BIOS and Overclocking
If you’re an enthusiast planning to overclock your Core 2 CPU to its limits, you’ll love the BIOS Gigabyte provides for the EP45-UD3P. Unlike a lot of BIOS interfaces where you have to navigate back and forth between different menus and submenus to set bus speeds, voltages, etc., every critical setting you need for OC’ing is available within one section of BIOS: the MB Intelligent Tweaker (MIT) section.
Here on one long page you’ll find all your speeds and voltages for OC’ing.
At the top of MIT you’ll find settings for the CPU clock multiplier as well as Gigabyte’s Robust Graphics Booster, a setting you can use if you wish to OC the graphics card interface.
Just below that are the settings needed for OC’ing the front side bus. Speeds ranging from 100-1200MHz are available in 1MHz increments, while PCIe speeds up to 150MHz are also provided. Finally Gigabyte continues to provide their C.I.A. (CPU Intelligent Accelerator) feature. This setting automatically OCs your CPU by predetermined amounts by adjusting the FSB. Five settings are provided ranging from Cruise to Full Thrust. This is basically the same functionality Gigabyte provides in Easy Tune 6.
Further down in the MIT BIOS Gigabyte provides an area for adjusting RAM timings as well as the memory multiplier. For those of you who want to tweak your memory timings even further, Gigabyte also includes a submenu where you an adjust timing settings and drive settings for the individual memory channels and DIMM sockets.
In terms of voltages, Gigabyte provides a plethora of options. CPU voltages range from 0.50V-2.30V in increments as slim as 0.00625V! One thing we would like to see Gigabyte do here is color code the voltages. For instance, you’d never want to run 2.3V of juice to your 45-nm Penryn processor unless you’ve got some seriously hardcore cooling like liquid nitrogen. Honestly we’ve never taken one of our Penryn CPUs beyond 1.5V of juice.
To provide some guidance for users who are new to overclocking and don’t have a clue what voltage to select for their CPU, some motherboard manufacturers will color code the voltages, so safe voltages will be colored green, while moderate voltages will be depicted yellow. The highest voltages that are considered unsafe for most CPUs are then colored red.
Beyond the core voltage, Gigabyte also provides CPU voltage settings for CPU termination (1.10-1.70V in 0.02V increments), CPU PLL (1.05-2.81V in 0.02V increments), and CPU Reference voltages (+0.460-1.01V in (0.015V increments).
Chipset voltages are also adjustable. MCH voltages range from 0.85-2.0V in 0.02V increments, while the MCH reference voltage 0.50-1.04V in 0.04V increments, MCH/DRAM 0.53-1.81V in increments of 0.02 and 0.05V increments, ICH I/O 1.05-2.31V in 0.02V increments and ICH 1.1-1.4V. DRAM voltages ranging from 1.45-3.04V are also available in 0.02V increments. Interestingly enough, Gigabyte does color code the DRAM voltage settings, with voltages of 2.3V or higher colored red.
We managed to OC our Core 2 Duo E8600 up to 4.27GHz (10.0x427) with the EP45-UD3P. At that speed we needed 1.45V of juice to maintain stability.
At first blush this sounds impressive, after all it’s nearly an OC of 1GHz, however we’ve managed to hit speeds as high as 4.64GHz with this particular processor, so there’s a little bit of headroom that we weren’t able to tap into unfortunately. For a budget motherboard with a $130 price tag though we won’t complain, as our previous high with the E8600 was hit with a much pricier X48 motherboard.