BIOS and Overclocking
EPoX is marketing the EP-5LDA+GLI as an enthusiast-class motherboard built for overclocking. With that in mind, we'll focus our attention on the performance related settings available in this version of its Award BIOS. EPoX includes a versatile selection of options that give a good amount of control over the system's behavior. Starting with the memory settings, the DRAM timings could be set By SPD as well as manually. CAS Latency settings from 3, 4, 5, 6 and Auto were available. And both DRAM RAS# to CAS# Delay and Precharge offered settings of 2 through 6, and Auto. Precharge Delay started at 4 and went up to 15 in steps of 1.
The PC Heath Status Screen offered insight into the state of the system's various temperatures, fans speeds and voltages. Additionally, the SmartFan Function could be configured to throttle CPU fan speed based on Full Speed, Duty Cycle or Temperature. There is a PC Health status screen that can be enabled to display this information during system POST and the system can be set to shutdown if a pre-determined CPU temperature is exceeded, ranging from 60C to 95C in 5C increments.
The POWER BIOS Feature screen, as the name implies, contained all of the advanced performance settings for those looking for more control over their hardware. Here, the CPU Clock/Speed setting offered FSB options of 200MHz through 350MHz which can be keyed in directly. There was also a Real Time Turbo Mode setting that had settings of 1-15, with each adding 4MHz to the FSB. So in this case, setting "1" resulted in 204MHz while 15 resulted in 260MHz. And the PCI Express frequency could also be keyed in from 100MHz to 150MHz. The System Memory Frequency offered dividers of 1:1, 3:4 and 3:5 resulting in 400, 533 and 667MHz respectively.
Voltage options were adequate, with the VCore ranging from -.0875v up to +.25v. Chipset voltage ranged from +.10 to +.30 pushing the voltage from a default of 1.5v to 1.8v. Memory Voltages defaulted at 1.80v and maxed out at 2.15v with an overvoltage option from 0 to .35v in .05 increments.
So, with all of these options and decent frequency and voltage controls, the EPoX EP-5LDA+GLI should impress in overclocking, right? Well, the answer is yes and no. Using the latest BIOS available on the EPoX website, we had a relatively poor overclocking experience, unable to exceed a 219MHz FSB no matter what we tried. When we reached out to our contact at EPoX, they provided a new BIOS that improved our experience somewhat, but the results were still somewhat disappointing. In the end, we reached a maximum 235MHz FSB, which pushed our Pentium D 820 from 2.8GHz up to 3.3GHz, well below this CPU's peak. We hope EPoX comes out with an update that will improve this situation. But until then, those looking for a solid overclocking board may want to contact EPoX about this before making a purchase. If a BIOS is available that corrects this issue, however, we think the EP-5LDA+ GLI will not disappoint with its host of options.