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Seven $260-$320 X79 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

P9X79 Pro UEFI

Asus appears to be the only firm with a solution to the multiplier issue plaguing our two C1-stepping Core i7-3960X processors. Every X79-based board we've tested from the firm boots and enters Windows at high frequencies using pedestrian multiplier adjustments. Competing platforms require BCLK-based overclocking with our problematic CPUs (and apparently, a small percentage of retail chips based on this stepping as well).

Frequency and ratio controls occupy the top of Asus’ Ai Tweaker menu. Multiplying a 101 MHz base clock by 46x gets us to 4.65 GHz, which is an excellent result at 1.35 V, the setting we deemed safe enough for everyday use.

Voltage controls are found a little farther down the Ai Tweaker’s main menu, providing CPU core, CSA, VTT, and PLL options, along with DIMM and PCH. Our 1.35 V target was achieved at the board’s 1.345 V setting.

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Per-channel DRAM reference voltage levels consume much of the remaining Ai Tweaker main menu, while CPU features are diverted to a separate submenu.

The middle Load-Line Calibration option kept our CPU near its target voltage when placed under the stress of twelve Prime95 threads.

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Primary, secondary, and tertiary timings are available to please even the most aggressive memory overclocker.

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