Sapphire Pure Black X58 Reviewccokeman - January 27, 2011
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The BIOS used on the Sapphire Pure Black X58 is by American Megatrends and is not so complex that you will get lost easily. Everything is laid out in an easy to locate ladder style arrangement. Most motherboard manufacturers provide a software tool for use in the operating system to tweak a predefined set of items including voltages and the bclock setting. Sapphire is no different with their TRIXX utility. Some of these utilities are quite elaborate and others less robust but it gives the novice overclocker a starting point. In the end, applying the settings you choose is best done in the BIOS. The version used in the testing of the Pure Black X58 is 080016
The main section is the first screen you get to see when you boot into the BIOS by hitting the delete key. If contains basic information about the CPU and memory along with the time and date.
Under this tab you will be making all the changes that will improve the performance of your system. The bclock, voltages and memory timings all fall under this tab. Additionally you have the ability to save specific BIOS settings to a profile that can be loaded. Other than the profile options there are three submenus that contain the CPU specific settings. Under CPU configuration you can enable or disable the energy saving technologies such as C1E and Intel Speedstep as well as turning on or off Intel Hyper-threading and Turbo Boost technology. Under Memory Timing configuration you can set the latencies of the installed system memory or allow the XMP profile to take the guesswork out of the settings. The third submenu is Voltage Configuration. Under this tab you can manipulate the voltages applied to the on board and installed components including the CPU , memory and chipsets in order to feed the components the voltages needed to perform at the speeds you want to run. An interesting adjustment being seen more frequently now is the PWM frequency adjustment.
Under this tab you are able to configure and enable or disable the onboard hardware. The IEE1394a controller, sound controller, SATA 3 controller, Marvell LAN controller and debug LED functionality are all items that can controlled. The Hardware Health configuration functions are viewable under this tab. USB and power down modes can be set as well.
IDE Busmaster functions and allocating IRQ settings manually are options under this tab.
Under this tab you have the ability to identify which drives will be the primary boot drives and the order in which they are polled during the boot sequence. Other features such as boot up Num lock and Quick boot and what errors will stop the post sequence are set in this menu.
Security & Exit:
Under the Security tab you have the ability to set a password to protect the BIOS from any unwanted intrusion such as when the board is used in an office setting. You don't want an adventurous soul compromising the stability of the platform. The Exit tab allows you to exit the BIOS in several different ways as well as giving you the ability to load up the optimal BIOS settings after a failed post attempt.
Most of the adjustments for voltages are not as granular as you see on high end motherboard offerings but the settings available are enough to get you where you want to go. Will the Pure Black X58 be an 'also ran' or deliver an increased level of performance than the comparison field? That is the question to be answered.