When powered up, ASRock X58 Extreme mainboard displays a startup screen with the info about available hot keys. By the way, ASRock mainboards are the only ones that allow choosing a picture from several preloaded into the BIOS. You can do it in the “Boot” section.
You can disable the startup image completely and then you will see pretty detailed boot-up status info on your screen. The only thing missing is probably the current memory frequency.
I really liked the fact that although they used an AMI BIOS, you can access the BIOS settings not only by pressing F2, but also by pressing a more common Del key.
When there is no load, Intel processor power-saving technologies lower the CPU voltage and multiplier.
We usually offer you a CPUID screenshot from Lavalys Eeverst utility, because it is very convenient to work with. The same screen shows almost all important CPU parameters, frequencies of different busses, mainboard model name, memory frequency and timings. This information is pretty sufficient for most systems, although the LGA1366 also need Uncore frequency that has some serious effect on performance comparable to the effect from the memory frequency and timings. However, today we will have to use CPU-Z utility, because Lavalys Everest CPUID for some reason refused to display the CPU Vcore, which is ultimately important for us.
Now we see that in idle mode processor Vcore drops below 1 V – it is a clear indication that ASRock’s brand name power-saving technologies are working perfectly. If we disable these technologies, the processor Vcore will be around 1.1 V, just like on other mainboards. Moreover, the number of active phases in the CPU voltage regulator circuitry also reduces, but we can see that only with ASRock IES (Intelligent Energy Saver) utility.
Unlike similar applications from other mainboard makers we have seen before, this utility doesn’t allow to configure any of the power-saving modes. Besides enabling and disabling power-saving technologies that can also be done without its immediate involvement right from the BIOS, this utility performs purely informational functions reporting the number of active processor voltage regulator phases, current CPU Vcore, amount of saved power, etc.
As for the memory, like on many other mainboards, it works at 1066 MHz with 8-8-8-20-1T timings by default. By the way, CPU-Z utility, unlike Lavalys Everest CPUID, shows the current UnCore bus frequency marking it as NB Frequency.
When the CPU gets loaded with work, its clock multiplier increases to 21 due to Intel Turbo Boost technology, and so does the CPU core voltage. However, we have already seen all that many times on other mainboards. This time, pay attention to the base frequency, that is for some reason increased to 136.3 MHz unlike the number we see in the CPU screenshot.
It is not a utility error, but the result of setting the “Overclock Mode” parameter to Optimized in the mainboard BIOS. If this parameter is set to Auto, the board will support standard 133 MHz frequency, while at the Optimized setting the board slightly increases the base speed, though not immediately, but only when the CPU gets loaded with work. The frequencies of other busses connected with the base frequency increase respectively: QPI, UnCore, memory bus.
This is not a serious increase, that poses no danger for the system operating in nominal mode, but we couldn’t understand why the “Optimized” mode wasn’t described anywhere in the user manual and other supporting documents for the board.