Overclocking & BIOS
When it comes to overclocking, we'd say that Asus delivers 9 out of 10 times. We really have had a great track record with their boards in the last few years.
The P6T Deluxe may be their first Core i7 motherboard, but it was no exception to the rule above, delivering the best overclocking results we've achieved with these processors so far. While the result itself was impressive, it was the ease of the overclocks that impressed us the most.
Just a few weeks ago we showed you three new Core i7 processors for the first time: the 920, 940, and 965 Extreme Edition. In that article we only had time to overclock the Core i7 965 Extreme Edition processor, and we managed to get a stable 3.80GHz frequency using an Intel motherboard. Using the same processor on the Asus P6T Deluxe, a stable 4.0GHz overclock came all too easily.
We paid a visit to the “Ai Tweaker” menu in the Asus P6T Deluxe BIOS in order to reach the 4.0GHz overclock. Here we set the Ai Overclock Tuner setting to manual, increased the CPU ratio setting to x26, and set the base clock frequency to 154MHz. This boosted the DDR3 frequency 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. Also, 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 just six settings were altered in order to reach this impressive overclock.
Before we hung up our boots, we cracked out the Core i7 920 to see where we would end up using the cheapest of the three Core i7 processors. Now because this processor has a locked multiplier of 20x, the only way to increase the frequency is to boost the base clock. We changed this from 133MHz to 190MHz, resulting in a total clock frequency of 3.80GHz, a healthy 43% overclock. Not bad for a sub-$300 Core i7 processor, and it was all made possible by the Asus P6T Deluxe.
Overall the overclocking abilities of the Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard were impressive and easily surpassed those of our pre-production Intel X58 motherboard. The BIOS while not only functional, was very easy to navigate and use.