BIOS and Overclocking Support
This time we are doing our look at the BIOS in a different way.
We are going to only explain the overclocking features in a set. We are doing the MSI motherboards as one as their BIOS setups are identical (just a few different features) and DFI separately as their BIOS is different.
All of MSI's motherboards use the Cell Menu to hold the overclocking features. All boards use the same setup, just different variations on what is supported for each setup. The K9N Neo has very little to offer overclockers - it supports DDR voltage adjustments from 1.8v up to 2.4v in 0.1v increments and CPU FSB from 200MHz up to 400MHz in 1MHz increments. Since we couldn't change the CPU multiplier (from 10) we were stuck with a max FSB of 225MHz giving our CPU a clock speed of 2.25GHz.
The K9N SLI and K9N Platinum motherboards have some different options available:
CPU Ratio adjustments can be changed from 4x up to max of the CPU (10x for our 3800+) CPU FSB also can be altered from 200MHz up to 450MHz in 1MHz increments.
Voltages are also in a good range; CPU voltage can be adjusted from 1.3v up to 1.6v in 0.025v increments. DRAM voltage adjusts from 1.8v up to 2.4v in 0.1v increments.
Chipset voltages go from 1.3v to 1.5v in 0.1v increments for Northbridge, 1.5v to 1.7v for Southbridge and 1.3v to 1.4v for HTT.
With these settings we managed to hit 352MHz FSB without any problems - we used a 6x multiplier to give us just over 2.11GHz for our overclock tests.
Now onto DFI:
Located under the Main BIOS menu is Genie BIOS Menu. This has all the clock options. FID can be changed under the main menu; you can adjust from 4x up to the maximum your CPU supports (in our case 10x).
CPU voltage ranges from 1.0v up to 1.60v in 0.025v increments. DRAM voltage goes from 1.8v up to 3.0v in 0.05v increments, the best we have seen for DDR-2 voltages. Chipset voltage ranges from 1.2v to 1.5v in 0.1v increments for the Northbridge, 1.5v to 1.8v for the Southbridge and 1.3v to 1.5v for the Hyper Transport voltages. FSB ranges from 200MHz up to 500MHz in 1MHz increments.
With these settings we managed to get 375MHz FSB with DRAM 2.2v and all other voltages set at stock. We did try a few extra voltage tweaks and we did get more speed but that resulted in a few too many random reboots. We use a 6x multiplier to give us 2.25GHz for overclock tests - quite an impressive FSB!