variable to avoid spoiling the overclock.
The real problems begin when you work with component voltages. Not everyone has committed their system hardware power requirements to memory, which seems necessary to choose from either 'Auto' voltage or either +/- 0.00625 volt increments. While I personally feel that having the current voltage displayed beside the new setting would be optimal, the Hardware Monitor → Power section will deliver some basic component voltage readings so long as you don't mind moving between pages.
In summary, the ASUS P6X58D-E and P6X58D-Premium motherboards offers some basic entry-level overclocking options for novice hardware enthusiasts, as well as some very complex BIOS options for fine tuning minutia hardware settings. The current and default power variables would be more helpful if they were displayed near the voltage options, a la Award BIOS designs, but patient overclockers still have them available with some minor navigation.