X99 Micro Software And Firmware
Specifically targeting experienced gaming and overclocking enthusiasts allows EVGA to simplify its software portfolio and focus on its E-LEET Tuning Utility X.
In spite of EVGA’s narrow focus, over half of the E-Leet Tuning Utility X menus are devoted to system monitoring and/or status reporting.
The E-Leet Tuning Utility X Overclocking menu provides base clock and CPU multiplier control, but no voltage settings.
Two additional menus provide core affinity and overclocking profile selection. Profiles allow tuners to save a known-good O/C configuration before trying something even more aggressive, and then return to the known-good settings without being forced to remember every detail.
EVGA divides its firmware overclock settings across two menus, of which one is actually named “Overclock.” This is where we find CPU and PCH controls.
Like every other X99-based board we’ve tested thus far, the X99 Micro pushed a top overclock of 4.45GHz from this Core i7-5960X sample using 101MHz base clock and a 44x multiplier.
This core is able to reach even higher frequencies at higher voltage levels, but those greater voltage levels eventually cause thermal throttling under extended full-load testing. A throttled overclock is not a successful overclock, no matter how good the motherboard.
EVGA’s X99 Micro exposed the problem that prevented every other motherboard from reaching our memory kit's DDR4-3000 rating. That problem is that the memory needs at least 1.35V to run its top data rate, but our CPU’s memory controller doesn’t tolerate voltage levels exceeding 1.365V. Two voltage detection points on EVGA’s “Probe-It” connector correspond to each of the two memory channels, easing our assessment of these limitations.
EVGA’s X99 Micro eventually pushed our memory samples to DDR4-3030 at 126 MHz BCLK and a 24x memory ratio. The CPU’s top memory ratio of 26.66x requires the higher base clock in order to reach high data rates.
The magic of a 24x 125MHz DRAM to BCLK ratio is that it uses the CPU’s internal 1.25x strap. The “strap” is a multiplier that allows certain parts of the system to see 125MHz, while other parts only see the stock 100MHz.
DIMM voltage isn’t adjustable on the X99 Micro’s “Overclocking” menu, but is adjustable from its “Memory” menu. If you missed that, you’ll find redundant voltage controls within its “Advanced” menu.