975X Express Motherboard Round-Up: Foxconn, Abit, and MSI
Foxconn 975X7AB: BIOS and Overclocking
The Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H is equipped with an Award / Phoenix v6.0 BIOS derivative, like most other motherboards shipping today. Foxconn has done some customizing, however, that gives the 975X7AB's BIOS a unique look an feel.
Most of the BIOS menus pictured above should look familiar to most of you. They contain options that are commonly found on a multitude of other products. The Standard, Advanced BIOS, and Advanced Chipset Features menus are home to common options for tweaking fan speeds, assigning the boot order, and setting the time and date, etc.
It's in the Fox Central Control Unit menu, however, where you'll find the most interesting options. It's here that all of the 975X7AB's overclocking tools and memory timing options are situated. From within this menu, users are given the ability to alter the CPU multiplier, lock down the PCI clock, and change a number of key voltages and frequencies. The CPU termination and CPU VCore voltages can be increased by .18v or 24% respectively, the memory voltage can be increased by a maximum of .6v, and the MCH (Northbridge) voltage can be increased by up to .24v. There are also some pre-made profiles available here (Energy Saving, Power Gaming, etc.) in the "Fox Intelligent Stepping" menu.
And we should also note that all of the options available in the Fox Central Control Unit tie in with the "Fox One" utility mentioned a couple of pages back. Fox One is a proprietary Windows application that gives users the ability to alter many of the performance related options listed in the Fox Central Control Unit from within Windows.
To asses the overclocking prowess of the Foxconn 975X7AB, we dropped our Core 2 Duo X6800's multiplier, locked the PCI clock, and lowered the memory frequency. Then we gave the CPU a 9% bump in voltage, set the memory voltage to 2.2v (+.4v), and increased the chipset voltage by .2v. Then we began raising the front side bus frequency until our test system was no longer stable. In the end, we were able to take the Foxconn 975X7AB up from 266MHz to 388MHz. With our CPU's multiplier set to 9x, that was a final stable clock speed of just under 3.5GHz. The board would actually boot Windows with FSB frequencies hovering around 400MHz, but we weren't able to completely stabilize the system. Regardless, 388MHz is nothing to sneeze at.