BIOS and Overclocking
Now it's down to the BIOS and one thing is for sure, DFI has done a fantastic job when it comes to this part.
First off the main BIOS window shows up just like any of the other boards that DFI has manufactured. To get the overclocking features up you need to open the Genie BIOS Settings menu, from there it just gets better.
We have never seen a BIOS with so many features, and they aren't all shown here due to screen size. To give you a bit of an idea of what's on offer we have comprised this little list of the frequency and voltage settings.
CPU: 0 to 511MHz in 1MHz increments
DRAM Ratio: 133, 166, 200, 266, 333, 400, 533
DRAM Overclock Frequency: 133MHz to 658MHz in 3MHz increments
PCI Express: 100MHz to 150MHz in 1MHz increments
CPU VID Control: 0.44375V to 1.60000V in 0.00625V increments
CPU VID Add Special: 100% to 125.25 in 0.025% increments
DDR2 Voltage: 1.50V ~ 3.01V in 0.02v ranging increments
CPU VTT: 1.21v to 1.59v in ranging increments
NB Core: 1.3v to 2.18v in ranging increments
NB PLL 1.2: 1.21v to 1.46v in ranging increments
NB PLL: 1.8v: 1.83v to 2.51v in ranging increments
NB PCI-E: 1.22v to 1.6v in ranging increments
SB Core: 1.23v to 1.59v in ranging increments
One other of the feature we must note that if you disable the CPU PLL override it gives you a few extra MHz on your FSB, however when we tested this it proved to be too unstable.
To this end though we managed to get the full 511MHz FSB out of the test system with only raising the CPU voltage to 1.4v, DRAM to 2.24v, and leaving the rest of the voltages at stock. It's clear that this board can do more, however without any further FSB MHz available in the BIOS we can't get our board faster than what DFI have allowed.
Having said that though, even compared to the best Intel P965, 975X and nForce 680i boards we have reviewed, the DFI motherboard manages to offer the best FSB overclocking by around 25MHz and that's sure to mean something when it comes to our benchmarks. DFI has clearly worked very hard on their BIOS but let's hope they continue tweaking and allow for an even higher FSB.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we don't have enough time to tweak the motherboard to the maximum and find the highest possible FSB as this could take days to properly find. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking or as new BIOS updates are released or "burn in" time might come into play if you believe in that.