BIOS and Overclocking
Although the EVGA Classified SR-2 is built around Intel’s 5520 workstation-class chipset, it actually features a BIOS that’s more akin to an enthusiast-class, overclocker-friendly motherboard. This is important to point out because the vast majority of workstation motherboards for Xeon processors do not support any sort of overclocking and usually have minimal options for performance tuning and tweaking.
While the EVGA Classified SR-2 does have an extensive array of voltage and frequency related options, that will surely appease the hardcore overclockers out there, we do think it can use a bit of refinement. The board was stable and we didn’t experience and BIOS-related glitches, but its layout is somewhat mundane and there are minimal explanations as to what each feature does. Savvy users won’t really mind this, but it would still be useful to have at least some explanations listed. At the very least, we would have liked to have seen the default values for each option listed at the right so users could more easily see what the recommended values are for things like IOH and CPU PLL voltages.
Of course, with such a powerful platform at our disposal even in its stock form, we wanted to see how easily it could be pushed and how far it would go with little more than some quality air-coolers and a small voltage bump.
With an additional .15 volts for each processor and the memory set at the processor’s recommended max of 1.65v, we were easily able to hit 4.1GHz with the Xeon 5680s, for an increase of about 800MHz over stock (disregarding Turbo Mode). At this kind of frequency, the platform obviously offers extreme performance, as is evident by the Cinebench 11.5 score shown here, which makes even the Core i7 980X and Skulltrail seem quaint in comparison.
We should also point out, that while we were easily able to overclock the SR-2 and that >4.1GHz is nothing to sneeze at; this motherboard and these processors are capable of MUCH more using more exotic cooling methods and higher voltages. We’ve seen scores at 4.6GHz with liquid cooling and even higher with LN2. The point we’d like to get across is that the EVGA Classified SR-2 is capable of extreme overclocking feats, in the right hands.