Intel X38 Chipset: A Porsche with the Handbrake On

Intel Extreme Tuning Utility

Now let's take a look at the absolute highlight of the X38 chipset, and a feature unique among chipsets for the desktop market.

For the first time ever, Intel's engineers are allowing external access to the North Bridge: it contains a microprocessor that can receive instructions from the BIOS and the operating system. Intel has now revealed some of these instructions, and is offering an appropriate utility to motherboard designers. By implementing certain features in this utility, it is up to them to decide which of the instructions the buyer will be able to use in their products. The user interface of these tools does not have to look any different from the current versions - they would simply include the new overclocking instructions.

This way, users can not only change parameters such as timings and frequencies, they are also presented with monitoring functionality for temperatures, voltages and frequencies. The XMP memory technology can also be addressed from here. Users are also free to create profiles, which can be loaded as needed - for example, you could have one for overclocking and one for a silent mode.

You could say that this brings the BIOS onto the Windows desktop, allowing users to change settings that formerly required the computer to be restarted.

We hope that some smart programmers will adopt these new instructions of the X38 into their overclocking and tuning tools, so that one tool could be used across a variety of X38 boards, regardless of brand and model. After all, we've all found a tool on the Internet that promises to be the ideal solution for your chipset, only to disappoint with sporadic crashes, inaccurate readings or limited usability. In other cases, a specific motherboard model is not supported because every manufacturer uses a different clock chip, and the current version of the tool doesn't know which chip to expect. This could all be a thing of the past if such a tool were created.

Intel implements a plethora of overclocking instructions for OC tools in the X38. The future could bring us utilities that work on all boards and always display the correct values.

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