Articles: Mainboards

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Let’s check out the first sub-section called “Processor Overrides”. There are very few parameters, but all of them are pretty interesting. “Static CPU Voltage Override” allows setting the desired CPU Vcore in the interval from 1.0 to 1.6 V with 0.0125 V increment. “Dynamic CPU Voltage Offset (mV)” will only add certain voltage to the nominal with variable increment that for the most part equals 6 mV (0.006 V) and maximum value of 489 mV (0.489 V). “Enhanced Power Slope” parameter corrects the processor voltage drop under heavy load, the so called “VDroop”. The interesting thing is that all other mainboards with such functionality of the solutions we have tested so far, have only two possible settings for this parameter. By default VDroop is disabled, which corresponds to “100% Slope” value of the “Enhanced Power Slope” parameter; in all other cases it is enabled, which corresponds to “No Slope”. Intel DX58SO also has an intermediate value of “50% Slope”, which indicates that the voltage drop is partially corrected.

Then I checked out the last sub-section in the “Performance” section called “Bus Overrides” and got very upset that there was no option for adjusting the Uncore frequency of the North bridge part integrated into the CPU.

It turned out that I simply wasn’t paying enough attention. There is a “Memory Overrides” sub-section that allows configuring all parameters connected with the memory subsystem, such as Uncore frequency, memory frequency, timings, Uncore voltage and memory voltage.

It is a good idea to gather all parameters connected with the memory subsystem configuration in a single sub-section, however, the implementation of this idea could have been better. By default, all these parameters are set automatically. If the memory modules support “X.M.P.” technology (Extended Memory Profile technology that records advanced memory settings into the modules SPD, such as frequency, timings and voltages), then you can select a corresponding profile and all parameters will again be configured automatically. Otherwise, you must set all parameters manually. Even if you simply have to set the nominal voltage or frequency for your memory modules, you will have to adjust all timings as well. Most other mainboards in this case use information from the modules SPD, but Intel DX58SO seems to be able to use it only in Auto mode. It is extremely inconvenient!

The next section where we come across processor technologies one more time is called “Security” for some reason. And while it makes sense to some extent in regards to “XD Technology”, it has absolutely nothing to do with virtualization technology.

The “Power” section, which we skip for the most part in our reviews, is worth checking out this time, because it also contains several processor related technologies, namely, power-saving ones. This time it is pretty clear what they are doing in this particular section, but it would be much more convenient if all important parameters were gathered in one place and we didn’t have to look for them in all BIOS sections and sub-sections.

The “Boot” section finally offers us to change the order of boot-up devices. We have no problems with this section. Moreover, it is extremely functional. It is one of the few great examples of corporate orientation of Intel mainboard.

The “Exit” section contains several logical functions and also allows to quickly restore the only complete BIOS settings profile. You can’t add a name or description to it, just “Custom Defaults”. Of course, it is nice that there is at least one profile, but it definitely not enough, especially since you have to navigate between different sections to adjust the necessary BIOS parameters.

There is one more inconvenience: the need to press “extra” keys. Most mainboards allow you to use cursor keys to find the desired parameter in order to start changing it right away. Sometimes, you can press “Enter” to open a new window where you can use arrow keys to select the value or just enter it from your keyboard. Intel DX58SO mainboard doesn’t allow entering parameter values from the keyboard, and you always need to press “Enter”, just to enter the editing mode for the selected parameter. Very rarely you will get a window with supported values, but in most cases you just have to use “+” and “-“ keys to go through all the values until you hit the right one. After that you have to press “Enter” again or use cursor keys to exit the editing mode. That’s way too much extra work!

I believe it is obvious, that Intel absolutely has to change the way their BIOS is organized. Other mainboard makers are constantly modifying their BIOS Setup trying to make configuring your computer system as simple and quick as possible. Intel developers, however, seem to be still held captive by the habits and traditions of their “corporate” past. The company seems to believe that only system administrators will use their mainboards and they will only welcome additional difficulties. The only consolation for us in this case is that the BIOS of Intel DX58SO mainboard has everything necessary for successful overclocking and optimization of the system. The increments are sometimes too big, some parameters are often very inconvenient to adjust, but it is doable, which is the most important thing here.

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