BIOS and Overclocking
Not much has changed when it comes to the look and feel of the BIOS that the Gigabyte 965P-DQ6 uses. For the choice of BIOS, Gigabyte has gone with the traditional Award BIOS version 6.0. These BIOS's uses the blue screen with the simple navigation menus which we are used to.
One nice feature of the latest BIOS on the 6-Quad is the elimination of the need to press the CTRL+F1 key like you have to do in the other boards. This is because this board is aimed at the overclockers and power users, who want these options rather than having to enter BIOS each time and press the keystroke.
We used the latest F3 BIOS revision from Gigabyte with our review which was the most recent at the time of writing. To get to the overclocking options you need to navigate to the MB Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T) menu which you will find all the tweaking options for both the CPU and memory.
When you enter the M.I.T menu there is a complete set of overclocking settings for you to get your grubby mitts on. First off the return of the Gigabyte Auto overclocking feature called C.I.A.2 which Overclocks the CPU to a certain percentage when the system load increases.
First on the list is the CPU Clock Ratio. This allows you to set your CPU Multiplier from its maximum (depending on what CPU speed you have defines the maximum ratio you can select) or down to 6x for Core 2 Duo processors. Core 2 Extreme you can set any multiplier you want as all Core 2 Extreme processors are multiplier unlocked for maximum overclocking potential.
Next we come to the Host Clock Frequency. In order to change the Host Clock Frequency you need to set the Host Clock Control Option to Enable. You can adjust the Host Clock Frequency from 100MHz up to 600MHz in 1MHz increments.
PCI Express Frequency give you control over the PCI Express Bus. Locking this to 100MHz will give you a stable PCI Express bus. If you want to play with overclocking the PCI Express bus you can adjust it from 100MHz to 150MHz in 1MHz increments.
DIMM Overvoltage control is your gateway to DRAM voltage selections. In BIOS you can set it from +0.0V to a maximum of 0.775v in 0.025v increments. This provides you from 1.8v up to 2.575v. It would be nice if Gigabyte would simply give you the actual voltage numbers of the memory to help you rather than having to do math to get the voltages.
PCI-E Overvoltage Control you will only want to play with if you plan to overclock the PCI-E bus - you can adjust this from +0.0v to +0.35V in 0.05v increments. This is from 1.5v default to 1.85v.
(G)MCH Overvoltage controls the voltage supplied to the Northbridge. This is again available from +0.0v to 0.75v in 0.05v increments. This is from 1.5v to 2.25v
Next is the FSB Overvoltage. This supplied extra bit of juice to the link between the MCH and the CPU. This goes from +0.0V to +0.35v in 0.05v increments. This gives you 1.2v default to 1.55v.
Lastly on the list is the CPU Overvoltage. This is definitely the mother of all settings from Gigabyte. You can go as low as 0.6875V up to a maximum of 2.375v in 0.025v increments. Core 2 processors run around 1.325v normal voltage. So you have a LOT of voltage to play with.
Our overclocking attempts with Gigabyte's motherboard were extremely impressive.
With a Core 2 Extreme we lowered the CPU multiplier down to 6x to eliminate the overall CPU clock as the bottleneck as much as possible, since we are mostly just interested in the highest possible FSB.
From here we managed an FSB of 443MHz stable. This gave us 2.26GHz with the CPU voltage at default, DRAM voltage at 2.2v, MCH at +0.25v, PCI E at defaults, FSB overvoltage at +0.3v and our DRAM at 1:1 Divider rating.