Overclocking & BIOS
Before we move to the overclocking results, there were two issues we noticed when working with this BIOS. First and foremost the BIOS was very slow, making it somewhat annoying to navigate. This is an issue we have not run into before when testing Gigabyte motherboards, so we are hoping a simple update will correct the problem.
The second equally bothersome issue was the inability to manage BIOS profiles/configurations, which can be very irritating when trying to overclock. These days it is just assumed that any motherboard costing over $250 will provide you with that kind of ability. Again this is something we hope Gigabyte can correct in a future update.
Now, once in the MB Intelligent Tweaker menu we were able to reach a 4.0GHz overclock using a Core i7 965 Extreme Edition processor (from the original 3.20GHz). We set the CPU Clock Ratio to 26x and increased the BCLK Frequency to 154Mhz. The DRAM frequency was boosted to 1543MHz, while the QPI frequency was slightly overclocked to 7.4GHz. Finally the CPU voltage was increased to 1.40v, which we considered to be safe enough.
Because we were running the memory above specification, the DRAM voltage was increased to 1.64v, which is the highest recommended setting; going higher could damage the processor, we've been told. All other BIOS settings were left as is, meaning a total of six settings were altered in order to reach this impressive overclock.
Pushing the Core i7 965 Extreme Edition processor past 4.0GHz was difficult, and each time we tried we were met with numerous stability issues. This seems to be the limit of our processor, at least when using an air-cooler. Still, a 4.0GHz overclock on such a powerful processor is nothing to be ashamed about, as you will see once we begin benchtesting.
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