Finally we got to “Gladiator BIOS” section that contains all overclocking related settings that allow increasing the system performance.
Bus frequencies can be adjusted in the central sub-section of the page called “Ratio and Clock Settings”. We can increase the system bus frequency up to 800MHz with 1MHz increment; the PCI Express bus frequency can be adjusted with the same increment in 100-200MHz interface; PCI Clock parameter automatically sets the PCI bus frequency, which can also be locked manually at 33.6, 37.3 or 42 MHz. The memory frequency is set using one of the available dividers:
It is very convenient that once the changes have been made, you won’t need to calculate the anticipated processor and memory frequencies on your own. They will be displayed by the informational “Target CPU Core Speed” and “System Memory Speed” parameters.
“DRAM Timing Selectable” parameter provides access to memory timings settings. The list is pretty modest by contemporary standards, but is more than sufficient for an unsophisticated user. Too bad you can’t adjust the “Performance Level” parameter, as it has a pretty significant effect on the general system performance.
CPU and processor technologies related parameters are singled out in “CPU Configuration” sub-menu.
“CPU Clock Free” parameter allows changing the processor clock frequency multiplier and setting fractional multipliers for 45nm processors.
There is a separate page for voltage settings:
These are the supported intervals and increments:
- “CPU Over Voltage”: from 1.1 to 1.6 V with 0.0125 V increment;
- ”1.8V VRAM Voltage Control”: from 1.665 to 2.99 V with variable increment;
- ”1.5V STR Voltage Control”: from 1.38 to 1.939 V with 0.037 V increment;
- ”1.1V MCH Voltage Control”: from 1.025 to 1.357 V with 0.028 V increment;
- ”1.2V FSB VTT Voltage Control”: from 1.12 to 1.601 V with 0.08 V increment;
- ”CPU PLL Voltage Setting”: from 1.395 to 1.96 V with 0.038 V increment.
You select the desired voltage setting from the drop-down menu and all values are displayed as is, so it is very easy and convenient to work with the “Voltage Options” section. However, I still have to point a few things out.
First of all, the memory voltage is adjusted not quite commonly. “1.8V VRAM Voltage Control” parameter that is responsible for this setting allows changing the memory voltage only from 1.665 to 2.34 V, which is quite a big interval. There are two additional parameters called “1.28X Memory Voltage table” and “1.13X Memory Voltage table” that increase the voltage setting by 1.28 or 1.13 times respectively.
This way the supported voltage interval gets even bigger and the increment – smaller. Just compare the standard “1.8V VRAM Voltage Control” values on the left against the same values but times 1.28 due to enabled “1.28X Memory Voltage table” parameter:
The second thing I would like to say deals with “CPU Over Voltage” parameter. As you can see, the mainboard set the voltage at 1.1V, while our test Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor has 1.25V nominal voltage. It is one of the BIOS errors that appeared when they switched from P02 to P03 BIOS version. However, it was very hard to actually use the functionality of “Voltage Options” sub-section in P02 BIOS: look at the screenshot and try figure out what voltage settings did Foxconn ELA mainboard have:
BIOS version P02
There is only one thing I could say with certainty: the memory voltage is at nominal 1.8V and all other values need to be calculated. The problem is that each parameter has its own startup setting and each has its own adjustment increment. To find out the current voltage you need to multiply the set coefficient by the increment and add the result to the startup value. Not too simple, isn’t it? However, if you do it all, you will see that at startup voltage of 1.2V, 8 coefficient and 6.25 mV increment the CPU was receiving its nominal 1.25V. By the way, the adjustment increment for the processor Vcore doubled in the new BIOS version: it equals 0.0125 V instead of former 0.00625 V, which is a drawback, though not a dramatic one. The only thing I do not understand is what “CPU Over Voltage” parameter would be set to in BIOS Version P02, if their nominal Vcore were below 1.2V? However, this is a purely rhetorical question: the horrible version P02 is long gone and hopefully we will never see anything like that in mass production mainboards.
The last thing I would like to mention deals with the “1.1V MCH Voltage Control” parameter responsible for the chipset North Bridge voltage setting. Experienced and attentive overclockers may have already noticed that the maximum value here may only be set at 1.375V. It is not too much, I would even say it is way too low and compared with the intervals supported by other voltage related parameters. In other words, it is crystal clear that we won’t be able to reach very high frequencies for the system bus or memory during overclocking on Foxconn ELA mainboard.
The last section we should check out here is “PC Health Status”. Frankly speaking, it is not very inspiring.
We can control the rotation speed of only two fans out of five that can be connected to the board and adjust the rotation speed of only one of them - the processor cooler fan - and only if it uses a four-pin power connector. The board allows adjusting six voltages, but monitors only two of them – processor Vcore and FSB VTT Voltage. Very modest functionality, however, overall we can say that the BIOS of Foxconn ELA mainboard offers acceptable functionality. Now let’s check out what they are worth in practical experiments.