Z87 Extreme9/ac Firmware
The Z87 Extreme9/ac OC Tweaker menu leads with a list of factory-configured overclocking presets from 4.0 to 4.8 GHz, but most of those require too much voltage to run for more than a few seconds on our CPU before thermal throttling kicks in and knocks it back down. Next on the menu are CPU ratio and BCLK settings for manual O/C configuration.
The motherboard properly detects this memory’s DDR3-3000 XMP profile and Haswell’s DDR3-2933 memory controller limit, choosing that ratio and increasing the base clock to 102.3 MHz to compensate.
Everyone major motherboard company has figured out ways to override the CPU’s integrated voltage control. The 1.235 V setting produces a nominal voltage of 1.25 V on the Z87 Exteme9/ac, and load compensation pushes it a little past 1.26 V. Even if a company were to figure out a way to fool the volt meter, full-load temperatures would be a dead giveaway.
All major manufacturers also cheat on DIMM voltage, pushing 10% or more past the set limits to allow a higher overclock at a setting users believe is safe. Our volt meter showed an actual 1.65 to 1.655 V when using the motherboard’s 1.635 V setting.
Primary, secondary, and tertiary memory timings are adjustable over a wide margin to allow super-high memory overclocks.
The Tools menu shows an image of detected components (System Browser), allows flashing firmware from the UEFI GUI (Instant Flash), and stores up to three O/C configurations as user profiles.
After spending two days per board on a "one week" article, I couldn't add more tests. The general benchmark set looks for unintended overclocking/underclocking, power and memory bandwidth issues, so you can see the performance difference attributable to each board's CPU and DRAM configuration differences. It runs from a .bat file, so it didn't add significantly to the article's completion time.
The PLX bridge that these all share represents the "great equalizer" when it comes to CrossFire and SLI configuration, so that portion of all three boards should be identical. I understand that things that should be the same in theory are occasionally different in practice. My apologies for not having the extra 1-day per board for additional tests.
I think testing 3/4 way sli would still be valid, as it doesn't always work properly, in the past there have been compatibility problems with certain gpu's/boards/firmware/controllers and certain benchmarks completely failed.
Those have nothing to do with readyboost. The internal usb ports are very common on workstations and you put CAD dongles and equivalent items in them so that you can lock them inside the case and don't have to worry about some one stealing them from the outside or them taking up an outside usb port.
Hey guys, we have these awesome new setups for supreme graphics pumping power! Watch it zip files like every other board!