AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
Asus M4A79XTD EVO Motherboard
4GB Corsair XMS3 PC3-12800C9 Memory
nVidia GeForce 8800GT 512mb GDDR3
Samsung Spinpoint F1 320GB 7200RPM SATA II
LG 22x DVD+/-RW
Arctic Freezer 64 Pro Heatpipe Cooler
OCZ stealthXstream 500W ATX2.0 PSU
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1
Moving on to the most important part of the review, we find ourselves in the motherboard’s BIOS. For those that have previously used Asus motherboards, this one will not seem unfamiliar as the names of variables used are common and the menu structure is very much like the rest of their range.
The system frequency and voltage parameters as above are more than adequate for those that intend on overclocking their AMD Athlon II/Phenom II processors on air and liquid cooling solutions with CPU, Memory and Northbridge Voltages available up to 1.7500V, 2.500V and 1.5500V. The Hypertransport Link multiplier was unlocked upwards and downwards with our Black Edition processor however it seemed apparent that there was no CPU Northbridge Multiplier available.
This page is an important one for those who plan on buying a motherboard such as this to unlock hidden Cores and Cache. In order to successfully unlock a processor, you must have a motherboard featuring the SB710 or SB750 Southbridge. The motherboard must also have the Advanced Clock Calibration option available along with an EC Firmware or similar parameter. On compatible Asus motherboards, this is labeled as “Unleashing Mode”. Asus’ adaptation of the tweak also allows the user to choose which cores they wish to unlock. As we only had a Quad Core available, we were unable to test this feature.
Asus have also implemented an OC Profile function, where BIOS configurations can be saved for later use.
So without further a do, I wish to discuss how well this motherboard will overclock one’s processor. I had already mentioned that the motherboard appears to lack a CPU Northbridge Multiplier even with the use of a Black Edition processor resulting in a fixed multiplication factor of 10x (a default NB speed of 2000MHz). As our AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition had an optimal Northbridge Frequency of around 2400MHz, it came to very little surprise that the M4A79XTD EVO was out of steam at just 245MHz Base HTT. However, with the use of the upwards unlocked CPU Multiplier, we hit our processor’s final overclock at 3.870GHz. Not a poor show at all.
It should also be mentioned that the motherboard held the processor’s voltage very well. While software readings should be taken with a pinch of salt, it appeared as though Vdroop from Idle to Load was near enough minimal.