Maximus Extreme: BIOS and Overclocking
Like the P5E3 Premium, the Maximus Extreme is equipped with a Phoenix/Award BIOS derivative that is very complete and relatively easy to navigate, but there are some differences. As you'd expect from an enthusiast-class motherboard, from within the BIOS users have the ability to configure, enable or disable all of the board's integrated peripherals, and monitor voltages and clock speeds. And the Maximus Extreme also has an extensive array of memory timing options that offer excellent flexibility for fine tuning memory performance.
The Maximus Extreme's standard BIOS menu screens don't reveal anything out of the ordinary, but as we mentioned earlier they will give you a feel for the general layout and organization of the options. Like the P5E3 Premium, and many Asus-built motherboards to come before it, each individual screen has a host of menus that tunnel deeper and deeper as the options get more complex.
If you click through the images above and below, you'll see that the Maximus Extreme easily has one of the most tweaker-friendly BIOS offerings available, regardless of the platform. The shear number of options available from within this motherboard's BIOS should clue you in that this is not a product desiged for novices. There are a ton of knobs and switches to throw in this baby.
From within the "Extreme Tweaker" section of the BIOS, users have the ability to alter clock frequencies and voltages for virtually every on-board component. The CPU and PCI Express frequencies can be altered in 1MHz increments, and the CPU multiplier and memory ratio can also be manipulated manually. We should note that the Blitz Extreme officially supports a 1333MHz DDR3 memory speed, which is how we tested the board. There are also extensive voltage options for the CPU, Memory, chipset, and PLL. With the extensive set of tools available in the Maximus Extreme's BIOS, tweakers should be able to wring every last bit of performance out of their hardware.
We followed the same procedure outlined a few pages back to overclock the Maximus Extreme. We began by increasing our processor's core, the northbridge, and the memory voltages by .1v. Then we dropped our processor's multiplier, lowered the memory speed, and increased the front side bus frequency until our test system was no longer stable. Ultimately, we were able to increase the FSB to 512MHz with stock cooling and a couple of minor tweaks to the BIOS. With more extensive tweaking and better cooling, the Maximus Extreme could surely go higher than this. Regardless, an FSB greater then 500MHz is very good.