The BIOS on the P7P55 WS is the one we have come to know and love/hate from an ASUS board.
Most of the items you will be tinkering around with are located in the AI Tweaker section. This is a nice little area that has more than a few options for kicking any CPU you drop into the P7P55 WS into high gear.
One nice feature on the WS and other ASUS boards is the Q-Fan controls. We normally do not talk about fan profiles when we cover the BIOS, but this is one time where we thought it was worth the effort.
During testing I noticed that the fans seemed to be quite loud even at idle and with the EPU-6 software running. A quick check of the BIOS found the Q-Fan profile to be set to Turbo for the CPU fans. After a quick adjustment to Silent the system was whisper quiet (except for the GPU fan). For testing I turned the Q-Fan off, but it is a very nice feature and one that we do want to dive into in another review.
Overclocking the P7P55 WS SuperComputer was as easy as any ASUS board. I simply dropped into the BIOS and used the CPU Level up to get things started. Using this tool will generally give you more voltage than you need to be on the safe side for the speed you have selected. This is not a bad thing really, but I have found that you can often push much farther when even leaving the same voltage settings from a lower auto clock.
We chose 3.5GHz from the CPU Level up and then pushed on to 4.1GHz with only minor tweaks to the CPU Voltage and CPU PLL voltage. This is right around where you should be with this CPU when you leave Turbo Mode and Hyper Threading on. Unfortunately we did have to drop the RAM speed down; I am not completely sure why, but it did not want to run at anything other than 1120MHz when we pushed the CPU.
You can see the validation for the Xeon X3470 here.
We have covered TurboV for you before, but this time we have something a little different to talk about. This new mode does not actually have a name; it is more of a custom DDR3-1600 mode. From my understanding this nice little feature allows you to hard set the memory to 1600MHz @ 1.65 Volts and from there take off and run with the overclock.
According to ASUS this is the most aggressive auto overclocking mode they have come up with to date. Due to time constraints we were not able to dive too deeply into this feature, but we did see it give an OC that was just below our high clock of 4.1GHz. This was much higher than the Auto Tuning when set to Easy or Extreme. Keep an eye out for our follow-on using this mode and some good high end DDR3-2000 RAM.
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.