Just before going to press we received a new version of the bios which meant we had to retest this section. It is just as well we did however as we found overclocking to be more stable.
The Bios is fully featured when it comes to overclocking with the base clock able to be adjusted from 100mhz to 300mhz in 1mhz increments. CPU voltage can be moved from 0.84375V to 1.6000 V in 0.00625V increments and CPU VTT Voltage can be moved from 0.815C to 1.595 V in 0.075V increments. Chipset voltage can also be adjusted from 1.065V to 1.490V in 0.01 increments.
The basic overview screen which details the processor and memory installed. The bios defaults to safe settings when memory is first installed. our memory for instance is massively underclocked, so a simple setting change to read from the profile would be needed.
Our DDR3 2200mhz modules were immediately detected and supported which was good to see, especially as another board we are testing didn’t like them at all.
A full list of voltages are offered with the ability to quickly save and load offered via an intuitive area in the bios.
The ASRock method of upgrading is completely pain free. You copy the bios file onto a USB drive, attach it to the machine, boot up and enter the bios to flash directly. You can also press F6 when posting to go directly to this, bypassing the need to enter the bios at all. Very nice.
Hardware monitoring is supported and we noticed that this board was actually quite accurate when we compared against our diodes. There is between a 1-3c variance, which is class leading.
Boot settings options are pretty much like many other boards we have used before.
Using the XMP profile on our ADATA memory also proved painless and totally stable – registering 2200mhz without any problems.
For those of you who really can’t be bothered learning a bios inside and out for overclocking, ASRock offer several ‘pre configured’ options depending on the CPU installed. Our Core i5 750 registered 40% and 50% overclock settings. the 40% option posted without a problem and the system was running at just under 3.8ghz. The bios handles all the voltages and timings, although we didn’t like the fact it adjusted memory to 1140mhz, a little bit of manual tweaking would be needed here.
We then tried the 50% overclock option which had the machine booting at 4ghz. This also had the upside of massively increasing the memory settings and we were pleased to report a totally stable system. For someone who doesn’t want to overclock manually this is going to be a huge performance boost without any hassles at all.
We were able to manually increase the overclock to 4.2ghz but this required another 0.1 voltage to around 1.47volts (and obviously higher temperatures). All in all we were pleased with the bios automatic settings, although depending on your memory configuration you may need to manually tweak the settings to achieve optimum bandwidth.