Asus P5WD2 Premium i955X

BIOS Options and Overclocking Results


Examining the BIOS of the P5WD2
The "brains" behind the operation




Getting a glimpse of AMI's grey BIOS screens was a bit of change after constantly seeing AWARD/Phoenix versions on other boards.  While the options remain the same for the most part, it took a little searching to find exactly what we were looking for.  The initial page remains unchanged - check here for global system settings such as time and date, and an overview of what drives are installed.  The Advanced tab housed many other sections under the same roof.  The very first section called JumperFree Configuration we left for now as the default operations will work just fine.  We will need to return here later when we get to overclocking the P5WD2.

Moving onward brought us to the Advanced CPU and Chipset Settings.  These settings are used specifically for tweaking operations, such as manually inputting DRAM timings to optimize your memory or enable or disable Hyper-Threading for the CPU.  Most of these items are set to [AUTO] or to their optimal settings, so when in doubt it's OK to leave these alone.  We also found settings for the secondary PCI-e graphics slot here, with the options available to us being [Auto], 2x Mode or 4x mode, which is the fastest, but requires disabling the remaining 1x PCI-e slot.

Since the P5WD2 contains so many features, the BIOS must also reflect this, thus the Super I/O configuration page contains a long list of chipsets and controllers to be chosen from.  This might be the longest list we've ever seen, with dual LAN options, secondary SATA and IDE controllers with RAID thrown in, as well as the typical serial and parallel port addressing.  Our final stop occurs at the Hardware Monitor, which displays system temps and fan speeds.  Using the Q-Fan control, fan speeds can be set to optimal, performance mode, or even to silent mode, which maximizes the fan speed to provide the quietest operation possible.

Overclocking Tools
Tricks of the trade



Overclocking is never an exact science; there's no simple number or sequence to plug-in to get the desired results.  A lot has to be taken into account when tweaking your speeds, such as temperatures, voltages, and tolerance levels on the components you are using.  Of course, with experience, the journey has a few less bumps in the road.  With the P5WD2 the journey began once we changed the AI Overclocking setting to [Manual], which opened up a whole slew of new options.  CPU Frequency can be manually input as high as 450MHz, which sounds a bit extreme, and the DRAM settings allow for 5 pre-set dividers ranging from 400MHz to 800MHz speeds.  The dividers help keep speeds in check, but are not as fine-tuned as the options on some nForce 4 SLI Intel boards, which allowed us to set specific speeds for the memory.  On the other hand, both the PCI Express and PCI busses can be locked down to specific frequencies, which will prevent them from running into trouble as we raise the front side bus frequency.  To give our system some extra boost during the overlocking process, VCore and Memory voltages can be raised with the VCore only going so high as a tame 1.7V.  In addition, individual voltages for the FSB, MCH and ICH chipsets can also be raised to pre-set frequencies.  Plenty of tools to keep a tweaker happy.

Pentium 4 3.4GHz CPU
Overclocked to 4.05GHz

CPU-Z Results
P4 3.4GHz CPU
Overclocked to 4.05GHz

Corsair DDR2 667MHz
Overclocked to 793MHz

Rather than attempt at overclocking the P4EE, which would be out of the price range for the majority of us, we decided to take a P4 550 3.4GHz CPU and see how far we could push it. Our overclocking results were just what we had hoped for. We found that we were able to get as high as 4.05GHz with our 3.4GHz P4, which came out to 793MHz for the RAM.  We bumped up the voltages for the CPU, Chipset, and Memory just a bit, to give us enough extra boost to maintain the raised speeds.  This turned out to be the highest speed that we have been able to hit with this CPU, and reaching over 4GHz on air is a pretty mean feat.  At any rate, the extra 600MHz we picked up increased our SANDRA results quite a bit, so that our score was well over a 3.8GHz P4 in the CPU Arithmetic test, and we picked up nearly 400MB/s bandwidth in the memory benchmark.

Tags:  Asus, WD, Pre, EMI, Premium, ium

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