ASRock X58 Extreme 3 Motherboard - BIOS and Overclocking

Article Index
ASRock X58 Extreme 3 Motherboard
Closer Look at the X58 Extreme 3
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 Extreme 3 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 find out if this Extreme board is extremely easy to tweak.  For you hardcore users, check out the BIOS screenshots of the 1.50 BIOS below.  During testing, ASRock updated the BIOS a couple of times but as we had no issues, we stuck with the 1.50 BIOS to keep performance on the same plane.  Although the board supports SATA 3.0, our test drive from Crucial didn't arrive in time for the review but it will be coming shortly and we'll test it on this board.  As far as BIOS features, 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


ASRock has stuck with the AMI BIOS and while it still isn't my favorite, I'm getting used to it and it seems to work alright.  At first glance, you'd assume that this board is geared for the Tweaker as the first tab in the BIOS - other than the "Main" tab is "OC Tweaker".  In this section you have many of the simple overclocking, memory, voltage and profile settings available to you.

OC Tweaker
OC Tweaker #1
OC Tweaker
OC Tweaker #2
OCTweak - RAM Speed
OC Tweaker - RAM Speed
OCTweak - Timings
OC Tweaker - RAM Timings



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-2.0v in 0.00625v increments
  • DRAM Voltage -=-0.964 v-1.999v in 0.015v increments
  • IOH Voltage -=- 1.1v-1.49v in 0.016v increments
  • VTT Voltage -=- 1.2v-1.9V in 1.07v 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 


Advanced - CPU
Advanced CPU
Advanced - Chipset
Advanced Chipset
Advanced - Storage
Advanced Storage
Advanced - USB
Advanced USB


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. 



Just as in all of our motherboard reviews, we tried to max out the bus and reduce the multiplier in order to achieve the highest bus possible.  I soon discovered that this board simply doesn't have the heart to overclock like the ASRock X58 Supercomputer.  With similar settings and voltages, I couldn't get the board to post running faster than 165MHz Bus Speed, and managed to run rock stable at 159 - that is a pretty weak showing for a board that looks like it has a lot of promise.  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
Weak OC
Weak OC


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. Sadly we couldn't even reach 3.4GHz stable on this board - and we've managed to hit 4.2GHz with this CPU.

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.