While Asus has been known for having good quality BIOS’ on their motherboards, there has consistently been an area that Asus and other Tier 1 vendors have ignored in the super-extreme overclocker. Boards like the DFI LanParty NF4 series set new levels of expectations for the hardcore overclocker with very minute and detailed setting available to user control in the BIOS. Asus has attempted to address that crowd here; and in my opinion have done one better.
Since this board is using the nForce 590 SLI cihpset, the one that NVIDIA has touted as the overclocker’s dream, it’s no wonder we are seeing all the options we are going to here.
Jumping right into things, the Extreme Tweaker menu has these options on the first screen showing you the option to do auto-overclocking courtesy of Asus AI Tuning technology or, more likely, setting it to manual so you can do it your damn self.
Asus starts off with CPU frequency settings up to 400 MHz in 1 MHz increments…
…and multiplier adjustments (down only if you don’t have an FX processor) up to 25x.
The memory ratio is adjusted based on this setting, with a DDR2-800 setting being equal to a 1:4 ratio (CPU frequency to memory frequency).
The PCI Express clocks are adjustable, independently, up to 200 MHz from their 100 MHz default setting.
We can also adjust the multiplier on the HyperTransport connections between the CPU and northbridge, up to 5x for a full 1 GHz speed at default clock rates.
For the communication between the north and south bridges, we can set both up to 400 MHz (200 MHz is default)…
…as well as the multiplier to that frequency, up to 5x. The same speed settings are available for the reverse communication (south to north bridge) as well.
And finally, on the HT connections, you can adjust the data width on this communications channel down to 8 bits both ways if it will help your overclocking stability.
Starting into the voltages, Asus has setup a dual-menu system for CPU voltage adjustment. Here you set the range that you’d like the processor voltage to be in, to a 0.10v range.
And then you fine tune that voltage in the submenu with individual 0.00625v steps! This is by far the most precise voltage regulation I have seen, and Asus was able to make it user friendly by utilizing the two menu system.
Memory voltages can be adjusted all the way up to 3.425v!! Be sure your memory is capable of handling this and you have some good cooling on them as well before just setting this limit.
HyperTransport voltages can be modified up to 1.575v…
…north bridge voltages up to 1.575v…
…south bridge voltages up to 1.875v….
…and the south bridge’s PLL up to 1.85v.
Here is where we start getting into the sticky, high-tech, detailed BIOS settings. Users can adjust the DDR2 termination power up to 150mV over the default.
You can adjust the DDR2 memory controller and the individual channels on the memory up to 150mV over default as well.
Continuing with memory, we have the entrance menu into memory timing control. You can see that Asus has setup this first page to be easy to read for most DIY-ers and system builders by only including the major memory timings like CAS latency and the 1T/2T memory timings here. This keeps the BIOS menus easy to read and navigate for beginners.
Interestingly, you have the option to set the DRAM interface to 64-bits if desired.
The Asus BIOS explicitly allows you to set 1T and 2T timings; most other boards only allow 2T or Auto, leaving some ambiguity with the end user as to the setting.
Clock skews have been seen in some other BIOS’ recently and allow the user to pin point their memory controller to their specific DIMM modules, if they can get the correct information. This can improve stability in overclocked setups.