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BIOS and Overclocking

790i Ultra SLI Motherboards Compared

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
FSB Data Rate FSB-400 to FSB-3000 MHz (1 MHz)
Clock Multiplier Adjustment Yes
DRAM Linked Ratios Automatic, 1:1, 5:4, 3:2
DRAM Unlinked Data Rate DDR3-800 to DDR3-3000
PCIe Clock 100 to 200 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore 1.1000 to 2.4000 Volts (0.00625 Volts)
CPU FSB Voltage 1.20 to 2.46 Volts (0.02 Volts)
Northbridge (SPP) 1.30 to 2.20 Volts (0.02 Volts)
Southbridge (MCP) 1.50 to 1.85 Volts (0.05 Volts)
DRAM Voltage 1.50 to 3.10 Volts (0.02 Volts)
CAS Latency Range tCAS: 5-18; tRCD: 1-15; tRP: 1-15; tRAS: 1-63

FSB clocks of up to 750 MHz (FSB-3000) are encouraging, if not completely realistic. We’ve never seen an unmodified air-cooled Nvidia-based motherboard reach 500 MHz bus clock before, but we have high hopes for the 790i Ultra SLI.

For users not familiar with manual overclocking, the Striker II Extreme offers several “AI Overclock” adjustments. CPU Level Up can set the approximate speed of a higher-model processor automatically, while an “Overclock Options” menu that appears with the “AI Overclock” option enabled provides automatic speed increases of 5% to 20% in 5% increments.

The Striker II Extreme also provides an automatic memory overclocking option, but the highest setting for our PC3-12800 (DDR3-1600) was its rated PC3-12800 speed. The lack of further adjustment is likely a ruse on Nvidia’s part, where one must pay for the Nvidia logo on his or her RAM to enable “automatic overclocking”. True enthusiasts will know how to adjust their memory manually for the highest performance.

Like most Nvidia chipset LGA775 motherboards, the Striker II Extreme has several “linked” FSB to DRAM memory ratios, but only three of them — 1:1, 5:4, and 3:2 — are manually selectable. Other “linked” ratios can only be used via automatic detection, and setting other speeds manually requires “unlinking” the memory controller.

CPU Core Voltage adjustments up to 2.40 volts and DRAM voltages up to 3.10 volts are surely enough to fry any off-the-shelf part, but extreme overclockers will have a good idea of the limitations for their components. It’s certainly nice to see a wide range of settings, even if the limits are way up there.

All of the important memory settings feature broad enough latency ranges to extract optimum performance at any relevant DDR3 speed. Look for the memory performance and overclocking charts later in this article.

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