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Operational Specifics and Automatic Overclocking

During system startup only Asus mainboards from the “Republic of Gamers” series can display the actual processor frequency, even if the CPU has been overclocked. All other mainboards, including the regular Asus boards, display the nominal CPU frequency or nothing at all, just like Intel boards and Gigabyte boards after transitioning to UEFI BIOS.

With default settings Asus Rampage IV Formula mainboard worked perfectly fine, but as soon as we increased the memory frequency we faced the same exact problem as before with Asus P9X79 Deluxe. Intel Turbo Boost technology doesn’t work correctly any more, the processor clock frequency multiplier increases to the maximum possible value for the particular processor model even under heavy load and not to whatever is required by the specifications. So the only way to return the mainboard back to normal operational mode is by adjusting the parameters manually. Moreover, we uncovered one more issue, which we haven’t yet seen on any other Asus mainboard before: “CPU Power Phase Control” parameter in the mainboard BIOS turned out non-operational at all. If we selected the “Optimal” setting for it, the board started fine, but then inevitably hung right after the OS finished loading.

You may have noticed that the mainboard BIOS had a lot of new features related to automatic system overclocking.

Even common Asus mainboards have “CPU Level Up” parameter that allows increasing the processor clock frequency to the set level. In our case, when we set it to “Auto”, the base clock frequency increased to 106 MHz. As a result, the CPU frequency accordingly rose to 4028 MHz and the processor core voltage – to 1.25 V. It is also possible to use overclocking profiles instead of “CPU Level Up”. For example, there is a Normal OC Profile, in which case the base clock will increase to 125 MHz, the processor clock multiplier will be set at a fixed value of 35x resulting in 4375 MHz clock frequency. In this case the processor Vcore will be raised to 1.4 V and the memory frequency – to 2000 MHz; all power-saving technologies will be disabled. If you select gaming profile, then the base and memory frequency will remain at their nominal values, the CPU Vcore will increase to 1.4 V and its clock multiplier will vary between 44x and 47x depending on the load type. With the Extreme (Low Current) overclocking profile the base clock will increase to 131 MHz, the multiplier – to 38x, which will make the CPU work at 4985 MHz with all power-saving technologies disabled and the memory – at 2100 MHz. The CPU Vcore in this case will be raised to 1.55 V. In case of Extreme (High Current) profile everything will be exactly the same, only the CPU Vcore will be set even higher: at 1.6 V.

There are many different ways to overclock, but in my opinion, none of them are optimal. Even if the power-saving technologies aren’t forced off, they will still remain only partially operational, because in all cases the processor core voltage is increased and locked at a certain level, which means that it won’t reduce in idle mode. It seemed that we had tried everything automatic overclocking had to offer, but then we suddenly uncovered one more possibility. I believe you rarely pay attention to the list of “hot” keys in the lower right corner of the screen, and that turns out to be a big mistake.

For example, when we talked about the BIOS functionality, we forgot to mention F3 key that launches the menu that will help you switch to a desired page much quicker.

Moreover, there is also F6 key that enables new automatic overclocking function called “Asus ratio Boost”. This is not a completely new technology, because Asus P9X79 Deluxe also featured it, though we missed it in our review. By pressing F6 you get a warning message that the system will be rebooted.

The funny thing is that by electing any of the above described methods of automatic overclocking the system would restart on its own without any special warnings, but in this case it doesn’t restart even though the warning message is displayed. So, we restart the system manually after applying all settings changes and then we realize that “Asus Ratio Boost” increases the CPU clock frequency multiplier to its maximum allowed by Intel Turbo Boost technology. At the same time, all power-saving technologies remain fully operational therefore we can definitely recommend this particular automatic overclocking method when you need to overclock your processor quickly, relatively safely and in an energy-efficient manner. Although in this case the resulting frequency will be pretty close to the nominal. However, everyone knows that no automatic overclocking can get even remotely close to what one can achieve by carefully adjusting all settings manually. In our case, this process turned out to be extremely complicated and painful, although we shouldn’t blame Asus Rampage IV Formula mainboard for it: the circumstances simply weren’t favoring us at that point.

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