ASRock X58 Extreme mainboard has its own sub-section with all meaningful parameters necessary for optimal system configuring – “Chipset Settings”.
The information strings show that this time the mainboard reads the info from the memory modules X.M.P. profiles absolutely correctly. “Overclock Mode” parameter can be set to Manual and this is when we get full access to frequencies adjustment. We can also set it to I.O.T. (Intelligent Overclocking Technology), which is ASRock’s own brand name version of automatic overclocking technology. When the processor is loaded with work, the base and PCI Express bus frequencies will increase by a certain value set within 0-10% interval. In other words, the base frequency may increase from 133 MHz to 146 MHz and so will all frequencies connected to it, such as CPU, memory and others. Besides that, “Overclock Mode” parameter may be set to “Optimized”, although we didn’t see any evident changes in this mode, there was no info about it in the manual that is why we had to figure it out ourselves. We are going to share our findings with you a little later in this article.
There are two more things that caught our attention. “Intelligent Energy Saver” parameter allows to enable all power-saving technologies related to the CPU and mainboard to be enabled right from the BIOS. In particular, when the load is low, the number of active phases in the processor voltage regulator circuitry will be reduced. There is a new parameter called “ASRock VDrop Control” that prevents the processor voltage from dropping under load. We can only enable this protection when “Intelligent Energy Saver” parameter is off.
Some parameters have been singled out onto individual pages. One of them is DRAM Timing Control with the memory timings. Just like by Asus mainboards, the information string reports current timings settings and you can adjust each setting independently of the others.
All parameters related to voltage adjustment are also gathered on a separate page. By default, all parameters are set to Auto. You can set “CPU Voltage” to Manual and then choose the desired voltage setting. We have seen this before; however, this time “CPU Voltage” parameter has one new possible value: “Overdrive Offset”. When this mode is on, we do not set the processor core voltage directly, but simply add a certain value to the nominal setting. It is a very useful function, because in this case all Intel processor power-saving technologies keep working.
If the voltage setting is too high, the values will be highlighted red. However, the dangerous memory voltage is considered above 1.9 V and not above 1.65 V like on most other LGA1366 mainboards.
We are not going to dwell on other sub-sections in “Advanced” section and will move over to “H/W Monitor” section:
The functionality of this section is not very impressive: we only get two temperatures and one single CPU core voltage out of all the voltages that ASRock X58 Extreme can control. The good thing is that we can monitor rotation speed of all five fans connected to this mainboard and adjust the rotation speed of four of them. We can set constant rotation speed for three fans right from the BIOS and the rotation speed of the CPU fan can be set dependent on the temperature.
We are going to leave out the functionality of “Boot” and “Security” sections and will wind up our discussion of ASRock X58 Extreme BIOS functionality with the “Exit” section. Here you can save three full BIOS settings profiles. It is only a pity that we can’t assign our own names or descriptions to them, but it is still better than nothing.
Overall, the BIOS of ASRock X58 Extreme mainboard makes a very good impression, although there is still a lot of room for optimizations, such as making navigation over menus and sections even easier, BIOS functions even more informative and overall experience even more fun. For example, it would be more convenient if “Chipset Settings” section contained all and not almost all important parameters; if the changes that will take effect after the system reboot could display more clearly. Namely, when we use the BIOS functions related to automatic overclocking of the CPU or memory, we would love to see all changes that will occur with the frequencies and voltages before they kick in. At this point, most BIOS settings will remain at Auto. To find out the information we are looking for, we have to resort to “ASRock OC Tuner” utility, but it is not very convenient to work with, is not quite perfect and often makes mistakes.
At the same time, we can’t help pointing out a number of obvious changes for the better that have been introduced into the ASRock BIOS within a fairly short period of time, since we first met the first ASRock LGA1366 X58 SuperComputer mainboard. This gives us very good reasons to hope that the company will continue optimizing their BIOS and give ASRock X58 Extreme overall high score for the quality and functionality of their BIOS.