Gigabyte GA-G1975X G1-Turbo Motherboard - HotHardware

Gigabyte GA-G1975X G1-Turbo Motherboard

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Examining the BIOS of the Gigabyte GA-G1975X
Tinkering with this and that...

It's no secret that Intel has been marketing their boards more and more to the PC enthusiast crowd, and to cater to their whims Gigabyte has provided a BIOS for the G1975X with just about all of the options that a power-user could hope for...

        

        

If you've ever poked around an AWARD BIOS, then these blue screens should be quite familiar to you.  From the initial screen, you can access various sections of the BIOS dealing with everything from Integrated Peripherals to checking on the "Healthiness" of your PC.

    

      

This board also features a number of tools that allow end-users to do a little tweaking.  The main page to hit is called the Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker.  Those lucky enough to have an unlocked CPU can opt to enable C.A.M, which allows users to set the clock ratio from High (default) to Low, and possibly provide an option for some higher overclocking speeds.  Those less inclined to handle overclocking on their own can simply choose a setting from C.I.A.2, or CPU Intelligent Accelerator 2.  C.I.A.2 is an automatic overclocking utility that only kicks in when the CPU is running full throttle for 10 seconds or more.  Choices range from Cruise (a safe, yet minor speed bump) and go up to Full Thrust mode, which overclocks the CPU by about 17-19%.  There's even an option to overclock the video card as well, using the Robust Graphics Booster.

Overclocking Tools
Time for a tune-up

More adventurous souls will have the ability to unlock even more untapped performance by overclocking their system by themselves, and Gigabyte is only too happy to provide them the tools...

        

    

The first step is to enable the CPU Host Clock Control, as this takes the bus speed and other settings out of the BIOS' control and puts into the capable hands of the user.  Once done, the CPU Host Frequency is manually entered to the speed desired, ranging from an underclocked 100MHz up to as high as 600MHz.  Bumps in speed typically come hand-in-hand with a bump in voltage, and here the board is no slouch either.  CPU Voltage is raised in steps starting at 0.025V until a 1.6V level is reached, and then in 0.05V steps to a maximum of 1.75V.  As the bus speed is raised, so too goes the other board components including RAM, video cards, and devices on the PCI bus.  To alleviate issues that can occur from running too far out of spec, frequencies can be set for both the PCI-E and PCI buses.  Memory frequency is a little trickier, requiring the use of multipliers.  Luckily, after choosing a multiplier, the new memory speed is shown on the M.I.T. page, so you can check that your memory can handle the multiplier, and therefore, the speed you've chosen. 

CPU-Z
Overclocked Results

SANDRA CPU Results
Overclocked to 3.88GHz
PCMark05 Details with CPU
Overclocked to 3.88GHz

Our foray in overclocking started off easily enough, moving from a front side bus of 200MHz up to 225MHz without any complaint.  Since the G1975X has the extra cooling around the CPU and power array, we felt confident that we would easily break the 4GB barrier that we typically run into with this particular CPU.  Moving up to 230MHz and beyond was a mixed bag - we could get back into Windows, but the system was unstable and most benchmarks would not complete, or even launch at all.  We backpedaled a few steps until we settled in at 228MHz, a relatively minor overclock, but still within the expected limits for our setup.  After all, this meant raising a 3.4GHz Pentium 4 to just under 3.9GHz. SANDRA and PCMark05 benching while overclocked showed the G1975X performing with an 11-12% improvement.

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