Our Thoughts

First, we should note that certain Gigabyte P965 boards also allow downward unlocks with the latest BIOS releases. ASUS joins them in offering this feature, and they have broken new ground with the 0507 BIOS for the P5B Deluxe. The ability to specify multipliers - even if it's only downward unlocked - is so significant that every other manufacturer will have to follow suit or lose market share to the two motherboard giants.

At present, every Core 2 Duo chip we tried unlocked down (this included both B1 and B2 steppings); however, none of our samples unlocked both up and down. ASUS tells us that many Core 2 Duo chips also unlock upwards, but the upper limit is around a 14X multiplier with those chips that do unlock in both directions. If true, we're certain those chips that can unlock completely will be quickly figured out by enthusiasts and those models and steppings will become the most highly desired Core 2 Duo chips.

Certainly this new BIOS makes the ASUS P5B a much more desirable motherboard. We do need to remind readers, however, that we have generally reached even higher overclocks on the 975X chipset when compared 1:1 with the 965P. ASUS has told us they are not finished with this "Conroe Unlock" feature and that they are working on BIOS revisions to also bring Core 2 Duo unlock to 975X chipset motherboards. We have seen hardware modifications to the Intel 975 BadAxe that allow unlocking, and it would be great if ASUS can accomplish the same with a simple 975 BIOS upgrade, as they have on the P5B Deluxe.

With innovations like this ASUS BIOS, the Intel Core 2 Duo processor is gaining features that make it even more desirable in today's market. To summarize our findings, below are the highest overclocks we could achieve at each ratio with the tested processors:

Core 2 Overclocking
CPU Stock Speed X10 X9 X8 X7 X6
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz 360
3.6GHz
400
3.6GHz
440
3.52GHz
494
3.46GHz
494
2.96GHz
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz - 402
3.62GHz
445
3.56GHz
495
3.47GHz
495
2.97GHz
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz - - 445
3.56GHz
511
3.58GHz
514
3.08GHz
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz - - - 525
3.68GHz
532
3.19GHz

Those interested in getting the most out of their high-performance DDR2 will be very happy with the unlocking feature. It allows options like the running the memory at 1:1 at DDR2-800 and 3-3-3 timings as we have done in this screen capture of a 9x400 overclock on an E6700 with memory set at the DDR2-533 ratio.


ASUS has earned our thanks for making the 965P chipset worth considering again. With overclocks up to 532 in our testing, with multipliers settable to x6 on all tested chips, and with multipliers purportedly also unlocked at the top on some formerly locked Conroe chips this BIOS upgrade has to be considered a must for any ASUS P5B Deluxe owner. For those considering a new Conroe board, the already desirable P5B has just moved to the head of the 965P class. The only feature missing now is support for CrossFire video configurations, which remains an advantage of the 975X for gaming enthusiasts.

E6400 & E6300 – 2MB Cache
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  • mongo lloyd - Friday, August 25, 2006 - link

    Thanks, it's good to know that you'll consider such an article. The buyer guide article was good for the time yes. My reasoning is that it kind of defeats the purpose to buy the cheapest Core 2 Duo when you have to buy the most expensive memory to fully utilize it. Makes sense, I hope. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    I suppose I could be glib and comment that Asus and Gigabyte will soon be the same company so our original reporting is correct. But I won't do that :) Several weeks ago it was announced that the two companies would merge, but brand identities will likely remain distinct - at least for a while.

    Gary and I did have a discussion about the Gigabyte board this afternoon, but there was a misunderstading between us about the unlock feature on the Gigabyte. Gary has explained this in detail in comments above, and he revised the article to reflect that the Gigabyte board also unlocks down, since not mentioning the Gigabyte was clearly an unintentional error that is now corrected. That will teach Gary to set me up :) Actually, Gary and I have been friends for years - long before I was with AT or Gary came on board with us. Gary is incredibly conscientious, and we are fortunate to have him on staff.

    I just got off the phone with Asus Engineering (it's Friday morning in Taiwan) who will provide more information on the chips they claim work on the up unlock and more information on how it works. ALL of the chips we tested unlocked down. None of the chips at AT - "Cherry-Picked", retail, E6700, E6600, E6400, E6300 would unlock and clock up - as we reported CLEARLY. We will update the article with the additional info from Asus when we get it.

    As for nothing new, I certainly consider the overclcoks we got pretty exciting. Gary owns the highest overclocks at 525 and 532 on several Forums since he unlocked the P5B. It is now clear the Gigabyte has the unlock down feature also, but I know for a fact the record overclocks didn't happen on the Gigabyte.
    Reply
  • xsilver - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    asus and gigabyte merge?
    this is news to me.. link?

    this would cause some serious monopolization of the market, which cant be a good thing?
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    The news is on the Gigabyte website at http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/News/Company/News_List....">http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/News/Company/News_List..... You find the Asus news on the Asus site at http://www.asus.com/news_show.aspx?id=3900">http://www.asus.com/news_show.aspx?id=3900.

    The "merger" was announced a few weeks ago in the Taiwan technical trade press.
    Reply
  • xsilver - Friday, August 25, 2006 - link

    oh, not exactly a "merger"
    more like a partnership
    they will be producing a new set of boards together ala asrock type boards?
    any news if this partnership will be producing budget boards or enthusiast type boards, the press release doesnt mention that.

    has a name been decided yet?
    giga-sus ? lol
    as-byte? double lol

    I suspect this will be more a asrock type venture, where cheap mass produced boards can be made without affecting the parent brand name if questions of quality arise
    the benefits though as with asrock, have been the company being able to be more adventurous on designs and configurations?
    Reply
  • JaredExtreme - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    When I first saw the title of this article I was extremely excited.I was thinking to myself: "Asus adds unlocking? Awesome! I'll finally be able unlock those multipliers upwards on some cheap Conroes!" I have a feeling a lot of other people had the same initial enthusiasm when they saw the title.

    Of course then I got to the point where it's mentioned that none of the Conroes unlocked upwards. Given that the technology mentioned in this article has existed for some time, I'm not sure why the article was even put on Anandtech.
    Reply
  • AdamK47 3DS - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    I believe Anandtech needs to edit the article to aknowledge that Gigabyte was the first with the feature. Reply
  • Madellga - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    Wesley, you probably know this (at least Gary should know it, as he has threads on the CPU Forum).

    This is not an ASUS feature - at least on the P965 boards. Gigabyte was there before.
    I have a DQ6 and the shipping BIOS F2 had it already.

    With so many people on the forum using Gigabyte (including Gary), I wonder why do we have an article based on the Asus.....
    Reply
  • ZachSaw - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    Exactly. The whole article has been singing in ASUS tune when in fact they've just copied someone else's feature! Shame shame.

    It's such an old feature to exploit EIST for multiplier adjustment that Gigabyte didn't even talked about it any more. Perhaps Wesley is excited ASUS has finally implemented that feature? :) ASUS fan-boy.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Exactly. The whole article has been singing in ASUS tune when in fact they've just copied someone else's feature! Shame shame.


    This is my fault. I had a miscommunication with Wes about the unlock features on the Gigabyte boards. Asus had figured out a way to go up and down which (we are trying to find the proper lot number to test) Gigabyte and others had not at this time. In my conversations with Wes I relayed the wrong statement about Gigabyte's capability in this area or my words were confusing about the EIST exploit. Asus will also implement this capability on the 975X chipset in the near future. If the tables were turned on the manufacturer then Wes would be a Gigabyte Fan-Boy I guess......
    Reply

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