The OC Key
So, OC Key didn't get off to a good start with me as I stomped around my office all annoyed by the fact that it didn't work on my 30" monitor. I knew it wouldn't because of the Dual-Link connectivity, but it didn't make it any less annoying when it came to trying it out.
After some hunting around and getting a really grubby looking 24" Dell monitor I had, we got up and running with OC Key and this thing is awesome!
The setup process is really easy - you use the included cable to link between the OC Key and a spot on your motherboard and the actual OC Key itself plugs into your DVI port on your video card, while then the normal DVI cable you'd use plugs into the other end of the OC key.
Once you've hooked it up, you hold the "ROG Connect" button on the back of the board which you saw on the last page for 3 seconds and the OSD shows up. With a PS/2 keyboard plugged in, we're able to move around and adjust the settings of things before we've even turned the system on.
We've got loads of options and it's all really easy to use. You can use the + and - buttons on your keyboard to adjust settings like voltages and the BCLK before your system is even up and running. You can then Remote start the system which is always fun.
Once you turn the system on, another window pops up with the "OSD Poster" and it's essentially a Debug meter on steroids as it gives you a rundown of where it's at during the boot process. From a debugging point of view this is great and because we've got the area it's at written, you don't have to resort to the manual to find out what some two digit code means.
Once you're in Windows, you continue to have it on screen. It can be turned off at any point, though, so don't worry about it getting in the way. You don't have to unplug and plug the OC Key in every time you want to use it.
If you want to make moving around the OC Key in Windows, though, you'll need a second keyboard, otherwise the PS/2 keyboard will just simply default to being used in Windows. With a USB keyboard plugged in to do our normal Windows movement, we use the PS/2 keyboard to go in the options. While we're running a 32M Hyper PI, we push our BCLK up to 102 and apply that. We then move over to the Ratio area and push that to x41 and within a few seconds we're running at 4181.9MHz as you can see in the images above.
While you're doing that stuff, you can head on over to the "OSD Monitor" section and look at the temperature of components on the board. Few people are probably really going to use it, but for people who do the most extreme overclocking, it's something that is going to come in really handy.
Say you're trying to break a 3DMark 11 world record and during one test the overclock on offer causes a crash, while 3DMark 11 is running, you could at the end of one test quickly drop the clocks back so it passes it, then push the clocks back up again once the test was over. It's going to allow for the absolute most fine tuning of overclocking options.
Outside of all that, though, in the end it's just another feature that ASUS offer to help them stand out from the pack. The bundle here today clearly does that.