The BIOS & Overclocking
The Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe is equipped with an AMI (American Megatrends, Inc.) BIOS, that is relatively complete and easy to navigate. From within the BIOS users have the ability to configure, enable or disable all of the board's integrated peripherals, and can monitor fan speeds, voltages and clock speeds. The A8R32-MVP Deluxe also had one of, if not the most complete set of memory timing options we've encountered to date.
The standard BIOS menu screens don't reveal anything extraordinary, but they will give you a "feel" for the layout and organization of the options. Each individual screen has a host of menus that tunnel deeper and deeper as the options get more complex. Overall, it is very similar to the Award BIOS derivatives used on most other motherboards, but navigating through Asus' BIOS does take some getting used to if you've never experienced it before.
One stand-out feature in the A8R32-MVP Deluxe's standard BIOS option gives users the ability to set the initialization order of the PEG slots. This feature allows users to install a CrossFire Master card in either slot, which makes configuring a CrossFire rig somewhat easier.
ATI claims the CrossFire Xpress 3200 was "massively over-spec'd" during its design, and that there is no need for sever over-volting while overclocking. According to ATI, the HyperTransport link interface has been optimized so that it can run reliable at speeds up to 1.5GHz, 50% above specifications. And the PCI Express interface has been optimized so that it can run at up to 40% higher speeds as well. There is also no internal division done, so raising the HTT reference clock translates to a 1:1 increase in internal clocking.
Perhaps it was because of this agressive specification process, that Asus didn't go over to top with this board's overclocking options as they relate to voltages. That's not to say the A8R32-MVP isn't designed for overclockers, however. Make no mistake, this motherboard has a ton of tweaking tools. You just won't see insane CPU core and chipset voltage options in the screen shots above.
The Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe gives users the ability to raise the HTT clock to speed up to 400MHz in 1MHz increments and the PCIe clock up to 150MHz, also in 1MHz increments. CPU multipliers as low as 4x and as high as 25.5x are available as well. The CPU voltage can be altered in two ways, first by increasing it by up to .05 volts in the appropriately labeled "Processor Voltage" menu, and then by bumping it up further by another 100mv or 200mv using the VCore Over-Voltage option. Memory voltages as high as 3.2v. Chipset, HyperTransport, and PCI Express voltages can all be increased to 1.5v. The HyperTransport clock speed and memory clock speeds can also be tuned independently.
System memory in particular can be very finely tuned thanks to a new feature offered by this board dubbed, "AI Clock Skew". This feature automatically skews the timing of the memory clock for better overclocking and also gives users the ability to individually adjust the clock signal of the two memory channels to find their memory's optimal frequency.
To see how the Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe faired in the overclocking department, we dropped our Athlon 64 X2 4800+'s multiplier to 4x, increased the core and chipset voltages, and raised the HTT clock speed until the system would no longer boot. We left the HT clock set on auto, and raised the memory divider to keep our Corsair RAM running reliably. When all was said and done we hit an impressive 340MHz, which is the highest overclock we've seen with any Socket 939 based motherboard. We also tinkered with our processor's multiplier and system memory clocks to see how high we could take our particular CPU. And we hit a peak of just over 2.7GHz, with a 285MHz HTT clock. If numbers like these turn out to be the norm, overclockers should certainly be pleased by the Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe.