As we have already said, the only sub-section in “Ai Tweaker” section is “DRAM Timing Control” that allows you to monitor the current timings settings and adjust them if necessary.
The next group of parameters in “Ai Tweaker” section controls the voltages. It is very convenient that there is the current parameter value displayed next to it.
In our Asus Rampage II Gene mainboard review we have already come across the option to set a relative voltage value (Offset) instead of absolute fixed voltage. However, it is for the first time that we see a feature like that on a regular mainboard that doesn’t belong to the elite Republic of Gamers series. I t is difficult to overestimate the importance of this feature. The formal advantage of all Asus mainboards for Intel processors that has long turned into a drawback, namely when mainboards increase the processor core voltage on their own during overclocking, didn’t go anywhere. However, from now on this peculiarity of Asus mainboards is no longer an issue for those users who prefer energy-efficient overclocking. Now, when you increase the CPU Vcore, all Intel power-saving technologies stay up and running dropping the core voltage in idle mode and increasing it under heavy load. Moreover, the adjustment increment for the CPU core voltage is extremely small, only 0.00625 V. So, you can increase the processor Vcore by this tiny number, so that it stays practically nominal and this way avoid automatic core voltage increase during overclocking. By the way, you can lower the voltage instead of increasing it, if you are after more energy-efficient and quiet system operation rather than maximum performance at any rate.
“Ai Tweaker” section is really good from all standpoints, but it only partially represents the processor related options. You have to check the “CPU Configuration” sub-section of the “Advanced” section for a full access to all processor technologies. I personally would prefer to see this sub-section moved entirely to the “Ai Tweaker” section.
Next we would like to take a look at “Hardware Monitor” sub-section of the “Power” section. Before, we would be pretty unhappy about scarce number of monitored parameters, but let’s not forget that now we know all the important voltages from the “Ai Tweaker” section. They are all listed directly next to each of the settings responsible for voltage adjustment. So, we should only check “Hardware Monitor” sub-section if we wish to enable automatic fan rotation speed control and set the appropriate mode. By the way, even when we overclock processors with pretty substantial voltage increase, Q-Fan system coped perfectly fine with the CPU cooling even in Standard mode.
The last section of the Asus P7P55D Deluxe BIOS that we would like to mention in our today’s review is called “Tools”. In fact, we are familiar with its functionality. The only new parameter here is “ID LED”. When we talked about the mainboard design, we mentioned a number of different LEDs, so if their glowing annoys you, you can simply disable them here.
The functionality of the “O.C. Profile” sub-section has also become quite more advanced lately. Now you can save several full BIOS settings profiles. You can provide each of them with a unique name, easily load the selected profile. You can even save the profiles not only in the internal memory but also on the external storage media.
Very convenient “EZ Flash 2” utility will help you save the current BIOS version and update it with the latest available one.
Summing up our experience with Asus P7P55D Deluxe mainboard, we can conclude that the BIOS structure and functionality hasn’t really changed that much compared with the solutions based on other chipsets. In fact, this isn’t surprising at all, because the BIOS of contemporary mainboards has been modified and polished off for years. At the same time, we can’t help pointing out a number of new features, like automatic processor overclocking tool or the option allowing to disable LED lighting. However, we were mostly impressed with the mainboard’s new ability to change the processor clock frequency multiplier and core voltage without disrupting the work of power-saving technologies. They provide enormous flexibility for optimal system configuration.
Moreover, we can’t disregard the fact that our tests were performed on the first officially available BIOS version 0504. Of course, we provided the screenshots from this particular BIOS version above and later on we are going to talk about the results of our overclocking experiments with it. However, now that the mainboards are available in retail and the users began to share their feedback about them, the developers focused their efforts on fixing the issues and expanding the BIOS functionality. The new BIOS versions support low-voltage DDR3 SDRAM, have even better optimized algorithms in the built-in “OC Tuner Utility. There also appeared “Turbo Profiles”, which allow to simultaneously overclock the CPU and the memory. It is also quite possible that by the time the review posts on our site even newer BIOS version will be available, with new features and functions, so do not forget to update the BIOS in your board if you want to get access to them.
Of course, the BIOS of Asus mainboards and P7P55D Deluxe mainboard in particular are not ideal. There are a few insignificant issues, which should make it even easier to work with this mainboard, once eliminated. We have already mentioned a few ones today, for example, it would be nice to move the “CPU Configuration” sub-section into “Ai Tweaker” section. We pointed out some of them in our previous Asus reviews, for example, it is much more convenient to monitor current memory timings if they are listed in a column, each next to the corresponding parameter, instead of a single-line presentation used now. However, we don’t even want to bring up these small trifles again. We can’t wait to get to the board’s actual abilities for CPU overclocking. However, first we need to get ready and learn how we should actually overclock the new Core i7 and Core i5 CPUs from Lynnfield family.