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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  • ZachSaw - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    In the meantime, do take the article offline.

    Find a bigger sample -- determine which ones can be "unlocked" upwards, which ones can't. Compare with Retail B2. Those are the ones most people are using and are available off the shelves. Otherwise, the article is completely meaningless as it is right now. Other than to make Wesley appear like an ASUS fan-boy, of course! ;)

    Anandtech articles are so significant to a lot of people and companies -- you simply can't afford to make such elementary mistakes! If some motherboard manufacturers tell you they have unlocked one of Intel's most highly kept secrets, you'll have to start questioning from every angle -- not embrace it like every other fan-boys.

    Like I've said, there're only 2 tools that are capable of 'unlocking' (it's actually reversing) the fused settings. 3 if you consider micro surgery on the chip itself. Never had the need to use that big expensive machine though. If the chip is properly configured (i.e. all production parts), you can forget reversing it. I can't go into more details about the 2 tools, but I can assure you that ASUS or any other mobo manufacturers for that matter do not have access to them.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Anandtech articles are so significant to a lot of people and companies -- you simply can't afford to make such elementary mistakes! If some motherboard manufacturers tell you they have unlocked one of Intel's most highly kept secrets, you'll have to start questioning from every angle -- not embrace it like every other fan-boys.


    We agree. :) We do have screenshots from Asus along with other engineering information showing chips upclocking. We are discussing the upclock statements but for the mean time the article has clarified the down clock information. That error was my fault as my communication to Wes was flawed when discussing the down clock with and without EIST enabled.

    As for the B1 / B2 steppings, B1 was the planned retail release and several shipments did make it into distribution. Our B2 E6300/E6400 overclock better than their B1 counterparts. As for the B1 E6600~X6800, our internal units vary up to 200MHZ in overclock ability on the X6800 as an example. Intel sent out several thousand B1 review samples and that is what we have to use unless individuals on the staff purchase new retail chips which can become quite expensive. ;-) I have been through all of the overclocking results with our press samples/retail chips. Unless you had access to hand binned chips, then it truly is the luck of the draw about the chip capability you will receive.
    Reply
  • Anemone - Sunday, August 27, 2006 - link

    This is correct. B1's did make it to retail.

    Zach, for someone who's not supposed to say much, you talk a lot... and not by email, which I find surprising. It's your call, but it is very unusual, and motivated by something I think.

    These are curious posts for sure.
    Reply
  • Frumious1 - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    They never said they unlocked up. And GIVE THE B2 vs. B1 SHIT A REST!

    Did they say their B1 unlocked up? NO! Did they say their B2 unlocked up? NO! So what exactly does B2 give you over B1, a display in CPU-Z that saying B2 and probably a processor that you didn't have to pay for, that's what. ASUS says some chips do unlock up; I certainly don't expect AnandTech to run around purchasing chips to try and find out which ones will work.

    So Gigabyte and ASUS unlock down, other boards use EIST to automatically drop to 6X (and only 6X as far as I'm aware) for power saving. BIOS updates can fix that, but a lot of companies won't bother. Anyway, at least we now know that you work for Intel, what with your L33T Inside Information.
    Reply
  • ZachSaw - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    Read the post I responded to, kid, before you speak. Reply
  • Frumious1 - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    Thanks, old Intel fart who probably works in Malaysia for Intel at a chip fab. As I said, never say never. If there's one thing I can say for certain, it's that the Taiwanese, Chinese, etc. have some very talented engineers. I don't doubt that Asus has some non-ES, non-X6800 chips that unlock up. Are they simply an analomy? Possibly - probably even - but you "2 sooper secrit toolz" that allow reversal of the locks simply mean that there is a way to pull this off. Whether it's practical or not, I can't say, and you're not telling.

    Anyway, they've updated the conclusion to now mention Gigabyte, so I hope that keeps you happy. I for one must also be an Asus fanboy because I find their Intel boards to be among the best around - far better than the BadAxe, that's for sure. Without knowing anything about a motherboard, I'd go with chance and take an Asus over any other manufacturer. There have been a few lemons, but everyone has those - even Intel (and AMD, Gigabyte, etc.) By and large, I trust Asus more than any other motherboard company.

    And hey, if they want to market their boards better than Gigabyte and specifically ask Anandtech to do a special report on the feature, more power to 'em! AMD could learn a thing or two about marketing from Asus. Heh. I still prefer the P5W DH, but would really like to see SLI support with a high-end chipset. (Yeah, I'm an nVidia fanboy as well - not my fault that ATI's drivers are still flaky in a lot of situations and have a cruddy UI.) Unfortunately, I don't think 590 SLI is going to be the answer... maybe "nforce6" or whatever will offer high overclocks and SLI support, but that's still a while off it seems.
    Reply
  • ZachSaw - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    Nope. I don't work for Intel.

    And no, you're way off the point -- this is never about Gigabyte vs ASUS.

    And yes, you're entitled to have your own opinion. Perhaps one day we'll even have a mobo that allows you to have both Intel and AMD chips on one board doing dual processor. Great, now off you go.
    Reply
  • Frumious1 - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Nope. I don't work for Intel.


    quote:

    There's no way you can unlock it upwards -- unless you have the 2 tools I had access to. And no, you do not have access to those tools.


    quote:

    Like I've said, there're only 2 tools that are capable of 'unlocking' (it's actually reversing) the fused settings. 3 if you consider micro surgery on the chip itself. Never had the need to use that big expensive machine though. If the chip is properly configured (i.e. all production parts), you can forget reversing it. I can't go into more details about the 2 tools, but I can assure you that ASUS or any other mobo manufacturers for that matter do not have access to them.



    Okay, so you don't work for Intel but you apparently have access to a microsurgery chip corrector machine, and you have access to tools that "ASUS or any other mobo manufacturers" lack. Wow. If you don't work for Intel, then I would have to conclude you either work for AMD, IBM, or some other major chip fabrication company (TSMC maybe). Then we of course have to wonder why this upsets you so... but if you work for AMD that would be a given, since good news for Intel is bad news for AMD generally speaking. I have difficulty imagining something that you might have access to that Asus would not.

    I suppose you need to protect your identity, regardless, but it's all rather silly to bash a short article that basically says "Asus claims upward unlocks are sometimes possible" when you really don't have proof, except from your vast knowledge of what is and isn't possible. The world is full of things that were once deemed "impossible", and if Anandtech says ASUS has sent them screencaptures, I have no reason to doubt that. Were they with ES, B1, B2, or something else? Nobody has yet given a concrete answer.

    Do I trust you, or Anandtech? I forgot, AT is full of Intel, AMD, Asus, Gigabyte, ASRock, etc. fanboys, so I guess we should all trust Zach instead. Great, now off you go. Hope they pay you well. Goodnight.
    Reply
  • ZachSaw - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    There's no way you can unlock it upwards -- unless you have the 2 tools I had access to. And no, you do not have access to those tools.

    The only way ASUS managed to 'unlock' is simply because Intel did not fuse out the multiplier in certain engineering samples. There're different classes of samples. I am not allowed to go into too much details, but the article is simply wrong.

    Anyway, if he sang so much praises for Gigabyte in one article, yeah, I'll call him a Gigabyte fan-boy. :) Since he can't proved that ASUS unlocked it upwards on Retail processors, he ignorantly praised ASUS nevertheless. You'd have to agree that it warrants the label of fan-boy! ;)
    Reply
  • Frumious1 - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - link

    Only thing I can say for certain is that you're coming off as an arrogant prick, Zach. I sure hope you work for a motherboard/RAM/CPU manufacturer. As for what is and isn't possible with BIOS tweaks, never say never. Maybe Intel just had a batch that didn't get locked properly, maybe not.

    But a FSB overclock to 532 MHz is definitely nothing to scoff at, and whether Gigabyte was first with a buggy BIOS or not doesn't matter much to me. After all, the ftp://dlsvr01.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/socket775/P5B%2...">0507 Asus BIOS is from 2006/8/11 which makes it two weeks old. That's about the time Core 2 really became available anyway. Gigabyte's F4 came out around the same time, and that's the first truly usable BIOS from them as far as I can tell.
    Reply

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