BIOS and Overclocking
The Asus P5W64 WS BIOS menus are a mirror image of the BIOS we found in the Asus P5W DH, with one small additional feature providing a level of control over the board's PCI Express switch configuration.
The board allows users to tweak memory, processor core, FSB, Northbridge and Southbridge voltages. The memory voltage can be set as high as 2.4v, the Vcore as high as 1.7v, FSB as high as 1.5v, and the Northbridge and Southbridge voltages can be set as high as 1.65v and 1.2v, respectively. Since the P5W64 WS is targeted at enthusiasts and power users, Asus incorporated a host of overclocking tools into its system BIOS as well. With the P5W64 WS, users have the ability to alter their processor's front side bus frequency in 1MHz increments, between 100MHz and 450MHz. And they can also set the memory to run at an assortment of frequencies, including 1066MHz when using a processor with a similar FSB. PCI Express and PCI clocks can also be altered, or locked in to their default values.
Finally, the BIOS image screen on the bottom row and far right is a setting for "High Priority Port Select" for PCI Express ports in the BIOS. The settings speak to the selection of higher than VCO but below VC1. The notion of VCs or "Virtual Channels" is being applied here, though frankly we're currently unclear as to what specifically this setting does and which devices might function on ports 1 or port 5 as is shown in the screen-shot. Virtual Channels in PCI Express refer to the ability to maintain QoS or "quality of service" levels for a specific port on a PCI Express enabled device. Essentially this means traffic on a higher VC will be given priority over traffic on a lower specified VC. The crux of our question to Asus is, which devices on the motherboard are affected by this setting? Is the slot ordering affected or does it even prioritize things like the PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller that is onboard. We've asked Asus for comment and will follow-up with an update here as soon as information is available.
Armed with a Core 2 Duo E6700 processor, we set out to see how high we could overclock our CPU by altering the voltages and the FSB. We bumped our memory voltage to 2.3v and increased the processor core voltage by .1v. Then we jacked up the FSB as far as we could, keeping memory speeds within reasonable limits, via the board's multitude of clock divisors.
When all was said and done, we were able to take our E6700 CPU to 3.5GHz, by raising its FSB to 350MHz and running our RAM at DDR2-1050MHz settings in the BIOS. This overclock was achieved with the help of one of our favorite standard LGA775 type HSF coolers from Arctic Cooling, the AC Freezer 7. The Asus P5W64 WS is clearly a very capable overclocker.