Those familiar with the Asus style of BIOS will feel right at home with the Sabertooth as the layout is identical to other enthusiast Asus motherboards. The overclocking section is named AI tweaker and this is the area which will have our up most attention in this section. Beginning with the AI Overclock tuner we have 34 options, Auto (stock), D.O.C.P (overclocking memory via CPU base clock) and X.M.P (Pre configured memory settings via XMP profiling).
A new feature we are beginning to see incorporated into the Asus BIOS is the Xtreme phase mode. This mode allows either AUTO (EPU power switching) or enabled (full power mode for overclocking). This setting could perhaps be best employed automatically should you adjust the baseclock frequency, the power mode would automatically switch to enabled instead of having to do it manually as the last thing an overclocker wants is a crash due to power switching.
Due to chipset limitations, the maximum memory divider at stock baseclock is 1600MHz. This figure can of course be increased in line with the base clock but requires precise calculation.
Much the same as the memory dividers, the QPI frequency is directly linked to the CPU baseclock. However, there are only two variables allowed this time which may restrict overclocking. An area Asus never fail to disappoint is the memory timings. A full two pages of settings containing the primary and sub-timings are available for the end user to tweak, most of which will be unfamiliar to the average user so are perhaps best left in the AUTO state.
The CPU differential amplitude allows one to increase the amplitude of a given clock signal which in turn increase their noise immunity. In short what this means is that as clockspeeds increase, so does the noise level. If the noise is too high then this can be mistaken for a clock signal which will therefore result in an error being transmitted. Not good if you are in the middle of a mammoth Prime95 session or worse, [email protected]
Clock skew settings are also in situ which will no doubt also be adjusted in line with the differential if you are encountering stability issues.
One of my complaints with our last Asus test motherboard was the switch to using the offset method of calculating Vcore. Personally I find it much easier to set the vcore manually rather than using the offset method which means adding a value to the stock vcore. Asus have now seen sense and catered for both parties by allowing the users to set either manual or offset. Once you have chosen your preferred method you can crack on with setting your voltages, some extreme, on virtually every critical component necessary for overclocking.
With your settings complete and a reboot forgone, a quick look in the PC Health status menu will show you the CPU and motherboard temperatures which to be frank are very much on the conservative side. The ambient temps in the test lab were 23c so unless the Sabertooth is defying the laws of physics I find it hard to believe the CPU temperature was below this.
Once you are settled on your overclock or indeed your BIOS settings, you can back them up into one of eight O.C Profiles. These profiles are invaluable for those who wish to switch between suicide benchmark runs and ultimate stability for gaming. The profiles are loaded at the push of a single button so instead of filling out the various settings over and over again saving both time and patience, especially when testing out those extreme settings that result in a CMOS clear.