Asus P6T Reviewccokeman - March 10, 2009
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The AI Tweaker section of the BIOS is where you make the magic happen. In this section you can adjust the voltages, memory speeds and subtimings, skew levels and more to get the most from the hardware installed in the P6T Deluxe. The first thought with this BIOS is that I thought I had a DFI motherboard; those who are familiar will understand that comment, for the rest, DFI offered a level of tweakability that not many, if any, manufacturers choose to show in the BIOS. This is a back handed compliment I guess. But the BIOS has plenty of adjustment ability, so if you want to get down and dirty and touch each setting, you have that ability. There are only two pages to this section but they are filled with adjustments, these pages are the main and memory timings page.
Starting at the top of the page you have the A.I. Overclock tuner that can be set to Auto, Manual, D.O.C.P., or XMP. Auto is, of course, just that everything is set for you. Manual gives you full control over all of the settings, D.O.C.P. is used for memory overclocking via the baseclock frequency while XMP has all of the options optimized for overclocked operation and sets the speeds and voltages on the installed components so that they can operate in this mode. CPU ratio setting allows you to increase or decrease the baseclock multiplier up to the maximum capabilities of the processor. If using the Core I7 965, a multiplier of 63 is possible whereas the 920 and 940 are limited.
Intel Speedstep and Turbo tech mode can only be set to enabled or disabled. The Turbotech function allows the processor to bump up the clock frequency by increasing the baseclock multiplier in situations where additional performance is needed. On the I7 CPUs this is bumped by one or two multiplier steps.
The DRAM frequency allows you to set the starting frequency level for the system memory. This setting is the starting point so when setting this the thing to remember is that adjusting the baseclock frequency will increase the memory speed and result in instability if you do not take this into account. The UNCLK clock frequency must at all times be exactly 2x the memory speed or greater. The QPI data rate can be lowered to increase the memory speed but you may take a hit in perfromance if you move down too early. The 6400MT/s setting is only available with the I7 965.
Before the voltage options are the memory subtimings and skew levels. This page is accessed by entering the DRAM timing control. This is the part of the BIOS that is reminiscent of DFI motherboards at least for me, and you can see why. At least the options are there when the time comes to push the limits.
The voltage controls on the P6T fall at the lower end of the A.I.Tweaker page. Most of what you would expect is there along with some new items. CPU voltage without changing the high voltage jumper is locked at 1.7 volts but is capable of 2.1 volts. The PLL volts start at 1.8 volts and can be adjusted up to 2.5 volts! The QPI/DRAM voltage control is for the memory controller voltage. Upping this can help with baseclock overclocking. It is adjustable up to 1.9 volts after the additional voltage jumper is enabled.
The ICH and IOH voltages can help with baseclock overclocking as seen on the DX58SO. The DRAM bus voltage can be adjusted upwards of 2.4 volts with the over voltage jumper being changed to accommodate this. Intel specifies that memory voltage should not exceed 1.65 volts for long term reliability. With the current crop of memory coming out to support the Core I7 and X58 platforms at speeds of up to 1000MHz at 1.65 volts, the additional voltage may well not be needed.
Additional options are available to squeeze the most from the I7 CPU and the P6T . Adjusting these parameters can help you achieve that massive overclock you are looking for but your mileage may vary. DRAM reference voltages adjustable by channel, loadline calibration, and voltage skew settings are some of these options.
This BIOS offers up enough tweaking options to be able to accomplish your goals whether it's just a small overclock or the ability to push your hardware's limits with stability.