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MSI P6N SLI Platinum Motherboard Review - Page 6 of 10

BIOS OVERVIEW

I am admittedly very picky and critical of how a BIOS is setup and implemented. Implementing a working BIOS that covers all features must be a near monumental task, but as a end-user having to wait on a fix is frustrating. With that said, I will say that the P6N SLI Platinum's BIOS is acceptable in that it works as advertised and all the key elements are there for overclocking. There is room for improvement and would more settings activated in the Core Cell Center such as the NB voltage adjustments and fan monitoring.

It really does not matter whether the BIOS is AMI, Award/Phoenix, or whatever. What does matter is that you have a good understanding of the settings before attempting any manipulation within the BIOS. Some activations or de-activations will have little or no affect at all, but some have the potential to produce the affect you do not want. It is better to know exactly what needs to be changed and how to go about doing it before making any changes.

The best advice I can give is to read the manual first then you will know what to research as the manual will more than likely be too brief, lack clarity, or give inadequate explanation. Some of the best insight I obtained for the P5N-E nForce 650i motherboard BIOS settings came early on from the knowledgeable posters in the lengthy thread on the subject in AnandTech's forums. Nevertheless, the BIOS is the heart of the PC and whether a casual gamer, avid gamer, overclocker, enthusiast, or any combination you categorize yourself as, you need to first become familiar with how everything works in the particular BIOS you are using.

One of the first things I did after the first boot was go into the BIOS and set the RAM timings appropriately for what I was using. In this case the recommended timings are 5-5-4-12, but that is for running at 533MHz and I want to run at 400MHz, or 800MHz effective. The RAM is overkill and I should be using some good PC-6400, but this is one of those times when you "run what you brung," (using some good 'ole southern boy English). So, PC-8500 it is and I will just drop it down to 800MHz and tighten up the timings to 4-4-4-12 in the BIOS.

Memory Timings

Selecting Advance DRAM Configuration in the BIOS I changed "Auto" to "Manual" and manually changed each memory setting tCL, tRCD, tRP, and tRAS as indicated in the screen above.

As the motherboard boasts 1333MHz FSB capability, the E6600 is 1333MHz capable, and from previous experience with the memory I know it can easily exceed that level. The first order of business was to test the 1333MHz threshold. After installing all necessary software and making other initial system checks, I returned to the BIOS and at the main screen proceeded as follows.

BIOS Main Menu

The main screen is fairly standard and straight-forward so I will not dwell here. To check out the 1333MHz capability I opened the "Cell Menu."

Cell Menu

The "System Clock Mode" is set at "Auto" by default and I selected "Manual" for manually selecting the desired MHz, in this case 1333MHz.

Configuring Front Side Bus

I simply typed in "1333" and hit enter. While at this screen you may note that I have disabled D.O.T. and Intel EIST as both will interfere with manual overclocking. Also note the "Memory Clock" frequency is set at 800MHz and the CPU Ratio at "9." Further down is the "Advance DRAM Configuration" which I previously set and then the adjustment for PCI-E frequency which I just left at 100. At the bottom are the voltage adjustments for the CPU, memory, NB, and SB. No voltage adjustments will be made over the defaults other than this particular memory being set at 2.2V (the base recommended voltage for this memory) for testing 1333MHz capability.

CPU-Z - 1333MHz FSB

Boot-up went smooth and as you see CPU-Z registered the rated FSB at 1333MHz, as advertised, giving an effective core speed of 3.0GHz. To check stability I let it run overnight and most of the next day in Orthos blend mode while I was at work. Later, at these settings, Super PI Mod 1.5, 32MB test, was successfully completed in 19 minutes, 01.14 seconds. Maximum temperature recorded was 48C up from an idle temp of 36C with ambient room temperature of a balmy 27C (air conditioning went out). This is with the P6N SLI Platinum's default voltages except for the ram which I manually set at its recommended 2.2V setting.

Next Page: Dual Core Center

Last Updated on April 24, 2007


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