ASUS ROG Maximus III Formula Reviewccokeman - September 17, 2009
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The Extreme Tweaker section of the BIOS is where you make the performance magic happen if the included software utilities give you the level of performance you demand or if you have graduated to the ranks of the enthusiasts. In this section you can adjust a myriad of options that will help you reach that performance plateau.
There are plenty of options to choose from at the start. The AI Overclock Tuner lets you choose how you want to overclock. XMP, CPU Level Up Manual and Memory are your options. I left this setting at manual to tweak the performance level myself. By choosing CPU Level Up you have a level of performance to choose from based on processor frequencies as well as the "Crazy" level. The Memory option lets you set preset levels for the memory. By doing so the rest of the parameters will be automatically adjusted to try and reach this level. The CPU Ratio setting is limited by the processor used. Under the CPU configuration tab you have the ability to adjust the CPU multiplier, set up the energy saving technologies and decide whether or not to enable all of the cores.
Intel's Speedstep technology can be enabled or disabled. The bclock frequency can be adjusted up to a lofty 500MHz, although over 220MHz seems to be difficult for the masses. PCI-E frequency can be adjusted from 100MHz to 200MHz with a bump up to 105 seems beneficial for increasing the bclock frequency. The available Dram frequencies are limited by the processor installed. In this picture an i5 750 is installed. The QPI frequency can be set to one of two multipliers.
In the DRAM timing control section you can set the memory timings and a myriad of subtimings to pull the most performance and stability from your modules. Next you have the voltage amplitude and skew settings for the processor and PCH. These can again help gain stability when pushing the ragged edge and you are looking for that last little tweak to get stable.
Next up we get to the voltage options. In this area the Maximus does not lack for tweakability. The first option is the OV, or Over Voltage control. This lets you choose to allow voltage settings far above what ASUS and Intel would recommend. This however means that this is where the hardcore bencher is gonna play. Load Line Calibration is used to minimize the voltage droop that Intel has designed into the Core series processors. There are three levels to choose from based on how you would like the voltage applied. Full Phase control is either on Auto or Full phase CPU Voltage can be set to Vid or offset allowing the voltage to be applied differently.. The voltage available to the CPU maxes at 2.2 under Vid and 1.9 when offset mode is used.
The rest of the voltages and limits can be viewed below and represent what can and cannot be used to pick up the low lying fruit while overclocking. Looking at how high the memory voltage goes I think you will run out of memory before you run out of nerve to use the maximum voltage with a 2.5 volts maximum.
The last thing I want to show in the Extreme Tweaker section is the OC profile configuration. Here you can set and manage any overclocking profiles so that you can have profiles for when you are pushing the limits. This way there is no need to memorize the everyday settings you use. You can just put them as a profile.