Epox 5LWA+ i925XE Motherboard

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BIOS Options and Overclocking Results

  

Examining the BIOS of the 5LWA+
The "setup" for our setup

       

      

      

The options available to us in the Phoenix-AWARD BIOS were as varied as the components on the board itself.  We first checked that our drives were all detected correctly, and set their boot order in the Advanced BIOS Features.  Moving onto the Advanced Chipset Features, we allowed the DRAM timings to be determined By SPD, which set the CAS Latency, RAS to CAS delay, RAS Precharge, and tRAS delay to their default settings (4-4-4-12).  Tweakers can modify these timings to squeeze out a little extra performance, depending on whether or not their RAM is up to the challenge.

The integrated peripherals included dual Marvell LAN devices, Realtek Audio CODECS, and the parallel and serial ports.  SATA ports can be configured as traditional IDE, RAID, or AHCI depending on the desired setup under the On-Chip Serial ATA heading.  Under PC Health Status, we can see the temperatures of the CPU as well as the "thermo-stick", a probe which can be placed wherever a reading is desired.  We could also view current fan speeds of the CPU and chassis fans and monitor all voltages.  The final two Smart Fan options let the user define a temperature that the system should maintain for the chassis or just the CPU.  The fan speeds are adjusted as needed to achieve this goal, which results in quieter operation during non-load usage.

Overclocking Tools
So many options, so little time

   

      

By all appearances, Epox has provided all of the tools necessary for achieving some high overclocking speeds.  The CPU Clock can be raised from a default speed of 200MHz (266MHz for the Extreme Edition P4) up to 350MHz.  Raising the front side bus results in the memory and PCI-e bus running at higher frequencies as well.  To limit the effect this has on the video card, the PCI Express frequency can be "locked" in at 100MHz.  Similarly, the memory frequency can be left at auto for normal purposes, but can be set at 1:1 or 3:4 dividers to keep the speeds in check.  Voltage options for the CPU ranged from -0.0875V to +0.1875V in 0.0125V increments.  DDR2 Voltages can be adjusted as high as 0.35V over the normal 1.8V in 0.05V steps and the Chipset voltage can also be raised in 0.05V steps up to +0.15V. 




SANDRA CPU Overclocked


PCMark04 Overclocked



When we last attempted overclocking this particular CPU on the Shuttle SB95P, we ran into a wall in the mid 230's for the front side bus, so we were hoping to get past this mark with the Epox 5LWA+.  Although the list of options for overclocking was slightly better in the BIOS of the 5LWA+, we were still only able to get a maximum stable overclock at 232MHz.  This required raising the CPU Voltage up to 1.45V and we also raised the Corsair DDR2 up to 2.0V.  Any attempts at going higher than 240 MHz simply caused the system to lock up during booting, or gave us STOP errors when loading in device drivers.  As of this point, we're left with the feeling that this is a limitation of this particular CPU, and not a fault of the board.  As always, overclocking is not an exact science, and requires a bit of luck with the chosen parts as well as some trial and error. 

Our final overclocked speed of 232MHz came out to approximately a 16% jump in the FSB, with the CPU running just under 4GHz and the DDR2 operating at a frequency of 310MHz.  Running benchmarks while overclocked gave us an expected boost in CPU and RAM performance as shown in the accompanying SANDRA and PCMARK04 screen shots on the left. 

 

Tags:  Motherboard, board, AR

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