Getting into the BIOS is an easy task, as is finding and using the overclocking tools inside the BIOS.
For our testing we used the F6 version of the BIOS. This added some stability tweaks for memory and also fixed a very annoying issue we had installing Windows 7 (we will cover that under the system comments on the following page). After getting into the Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker page we found a wealth of options for getting the most performance out of your CPU.
Unfortunately to get to all of the areas you need to tweak your CPU and system, you do have to enter more than a few sub-menus. These are for the Advanced CPU features.
Advanced Clock Control (and QPI settings).
And Advanced Voltage control. I would have thought they would put the CPU PLL Voltage on the main M.I.T. page, but instead it got listed in the Advanced Voltage section.
The peripherals page is a rather long one and as you can see, has more than a few options for dealing with the extra ports and features of the X58A-UD7.
Our overclocking experience with the X58A-UD7 was not too bad. We did see some issues at higher clock speeds (over 163 BCLK), but they could have multiple causes including being memory related. Still, at our final clock of 4.238GHz the X58A-UD7 was very stable.
You can see the validation for the i5 661 with the GMA HD here.
Easy Tune 6
As a part of all of our reviews now we are going to touch on any software based overclocking tools that may be included. With GIGABYTE this is going to be Easy Tune.
Here you can see your system status at a glance as well as overclock the CPU, memory and GPU fairly quickly.
On the actual tuner page you have three options for how you want to work things. If you choose "QuickBoost" all you have to do is click one of the three buttons and reboot your system. We gave this a shot and very quickly had our 32nm Gulftown humming along at 4.0GHz.
You also have options for both an easy and an advanced overclocking method. With the Easy you do not have options for voltage control. With the Advanced you have the options for all the same voltage options as you do in the BIOS.
As we mentioned above, you can also kick up the clock on your GPU from this handy little tool.
You also have a fairly decent monitoring utility.
As all overclocking results are dependent on the hardware you use, your results may vary. Results of our overclocking tests are included in the performance section with the stock scores.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. 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. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.