BIOS and Overclocking
The BIOS of the reviewed mainboard is based on Phoenix Award 6.0PG microcode. This microcode is quite popular among the mainboard makers, so let’s get right to the options this BIOS offers to us, especially to the overclocking-related ones.
Foxconn is always trying to improve the BIOS interface, so the overclocking settings of the 925XE7AA can be found on these BIOS pages:
- BIOS Features/SuperSpeed/:
- CPU Clock Ratio (this item is mostly informational since modern processors from Intel have a locked frequency multiplier)
- System memory frequency (selects the memory frequency relative to the FSB frequency as Auto, 1:1 or 3:4)
- CPU Clock (this option actually sets up the FSB frequency; you can set it from 200 to 265MHz stepping 1MHz)
- PCI Express Clock (from 100 to 200MHz stepping 1MHz)
- PCI Bus Clock (33.33, 36.36, 40.00MHz or as Ref PCIex, i.e. relative to the PCI Express frequency)
- CPU Voltage Regulator (this option indicates some extra voltage added to the default value; you can set it from 0.0125 to 1.875V stepping 0.0125V)
- Memory Voltage (like with the core voltage, you can increase the memory voltage by 0.03V, 0.06V or 0.1V)
- System Core Voltage (or chipset voltage; it can be increased by 0.03V or 0.06V)
- Advanced Chipset Features/:
- DRAM Timing Selectable (this option determines if the memory timings should be read from SPD or set up manually)
- CAS Latency Time (can be set to 3, 4, 5 or Auto)
- DRAM RAS# to CAS# Delay (2, 3, 4, 5 or Auto)
- DRAM RAS# Precharge (2, 3, 4, 5 or Auto)
- Precharge Delay (can be adjusted from 4 to 15 stepping 1 clock or can be set to Auto)
If you’ve carefully read the list above, you must have realized that the 925XE7AA is not an overclocker-friendly product. Even though it offers all the settings necessary for overclocking, the main parameters have too narrow ranges. The CPU voltage range is the only really wide one, but you can’t do much changing this voltage alone. So I didn’t have much hope about the overclockability of this mainboard.
Before overclocking it in practice, I want to tell you about one thing you cannot do without when speeding up your computer. It’s the mainboard’s fan/temperature/voltage monitoring system. It can be managed from the BIOS Setup or through Foxconn’s exclusive utility (well, you can use third-party utilities, too, if you wish). The monitoring options are gathered on the BIOS’s PC Health Status page:
- Shutdown temperature is the temperature threshold on reaching which the system automatically shuts down. It can be disabled or set to 60, 65, 70 or 75°C.
- Warning temperature is the CPU temperature at which the system emits a warning signal. It can be set to 53, 56, 60, 63, 66 or 70°C.
- Smart Fan Controller enables/disables Smart Fan technology which can reduce the noise from the fans when the system is idle or under a low load.
- On this BIOS page you can also see the current voltages (except the chipset voltage), the temperatures of the CPU and chipset, and the speeds of all fans attached to the mainboard.