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ECS X58B-A Review

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Closer Look:

M.I.B. II Motherboard Intelligent BIOS:

The MIB section of the BIOS is where you can improve the performance of the system by adjusting the clock speeds of the processor, memory, and motherboard through a series of adjustments including memory sub timings and voltages.


















The first option is performance level. This can be set to Standard, Enhanced and Ultra. By increasing the performance level you are changing the base settings the board works with and will ultimately limit the memory divider that can be used. The memory dividers that can be used range from 800MHz to 1600MHz. When Ultra performance level is used, 800MHz was the highest divider I could use.



Configure DRAM timing by SPD allows the board to use the pre programmed timings on the memory's serial presence detect chip. Setting them manually will usually give better performance. There are only five settings to adjust, which means you really will not spend a whole lot of time tweaking in the BIOS on the X58B-A Uncore Ratio can be set to auto or manually set. The most stable setting is when this setting is exactly twice the memory speed. DRAM command rate can be set to auto or use the 1t/2t options.



Enabling the CPU overclocking function allows the CPU frequency to be adjusted manually. The same is true of the PCI-E overclocking function. The best setting for most users will be 100MHz but can be adjusted to try and maximize your overclock. Maximum frequency adjustment for the CPU is 502, with the maximum of 200 for the PCI-E overclocking. The bclock adjustment is totally unrealistic but it can be set. Maybe in the near future...



Enable or disable unused DIMM clock turns off the sockets that are not populated. QPI frequency auto detect can be enabled or disabled to manually set the QPI to between the 4.800GT default for the 920 up to 6.400GT. Spread Spectrum is either disabled or enabled.



The last part of the page is the voltage settings. Here you can manually set your voltages to get the most from your hardware. Adjustment is available on the CPU, the IMC VTT (Integrated Memory Controller), the IOH (X58 Chipset), the DIMM, or memory, voltage and the SB voltage. Each of these can be tweaked to optimize the performance of your installed hardware. The voltages all go well into what would be considered the death zone for most users but for the hardcore bencher they are just a start. Shown below are the possible settings. At the bottom of the MIB section is a synopsis of the current voltages and settings.





Now it's finally time to see just what the ECS X58B-A has to offer for its $209 price tag.


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