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Seven $260-$320 X79 Express Motherboards, Reviewed


Intel’s unusual UEFI is easy to use and navigate once you're familiar with its layout. Primary frequency and secondary voltage controls are found under the main “Performance” menu.

Though the lack of CPU core and DRAM voltage settings on a voltage menu is certainly unusual, Intel chose to put them on their respective “Overrides” menus.

The “Runtime Turbo Ratio” setting allows ratio controls from a Windows-based application, but it also sets all Turbo Boost ratios simultaneously. As with most other motherboards, enabling this setting with our problematic CPUs prevented Windows from loading. Alternatively, setting every Turbo Boost ratio to 36x with a 121.92 MHz BCLK gave us a consistent 4.36 GHz CPU clock at full load, regardless of the number of active cores.

Primary and most secondary timings are adjustable from the DRAM Overrides menu, along with DRAM voltage and multiplier. XMP is also functional for those who lack either the time or skill to manually configure maximum memory performance.

Like many of its partners, Intel now offers built-in overclocking profiles. Of course those don't work with our CPU due to its rare (but clearly not isolated) multiplier condition.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.