Intel P965 Showdown - Abit vs. GIGABYTE
Abit AB9 Pro: BIOS and Overclocking
I'm sure your unconsciously eyeing the set of BIOS images below so lets get a few things out of the way before we start digging into the AB9 Pro's BIOS. Besides cropping we have not altered the images in anyway, you haven't gone color blind, your monitor isn't broken, our monitor isn't broken, our video card works fine and so do our digital cameras. Yes, that's right, the AB9 Pro's BIOS background is bright pink. And no, we don't know why Abit chose that color either.
The AB9 Pro uses a Pheonix/Award BIOS similar to the DQ6's Award BIOS from the main menu, but that's where the similarities stop. Overall the BIOS is well laid out and simple to navigate. However, we liked the DQ6's BIOS slightly more because it was a bit more linear. It takes a couple minutes to find everything in the AB9 Pro's BIOS, especially if you skip the whole 'read the manual' thing.
Instead of the M.I.T. menu, the AB9 Pro has a uGuru menu for all your overclocking needs. While it's not as comprehensive as the M.I.T., all the essentials are there. The uGuru menu is divided into two sub-menus; OC Guru and ABIT EQ. The ABIT EQ is where you can monitor your PC's temperature, fan speeds, voltage and set temperature and fan alarms. The OC Guru menu contains all of the overclocking options. However, you won't find the RAM timing adjustments here, for that you'll have to go to the 'Advanced Chipset Features' menu.
The OC Guru menu lets you set the front side bus frequency anywhere from 133 MHz to 600MHz, in 1 MHz increments. The DRAM to FSB ratio can be set between 1:1, 4:5, and 2:3. The PCI-E clock can be adjustment from 100MHz to 200MHz in 1 MHz increments. Noticeably missing is the CPU multiplier adjustment, although the current multiplier is displayed.
In addition to the previously mentioned frequency adjustments, the CPU, DIMM, MCH and ICHIO voltages can all be adjusted from the main OC Guru menu. The CPU voltage can be adjusted from 1.325V to 1.725V in 0.025V increments, while the DIMM voltage can be adjusted from 1.75V to 2.50V in 0.05V increments. Both the MCH and ICHIO voltages can be adjusted between 1.25V and 1.45V in 0.05V increments.
Just like with the DQ6, we took a Core 2 E6400 processor and set out to see if the AB9 Pro's uGuru overclocking features and overclocking heritage would amount to equally impressive overclocking results. We loaded the BIOS' optimized defaults, then increased the FSB as far as we could go. The frequency of our Corsair TWIN2X1024-8500 modules were kept as close to their rated speed of 1066MHz as possible by adjusting the BIOS' memory multiplier settings.
Despite high expectations, our AB9 Pro let us down. We were able to take our E6400 CPU to 2.88GHz, by raising the FSB to 360MHz and running our RAM at 900MHz. This is the highest speed our system was able to handle with perfect stability. Raising the FSB further prevented us from even getting into windows. While a 750MHz overclock is modest compared to the DQ6's 990 MHz, it's still very healthy especially considering all voltages were at stock levels.