ASRock X58 SuperComputer Motherboard - BIOS and Overclocking

Article Index
ASRock X58 SuperComputer Motherboard
Close Look at the ASRock X58 SuperComputer
X58 Features and Specifications
BIOS and Overclocking
Test Setup, HDD Testing and More
Synthetic System, CPU and Memory
Real World Application Benchmarks
Game Performance and Final Thoughts

ASRock X58 SuperComputer BIOS:

The motherboard BIOS is probably one of the most boring areas to look at if you're not an overclocker or enthusiast.  Mainstream users will probably want to skip down to the overclocking section to see how easy it is to tweak and overclock this board.  For you hardcore users, check out the BIOS screenshots of the 2.10 BIOS below.  During testing, ASRock updated the BIOS several times, and the last update gave us rock solid results with 3GB, 6GB and 12GB memory kits installed.  We were able to use all of the features advertised without any issues - thanks to the 2.10 BIOS.  Many sections like "Boot Order" have been left out as we simply can't handle that much excitement.  For now, the advanced bios settings will have to keep you happy - and tweaking your RAM, CPU and voltages until your heart's content.

BIOS - Main Screen  
BIOS - Main Screen

 

ASRock uses the AMI BIOS and while this isn't my favorite BIOS to work with, it's still functional and laid out quite well.  Most of the stuff is fairly bland and familiar to you so we are going to jump into some "Advanced" BIOS settings right off the bat.  The X58 chipset brings some new features to the table.  This is due in part to the integrated memory controller.  It also has to do with how the Intel CPU architecture has changed.  Notice the different CPU screen below.

 BIOS - Advanced
BIOS - Advanced
 BIOS - Advanced CPU
BIOS - Advanced CPU
BIOS - Advanced Chipset
BIOS - Advanced Chipset

 

As with all X58 motherboard models I've seen; ASRock is fairly generous with their CPU BLK Frequency.  You can key in any speed from 133MHz to 300MHz while the PCIe Frequency can be keyed in anywhere from 100MHz to 200MHz.  You can leave a lot of the CPU Ratio, QPI Frequency, and Uncore Frequency settings on Auto, but for the screenshot above (and for overclocking) you'll want to be familiar with these and tweak them.


In terms of memory tweaking, there are a couple of different angles to approach from.  By default, XMP memory settings are set to "Auto", but you can select a specific profile if more than one profile is present.  The Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3-1600 kit we used for this review has two profiles available as you can see below.

BIOS - XMP Memory
BIOS - XMP Memory
BIOS - Memory Speed
BIOS - Memory Speed

 

If you don't have XMP Memory you can manually select your memory speed from the available options of DDR3 800, DDR3 1066, DDR3 1333, DDR3 1600, DDR3 1866 and DDR3 2133 and then go in and set up your memory speeds.  It's nice that ASRock has provided such a wide range of memory multipliers on this board so that you can crank up your fast memory kit without pushing your entire system into the realm of instability.

ASRock has played nice with overclockers as they offer a full spectrum of voltage adjustments and a wide range to play with.  You can certainly damage your hardware with the range they give you so make sure you pay attention to the warnings and take baby steps when tweaking.

  • CPU Voltage -=- 0.84375v-1.6v in 0.00625v increments
  • DRAM Voltage -=- 1.53v-2.451v
  • DRAM CTRL Ref Voltage -=- -0.06741v- +0.08v
  • DRAM DATA Ref Voltage -=- -0.06741v- +0.08v
  • IOH Voltage -=- 1.1v-1.49v
  • VTT Offset Voltage -=- +0mV-300mV in 100mV increments
  • ICH Voltage -=- 1.12v-1.56v in 0.02v increments
  • IOH CSI Voltage -=- 1.12v-1.56v in 0.02v increments
  • IOH/ICH PCIe Voltage -=- 1.52v-1.9v in 0.02v increments
  • CPU PLL Voltage -=- 1.82v-2.50v in 0.02 increments 
 BIOS - Voltage
BIOS - Voltage
BIOS - Advanced IDE
BIOS - Advanced IDE
BIOS - HWMonitor
BIOS - HWMonitor

 

Overclocking:

Most of the overclocking results have been documented in our Core i7 920 CPU review over here.  Just like in the EVGA X58 3X SLI motherboard review, we tried to max out the bus and reduce the multiplier in order to achieve the highest bus possible.  We found our bus speed results to be exactly the same as with the EVGA board so this concludes a bit of our suspicion that the CPU is limiting our bus overclocks.  We still managed to get to 214MHz stable and tweaked out at 220MHz with about 98% stability.  Better cooling or a little more voltage might have made this stable, but we were pushing the voltages a bit as it was.  In order to get our CPU stable, we had to run the CPU voltage at 1.47v in order to keep it up around 1.4v.

CPU-Z Stock
CPU-Z Stock
4242MHz
4242MHz

 

For this X58 motherboard review we thought we'd stick to basics for the most part.  That being said, we tested the Core i7 920 at stock speeds and did some overclocking by trying to reach the highest CPU speed as possible as well as by reaching the highest FSB as possible.  This is the default setup that most consumers will use out of the box and gives a very good representation of how the Core i7 920 performs. Our best CPU scores come from the original Intel Core i7 920 review and although we managed to turn down the CPU multiplier and turn up the FSB a little more, the end results weren't as good as when the multiplier was at stock 21x202 FSB = 4242MHz.

 CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
 CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory

 

On the next page we'll start testing out the board and dive into the HDD, Audio and Network subsystems before we get into overall performance testing.