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Seven $260-$320 X79 Express Motherboards, Reviewed


BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
ASRock X79 Extreme9Asus P9X79 ProECS X79R-AXFoxconn Quantumian-1
Base Clock90-300 MHz (1 MHz)80-300 MHz (0.1 MHz)50-250 MHz (1 MHz)100-125 MHz (0.1 MHz)
CPU Multiplier12x to 60x (1x)12x to 57x (1x)12x to 65x (1x)Unlimited
DRAM Data Rates800-2400 (266.6 MHz)800-2666 (266.6 MHz)1066-2400 (266.6 MHz)1066-2400 (266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.60-1.70 V (5 mV)0.80-1.70 V (5 mV)-0.30 to +0.70 V (10 mV)+0.10 to +0.63V (10 mV)
CPU VCCA0.60-1.70 V (5 mV)0.80-1.70 V (5 mV)-0.30 to +0.60 V (10 mV)+0.10 to +0.63V (10 mV)
VTT Voltage0.95-1.49 V (7 mV)1.05-1.70 V (6.25 mV)-0.20 to +0.50 V (10 mV)1.01-2.01 V (12.5 mV)
X79 PCH Voltage0.73-1.91 V (13 mV)1.10-1.70 V (6.25 mV)-0.20 to +0.30 V (10 mV)1.01-2.01 V (12.5 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.20-1.80 V (15 mV)1.20-1.99 V (5 mV)-0.30 to +0.50 V (10 mV)1.01-2.30 V (12.5 mV)
CAS Latency4-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRCD4-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRP4-15 Cycles4-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles3-15 Cycles
tRAS9-63 Cycles4-40 Cycles9-63 Cycles9-63 Cycles
BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
Gigabyte X79-UD3Intel DX79SIMSI X79A-GD65 8D
Base Clock80-133 MHz (0.01 MHz)90-147 MHz (225 kHz)90-200 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Multiplier12x to 59x (1x)5x to 65x (1x)12x to 60x (1x)
DRAM Data Rates800-3200 (266.6 MHz)800-2400 (266.6 MHz)800-2400 (266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.80-1.74V (5 mV)1.00-1.92 V (5 mV)0.80-1.80 V (5 mV)
CPU VCCA0.83-1.96 V (10 mV)0.85-1.80 V (5 mV)0.85-1.80 V (5 mV)
VTT Voltage0.72-2.08 V (5 mV)1.05-1.80 V (12.5 mV)0.85-1.69 V (10 mV)
X79 PCH Voltage0.83-1.51 V (5 mV)1.10-1.50 V (12.5 mV)0.90-1.90 V (10 mV)
DRAM Voltage1.10-2.10 V (5 mV)1.20-1.93 V (12.5 mV)1.05-2.45 V (15 mV)
CAS Latency5-15 Cycles5-16 Cycles5-15 Cycles
tRCD5-31 Cycles5-16 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRP5-15 Cycles5-16 Cycles4-15 Cycles
tRAS5-63 Cycles15-75 Cycles10-40 Cycles

While chipset limitations make made super-high mainstream LGA 1155 base clocks impossible to achieve, the X79 platform’s base clock ratios also make them unnecessary. For example, Foxconn’s low-looking 125 MHz base clock limit can be multiplied by 1.67 before it gets to the CPU, and the 208 MHz result yields a CPU clock more than 100% above stock.

That’s not to say that any specific combination of hardware can be pushed more than 100% beyond stock. Even by dropping our CPU multiplier, we were unable to push any of these platforms beyond 158 MHz. With the 1.66x strap employed, that should be an underclock for the X79 PCH.

Asus might be the only company with a workaround for our processor’s multiplier issue, but that didn’t make its P9X79 Pro the top overclocker in today’s competition. That honor goes to ASRock, using 36 x 130 MHz in conjunction with a 1.25x strap.

Asus continues to lead in memory overclocking, which is why this editor so often chooses its products for our memory round-ups. That’s not to say memory overclocking packs a particularly noticeable performance punch, but we do like to know the limits of our hardware.

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