Skulltrail BIOS and Overclocking
Unlike Intel-built motherboards from years past, the Skulltrail D5400XS has very complete and relatively easy to navigate BIOS geared for enthusiasts. From within the BIOS users have the ability to configure, enable or disable all of the board's integrated peripherals, and monitor voltages, temperatures, fan speeds, and clock speeds. The D5400XS also has a relatively complete set of memory timing options that offer some flexibility for fine tuning memory performance.
The DX5400XS’ standard BIOS menu screens don't reveal anything out of the ordinary, but they will give you a feel for the general layout and organization of the options. Each individual screen has a host of menus that tunnel deeper and deeper as the options get more complex.
Other than the color scheme and naming conventions, the D5400XS’ menus are very similar to the Award and AMI BIOS derivatives used on most other high-end motherboards being manufactured today, but navigating through Intel's BIOS menus may take some getting used to if you've never experienced them before.
Intel D5400XS - Overclocking It'll Do
It’s within the Processor, Bus, and Memory Override sections of the DX5400XS’ BIOS that you'll find most of the board's performance and overclocking related tuning options. From within these sections of the BIOS, users have the ability to alter clock frequencies and voltages for virtually every major on-board component. The CPU and PCI Express frequencies can be altered in 1MHz increments, and the CPU multiplier and memory ratio can also be manipulated manually. There are also extensive voltage options for the CPU, Memory, and chipset, with helpful information available in the right-most column that explains what many of the options do.
After seeing Intel’s 4GHz Skulltrail rigs at CES, we were eager to see what our samples could do with a little cajoling. With each CPU outfitted with a Zalman CNPS9500 copper cooler, we increased their core voltage to 1.35v (+.1v), and raised the CPU multiplier until our test setup was no longer stable. In the end, we were able to hit a stable 4GHz with very little effort. We’re sure some of you may be wondering what the motherboard could do with a standard Xeon processor in its socket, but unfortunately we were not able to test this just yet. And Intel wasn’t clear on whether or not they would allow FSB overclocking on Xeons that already feature a high 1600MHz FSB frequency.