Operational and Overclocking Specifics
When we studied the BISO functionality we didn’t notice any significant changes or new parameters. However, work on the BIOS never stops and it is not limited to fixing the emerging issues or adding new processors support. Note that the latest BIOS version we tested the board with is F5. As soon as Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 board booted for the first time we learned about the changes that had been introduced by then. By default hard drives work in compatibility mode. However, we were immediately offered to switch them into AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode in order to fully use the advantages of our Serial ATA drives. You can agree to this by pressing “Y” key or disagree by pressing the “N” key. Any other key stroke will continue the booting process. If you stepped away from your system, nothing bad is going to happen: the OS will still boot when the timer runs out. A very interesting innovation, I should say.
The second piece of good news is that Gigabyte mainboards, at least Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4, stopped raising their base clock. We do understand the reasons behind this raise: to ensure that during performance comparison in nominal mode Gigabyte mainboards could be at least a little bit faster than their competitors. Unlike ASRock P55 Deluxe mainboard, Gigabyte boards allowed you to easily drop the base clock back down to its official nominal 133 MHz. But now this frequency is set by default.
However, not the entire test session was as nice and easy as its beginning. We did experience some problems during CPU overclocking attempts. I have to remind you that we have already discussed the basics, terminology and approximate overclocking algorithms in our earlier article called “Guide: Lynnfield Overclocking on Asus P7P55D Deluxe Mainboard”. Of course, we mostly focused on Asus P7P55D Deluxe mainboard and Intel Core i7-860 processor, but the basic overclocking principles typical of LGA1156 platform are the same on every mainboard and you will easily find the corresponding equivalents among the parameters of your mainboard and CPU.
We managed to have the system pass our preliminary tests at 210 MHz base clock with the lowered processor clock frequency multiplier, like we did on most other mainboards. However, we had to crank up the voltage on the memory controller integrated into the CPU (IMC) to 1.37 V, which is very high, because the nominal IMC voltage is only 1.1 V. Luckily, we didn’t need to push the base clock frequency so high up to overclock our processor to its maximum, so Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 mainboard could relatively easily hit 3.95 GHz CPU speed. I say “relatively” because we had to increase the processor core voltage a little higher than usual, so that it hit 1.328 V under maximum load, as you can see from the screen shot below.
Until now only two Gigabyte mainboards – GA-P55-UD6 and GA-P55-UD3R – as well as Asus P7P55D Deluxe could overclock the CPU that high that is why it is extremely pleasing to see our small Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 solution joining this elite group so easily.
Now all Intel processor power-saving technologies stay up and running on Gigabyte mainboards even when you overclock by raising the processor core voltage. It means that the CPU clock frequency multiplier as well as Vcore will lower in idle mode.