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BIOS And Overclocking

X48 Motherboard Comparison
By
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
FSB Frequency 200 - 800 MHz (1 MHz)
Clock Multiplier Adjustment Yes
DRAM Frequency All Intel Ratios (by bootstrap)
PCIe Clock 100 - 180 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore 0.85000 - 2.1000 Volts (0.00625 Volts)
CPU FSB Voltage 1.20 - 1.50 Volts (0.02 Volts)
Northbridge (MCH) 1.25 - 2.10 Volts (0.02 Volts)
Southbridge (ICH) 1.05 - 1.20 Volts (0.15 Volts)
DRAM Voltage 1.50 - 2.78 Volts (0.02 Volts)
CAS Latency Range
tCAS: 4-11; tRCD: 3-18; tRP: 3-18; tRAS: 3-34

The Ai Tweaker menu contains enough settings to take up three screens. The first screen includes settings for automatic (Ai) overclocking, manual FSB clock speed, PCI Express frequency, DRAM ratio, DRAM skew controls and basic DRAM timings.

Ai Overclocking supports fixed, variable and manual overclocking modes. Fixed mode settings range from 5-20% in 5% increments, while variable "N.O.S." modes of 3%, 5%, 8% or 10% dynamically change CPU clock frequencies in response to high workload conditions.

The FSB is adjustable from 200 to 800 MHz (FSB-800 to FSB-3200) in manual overclocking mode, though we've rarely seen even the most extreme overclockers go much beyond 600 MHz FSB clock on any chipset. Likewise, PCI Express clock is adjustable between 100 and 180 MHz, even though 150 MHz is considered by many overclockers to be a practical limit, and several have reported southbridge malfunctions at far lower settings. Frequency settings in excess of practical limits exist to challenge the best overclockers to reach beyond expectations in their competitive efforts.

All eight standard Intel DRAM ratios are available, and are dependent on FSB bootstrap, but leaving the FSB strap to "Auto" opens up the full range of options while letting BIOS chose the most appropriate bootstrap. Additionally, Asus offers DDR3-1800 and DDR3-2000 settings, which the board achieves by lowering the CPU multiplier and raising its FSB to either 450 or 500 MHz. Those options disappear whenever the FSB is manually set.

The second Ai Tweaker screen contains advanced DRAM timings.

A wide range of timings for each setting meets or exceeds the capabilities of Intel's memory controller, tempting the most enthusiastic "tweakers" to try ever-better RAM in the pursuit of world-leading performance.

The third Ai Tweaker screen contains all-important voltage controls, plus spread spectrum, voltage calibration, and clock skew settings.

CPU core voltage is adjustable from 0.850 to 2.100 V in tiny 6.25 millivolt increments. Using 1.60 V CPU core and 1.50 V FSB termination on a Core 2 Duo E6850, we were able to reach 535 MHz FSB (FSB-2140) at a 6x CPU core multiplier, and 4.01 GHz CPU clock speed at the processor's default 9x multiplier.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 15, 2008 3:19 PM
    Help please.Can this board be configured with the first two (SATA) HDs mirrored and the other drives JBOD? Thank you in advance.
  • 0 Hide
    oblivionspell , July 2, 2008 8:26 PM
    Great review, very detailed and informative. But I must say that either you were lucky that your X38 P5E3 Deluxe came with a better-than-average chipset or that I wasn't so lucky and got a malfunctioning one.

    I have an Asus Maximus Formula which is, as you know, the Republic of Gamer's solution for the X38 and recently bought a Patriot Extreme Performance 1150mhz PC2-9600. Whenever I try anything above 1020mhz for the RAM my PC reboots; the higher it is the less time it takes to do it. At 1020mhz it'll only reboot if I run something more demanding like 3dMark06 or any new game, at 1100mhz it'll barely show the Windows loading screen then reboot, above 1120mhz it'll not even load windows and freeze. But in every case it boots up fine.

    The Asus forums are full of users who can't get stability in any way with >=1066mhz ram on X38 boards. A selected few have come to accomplish it however, which leads me to think those were the lucky ones who got the good shipment, like you. The Patriot forums are the same, X38 users can't get their system stable with RAMS over 1066 or not even that.

    Maybe that X48 "official" support is something to consider, it might be the fix to the X38 we users are looking for. Even if it's only to make sure it'll run RAMs at >=1066mhz, it's good enough already.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 15, 2008 1:22 PM
    oblivionspell - Have you tried manually setting your RAM voltage to the correct value for the performance setting(s)?

    I had to do this on my Asus Crosshair, even though EPP is supposed to take care of it for you. Without manually setting the voltage, I had memory corruption and crashes, but could use the non-EPP mode. With the voltage bumped to the correct 2.1V,
    the EPP modes work perfectly.
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , September 6, 2008 9:37 AM
    oblivionspellGreat review, very detailed and informative. But I must say that either you were lucky that your X38 P5E3 Deluxe came with a better-than-average chipset or that I wasn't so lucky and got a malfunctioning one.I have an Asus Maximus Formula which is, as you know, the Republic of Gamer's solution for the X38 and recently bought a Patriot Extreme Performance 1150mhz PC2-9600. Whenever I try anything above 1020mhz for the RAM my PC reboots; the higher it is the less time it takes to do it. At 1020mhz it'll only reboot if I run something more demanding like 3dMark06 or any new game, at 1100mhz it'll barely show the Windows loading screen then reboot, above 1120mhz it'll not even load windows and freeze. But in every case it boots up fine.The Asus forums are full of users who can't get stability in any way with >=1066mhz ram on X38 boards. A selected few have come to accomplish it however, which leads me to think those were the lucky ones who got the good shipment, like you. The Patriot forums are the same, X38 users can't get their system stable with RAMS over 1066 or not even that.Maybe that X48 "official" support is something to consider, it might be the fix to the X38 we users are looking for. Even if it's only to make sure it'll run RAMs at >=1066mhz, it's good enough already.


    It's just a matter of having the right RAM and using the correct timings and voltage. All X38 and X48 motherboards that support DDR2 memory can run DDR2-1066 speeds with stability, so long as the RAM is set up right in BIOS.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2008 5:50 PM
    "Inside, users will find a GUI based on the Smart Common Input Method (SCIM) platform."

    This is not accurate. SCIM is an "input method" -- a scheme for entering internationalized text. Not sure what the GUI is really based on. GTK2, maybe?
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , September 15, 2008 7:18 PM
    Quote:
    "Inside, users will find a GUI based on the Smart Common Input Method (SCIM) platform."

    This is not accurate. SCIM is an "input method" -- a scheme for entering internationalized text. Not sure what the GUI is really based on. GTK2, maybe?


    I see your point, but that's the same arguement as "Windows 98SE is a GUI based on DOS". Which is innacurate only in wording. It would be better to say "Windows 98SE is a GUI for DOS".

    So, you'd be happier to read "Users will find a GUI for the Smart Common Input Method (SCIM) platform" correct?
  • 0 Hide
    chill70 , October 15, 2008 12:09 PM
    It's not only the wording. SCIM is not an operating system, so even your example is not analogous (won't even mention that DOS and Windows are separate operating systems with distinct kernels, etc).

    This statement is as correct as saying Vista has a GUI based on a 105-key keyboard.

    SCIM is an input method platform independent on the GUI. GTK GUI is an widget toolkit, independent on SCIM (although they *may* used each other). Neither is "based" on the other.

    If you want to emphasize that the Express Gate supports users of many different languages and nationalities you can mention that the GUI USES SCIM.