We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital and Corsair.
On the testbed side of things there's nothing that you wouldn't have seen already, so we'll just instead get into the overclocking side of things as that's no doubt one of the more important areas.
Oh what an emotional rollercoaster ride you've taken me on in a 4 day period, MSI. On Friday I couldn't get the X79A-GD65 to overclock, on Saturday we had a little bit of movement and by Sunday we were up and running at 4.625GHz as you can see in the below image.
This was achieved via a 125 BCLK and 37x multiplier. This is a strong overclock and a lot better than it was doing just 24 hours earlier. The board continued to have some issues. Any time we went to a 38x multiplier or over, the board would sit at 1200MHz in Windows. If we turned on OC Genie II, we'd also get only 1200MHz in Windows because OC Genie II would move to a 40 x 100 setup.
To be honest, I was fine with the board. Its stock performance seemed to be good and it offered a nice overclock. It no doubt had some issues that I spoke to MSI about, but I didn't want to keep the board around, but insisted more performance could be had out of the board as I should be able to get a 38x multiplier or higher.
Having to be firm, I gave MSI a time that they could send me BIOS' to. 45 minutes before that time was up, we got the absolute most recent BIOS, and what happened?
Well, as you can see above, we started benchmarking at 5GHz! - The multiplier issue was indeed fixed and we ended up running a 40x multiplier and a 125 BCLK, which as you can see above, resulted in almost 5GHz even.
Having done all my graphs for the board and written such a large portion of the review, it was time to start testing again and work back a little. Because of the fact we already had full results for the 4.65GHz clock, we've left them in here today to go alongside the 5GHz benchmarks.
The only thing we haven't done is include the OC Genie II results, because the simple fact is the 4GHz clock it offers is only 100MHz higher than the Turbo clock we get out of the 3960X CPU. OC Genie II while helpful on the 3960X in the sense that it removes the need to use Turbo to get 4GHz and instead just gives you 4GHz flat, it would be more useful on lower clocked CPUs that come in at around the 3.6GHz mark with Turbo.
I think that pretty much covers everything and we should be able to get into the performance side of things to see exactly what's going on.
Let's get started!