As these ASUS P8P67 Series motherboards have proven to be very popular, I decided to make a Club. Main focus of this Club is on the whole ASUS P8P67 series motherboards, even though the very popular ASUS P8P67 PRO was and is the back spine of this Club. I have also included the ASUS P8Z68 Series since they are very similar to the P8P67 Series, appart from a couple of extra features. This will be a place where we can discuss and help each other with these excellent motherboards from ASUS ! So I bid all a warm welcome!! One last thing, why not show of your rig here, post a few pictures if you can.
Kindly post your validation / proof here FIRST then fill in the FORM and link the post as proof.
Newegg TV: ASUS Sandy Bridge P67 H67 1155 Mainstream Motherboard Lineup
Newegg TV: ASUS Z68 1155 Motherboards
Newegg TV: Sandy Bridge Overclocking & UEFI Demo on ASUS P8P67 P67 1155
Wanna take bios snapshots? Use a USB stick and hit F12 when in the bios!
Various Info/Issues About The ASUS P8P67 Series
Here is some interesting information posted by munaim1 about C3/C6 states and their relation to SATA performance. Especially with Sandforce SSD's. I'll just link to his post.Link
Here are some important information. Thanks to munaim1 for pointing me to this
Originally Posted by munaim1;13469291
I think you should add this to the op. Handy peiece of info from my thread
IMPORTANT INFO FOR ASUS P67 MOBO USERS
The member quoted below killed his sb chip through a bug in Asus's bios. It is apparent that switching between profiles mainly offset and manual) the voltage does somewhat get altered. As pointed out, this bug is very dangerous and I do always recommend checking settings before applying but nevertheless this bug should be a top priority for asus.
Originally Posted by Mason@ASUS;4712067
Some of you may have been experiencing a double POST on your P8P67 series motherboard whereupon after powering on the system from a cold boot, the board will power on and then immediately reset itself before it actually POSTs and shows any display on the screen. I’ll explain the fix below and give some information about why this happens.
First, I would like to stress the importance of flashing the BIOS to the latest BIOS revision as listed on our support website, http://support.asus.com/download. You can access the ASUS EZ Flash tool from within the UEFI (advanced options, tools) to flash the BIOS from any removable device such as a USB flash drive.
From time to time we needed to implement full resets in order to maintain stability due to the architecture of the Sandy Bridge platform. For instance, the system may require one full reset when the PCH power has been cut during S5 power state. To fix the most common additional reset (double POST when powering on from off state), enter UEFI BIOS -> go to ‘Advanced’ tab -> go down to ‘APM’, press Enter -> enable the “Power on by PCIe.” function. Then press F10 to save & exit. After save & exit, let the system boot into Windows or other OS, then perform a proper shutdown: Start button -> Shut down. You will no longer have the double POST. We will fix this in an upcoming BIOS release.
Another possible solution for the Coldboot problem. Quoted from this thread.
Originally Posted by sockpirate;12774503
Was having a problem with cold boots, would power of and on and off and on then finally post. I was almost positive it was my power supply because the same thing happened with my UD7 low and behold it was the setting highlighted by the cursor below.
Internal PLL Over-Voltage-Disabled , no more cold boot problems !!!
I am stressing this right now!!! If you are having cold boot up problems with system looping on and off, disable this and it will more than likely solve your problem, although it is sometimes needed for high 48+ multi clocks!
Do you have wakeup from sleep/hibernate problems? Try to disable Internal PLL Overvoltage! (Beware, you may need it enabled in order to boot Windows at those higher multipliers. 46x +..)
The JMicron/Marvell and CPU Fan Error issues and how to resolve
Slow boot because of the Marvell (Which controls the two Navy Blue SATA connectors topmost on the board) controller detects no harddrive and loops you back to the main screen, and then back to the Marvell screen yet again? If you don't use it you can disable it in bios. Same goes for the JMicron controller which handles the E-Sata at the back of the board.
Here is a screen to where you disable these:
Have a CPU Fan Error on startup, even though you've plugged the fan to the connector and the fan is spinning? Well, may be due to low RPM when booting. You could try to lower the 'CPU FAN Speed Low Limit' from bios. You can also choose to ignore the CPU FAN RPM.
Here is a screenshot to where in the bios you do this:
Always backup your system partition before you go crazy on the overclocking!
Me and others have seen that when using Offset instead of manually typing in the Vcore, you get a more stable Vcore - Vcore will fluctuate less VS manual Vcore. This again can contribute to a somewhat lower Vcore needed for a certain clock frequency VS manual Vcore setting.
When you put volt values in the Offset field, you add the Vcore you type in there, to the VID of your CPU. However, the VID will vary between each different CPU, and also the speed you run it at.
My 2500K has 1.2410v VID when at 3.3GHz stock. This VID changes to 1.3410 when I overclock it to 4.5GHz. When I type in + 0.020 Volts for Offset, it will then give me 1.3410v + 0.020v = 1.3610v under load. This was tested with LLC at Ultra high. My real Live Prime 95 Blend Vcore varied between 1.360v - 1.376v. And for the most part was about ~1.368v.
If you are stable at full load, like Prime95 while using Offset, but get BSOD's when Idle/light load it is probably because the CPU Vcore ramps down on different load.
This usually happens at higher overclocks when using Offset. For me it works perfectly to use Offset at 4.5GHz with no BSOD's. But if you get problems on higher overclocks, you can try one of two things:
Try disabling C3/C6 states. This will hinder the CPU in ramping down the Vcore (as much?) when at idle/light load with Offset Vcore. (Will try this myself. Got a report it helped stability.) Update! I have been using C3/C6 disabled for a long time now. Turns out these can cause idle BSOD's or freezing if they are at AUTO or ENABLED when overclocking. Me and others have confirmed it is best to leave these two Disabled when overclocking.
Beware though, that when disabling both C3 and C6 the Turbo Ratio: By Per Core function in bios will no longer work.
Also another update, which have been posted in the first post of this Club for a while now, there have been reports when disabling C3/C6 stats can infact loose harddrive/SSD peformance. Especially SATA3 SSD's and Sandforce based SSD's. I have not experienced any performance loss with my Intel X-25 Gen.1 and Gen.2 SSD's when disabling C3/C6 stats.
Here is a quote from the post I made earlier:
Here is some interesting information posted by munaim1 about C3/C6 states and their relation to SATA performance. Especially with Sandforce SSD's. I'll just link to his post.Link
Instead use High LLC. This way you can have C3/C6 at Auto because High LLC will give you a higher Idle Vcore. Just compensate by using a Higher Offset Value to get about the same Load Vcore VS Ultra High LLC. This is probably the best solution.
Use manual Vcore setting instead of Offset.
Some very interesting info. (Testing this myself!)
Originally Posted by eduardmc;12411669
Be patient with me since english is not my native language.
So far i have been able to lower my voltage from 1.520v to 1.456v stable @ 5.1ghz. how did i do it?
i got my sandy bridge on release day and have been overclocking, trying to find out a stable highest clock with lowest voltage. People might think that it is easy but is not cause is to much time consuming. You are never satisfy with your speed cause you want you reach a new safe limit of it.
after trying so many thing and having a good batch (i know it doesnt matter much) i couldn't understand why everyone was beatting my voltage.
The problem lies in the RAM and VCCIO voltage. Sandy bridge overclocking seems to be afected by ram (size and overclocking) and VCCIO volage somehow. i see that must overclocker can achive higher core/lower voltage with only 4gb (2x2gb) while people with (2x4gb) can also reach it but with higher voltage (core voltage).
i started tweaking with all voltage. i spend 2 entire days doing this, enabling and disabling, prime95 and all. I found out that if you have 8gb and overclocking your ram is limiting to have a stable overclock with lower voltage and you might think is the CPU fault.
After working with all the voltage my motherboard has to offer, i went back to VCCIO voltage (every other voltage on auto) and notice that if i decreased it my overclocking at same VCORE would become instable (0.800v). BUT increasing VCCIO BECAME STABLE AT LOWER VCORE. i was able to decrease my vcore from 1.520v to 1.456v by increasing VCCIO voltage to 1.18V. Do not go overboard on VCCIO voltage and try to maintain 1.2v or lower.
Before my pc would not boot 5.1ghz with 1.48V and now i'm prime95 4 hours stable with 1.456v. I even think that i can go even lower.
Please do not bash my post just trying to help because that is why we are here right...
Quoted from a great thread on HardOCP by Juan_Jose
Originally Posted by Juan_Jose;4710466
Hello One Hello All,
It has been alittle time since the launch and the retail availbility of Intel new Sandy Bridge CPUs ( especially K parts ) as well as their corresponding P67 Motherboards.
We at ASUS would like to first and foremost thank all the users who have once again trusted in ASUS and purchased one of our P8P67 Series of motherboards. We have worked quite hard to ensure a quality range of boards with a quality bios are ready at the time of launch.
With that noted there are alot of changes that users are going to need to be aware of. As such I am releasing this information in hope users will know how to best use their boards and new UEFI options. Hopefully this guide will provide a solid detailing of many of the new aspects users are interested should there be additional questions, concerns or inqueries please let me know and i will do my best to reply.
I have detailed our recommendations to maximize the overclocking potential / scaling on ASUS’ P67 series of motherboards. This Guide has been developed after extensive internal testing across multiple boards, multiple bios builds and a high sampling rate of both D1 and D2 CPUs. While this guide is not a definitive article listing every possible overclocking combination, the information contained listed is providing repeatable results in our testing. Of course the quality of the cpu and cooling is very important but overall we think the results on our boards should exceed those of others at like settings.
Expectations regarding K series overclocking in general and on ASUS P67 motherboardsPrior to the recommendations on overclocking the K series, I am outlining our results to set expectations.
The results below are based on the range of the CPU turbo multiplier when overclocking.
Results are representative of 100 D2 CPUs that were binned and tested for stability under load; these results will most likely represent retail CPUs.
1.Approximately 50% of CPUs can go up to 4.4~4.5 GHz
2.Approximately 40% of CPUs can go up to 4.6~4.7 GHz
3.Approximately 10% of CPUs can go up to 4.8~5 GHz (50+ multipliers are about 2% of this group)
Additionally it is recommended to keep 「C1E」and「EIST」option enabled for the best overclock scaling. This is different than previous Intel overclocking expectations where the best scaling was with disabled power states or power management options.
Update specific to D2 and retail parts: Jan 11 2001
As always ASUS strives to be at the forefront of performance and functionality offered by a quality bios. Keeping this in mind ASUS has been actively working in conjunction with Intel to optimize overclocking potential on ASUS P8P67 motherboards and K series CPUs. With the latest bios revisions ( 1000 series ) or 600 series for ROG specific optimizations have been made to the microcode and corresponding tables that relate to D2 and retail parts. These are improvement are in addition to general improvements in all respects. Present with this new build of the UEFI is a new option. This option / value is “ Intel PPL Overvoltage” this option furthers multiplier scaling considerably.* In addition due to the increase in scaling more exotic forms of cooling cannot be used and will be needed under certain multiplier ranges and corresponding voltages. The general maximum range for the highest performing dual fan air based heastinks still remains 50x to 52x.
* Intel PPL Overvoltage ( for increased K series overclocking set to enabled )
Overall in our ongoing internal tests the maximum frequency now achievable ( under LN2 ) is 5.8GHz. At this time we do not have a compiled database to reference improvements in the overall scaling range or new % of CPUs able to hit 50+ multis. With that noted currently we are seeing generally a minimum of 2 multi to as much as 7 multi increases with this value enabled on applicable D2 and retail parts.
A D2 sample with peak multiplier of 44 with PPL option enabled and corresponding voltage applied we have seen results of a stable 50 multiplier now able to post / boot and be held. ( previously without the PLL value the same CPU would failed to compelte a boot with a any multi exceeding 45 )
In addition to the increase of the multiplier range a “side effect” is additional Vcore needed to compensate for maintained post/boot and stability tests. The new voltage level do not align with standard voltage scaling ( on CPU already able to hit / sustain comparable multipliers.
Generally 4.8GHz stability can be achieved at 1.400 – 1.425 Vcore now with PLL enabled D2 parts exceeding their previous max multiplier the increase in voltage would be 1.425 – 1.450.
It is important to note this option should generally only be used with D2 and retail parts NOT D1 parts. Internally we have partial results to indicate degradation of stability at previously reached multiplier values. Some internal testing has shown on limited samples that some improvement is possible (generally in the range of 1 multi possibly 2 )
In addition continued testing with the PPL option enabled and D2 or retail parts have shown some benefits to CStates being disabled when approaching, at or exceeding a 50x multiplier. An important note to keep in mind is that disabling CStates can considerably affect HD performance ( especially SATA6G ) Please keep this in mind when going for the highest level overclocks.
Expectations regarding K series overclocking implementation options on ASUS motherboards – Using Speedstep or Not Using Speedstep
Quick Note on implementation of K series Turbo Multiplier control –
While our Digi+ VRM option has extensive adjustments to voltages, multipliers and Bclk (such as .1 increments ex 106.8 or 108.1) one specific difference is noted below.
With the latest bios revision ASUS motherboards have a high level of flexibility at customizing the efficiency and consistency of the overclock values set in the UEFI.
It possible to overclock while keeping speedstep enabled and use the offset voltage method for Vcore increase this will provide the overall best in temperature and heatsink performance as well as generally efficiency and extension of the lifespan of the motherboards its components and the CPU. This is due to the Turbo Multiplier working and exucting ramping as Intel intended.
Example leaving all CStates and Speedstep enabled will allow the CPU to idle down in Vcore and frequency ( 1600MHz ) and ramp up when under load to 4.8GHz when needed.
Should there be interest in consistently maintain a desired clock frequency users can disable Speedstep and still keep Intel Turbo multiplier overclocking enabled.
•Please note that overall disabling or adjustments of Speedstep or CStates do not affect overclocking range ( this is different than previous generations when power saving states were advised to be disabled when exceeding 3.8 to 4.0GHz ).
K series overclocking benefits on different ASUS P67 motherboards
Quick Note Regarding Motherboard Stack – What does going higher in the board stack provide overclocking wise?
ASUS’ entire line of P67 motherboards features a class leading and high performance Digi+ VRM implementation that allows for superior overclocking performance; there will be differences between boards.
While our entire board lineup has been internally tested to fully support K series processors, when overclocking in multiplier ranges of 50 to 54x the higher end boards will benefit in two key categories.
1.Better Vdroop efficiency.
2.The ability to help drive and sustain a 50+ high load Overclock under maximum loads. Examples of boards that focus on this level are our Deluxe, WS, SABERTOOTH, and Maximus IV Extreme
K series overclocking multipier wall
Quick Note regarding the K series multiplier wall – Previous generations of Intel CPUs due to architectural differences had two aspects that could readily change OC scaling potential. These two factors were TDP (heat output under load) as well as core (CPU/VTT ) voltage being supplied. With previous generation cpus, improvements such as high end air cooling, water cooling or more extreme forms like LN2 in addition to extreme voltage increases could potentially provide increases in clock speeds on a continual ramp until the limits of the CPU were reached. This is not the case with K series on the P67 chipset.
In internal testing we have found that maximum multipliers in excess of 50 (up to 54) have been able to be realized with full stability under Air Cooling and with cpu vid voltages under 1.525V. In fact, the processors will actually start to downclock as they get colder with temperatures under -20C actually performing worse than the retail air cooler at times. The processors optimal range for performance is around 15~20C in our testing.
An example is noted below.
Should you have a CPU in hand that reaches a 47 multi easily ( posting/booting and running full stability tests at a set Vcore of 1.375V) you would then attempt to jump to the next multiplier. With the K series CPUs you may have reached the max multi regardless of the cooling or voltage used. Adjustments to either of these settings will not change the ability of the board and CPU to post at 48x. The only time it will continue to scale would be if the CPU in hand supports higher multipliers or can be finely tweaked to reach that next multi, in this case we suggest using the 47x multi and adjusting Bclk until you reach the limits of stability.
100BCLK + 47 Turbo Multiplier with Vcore of 1.375 and LLC ( load line calibration of ultra high = 4.7GHz
100BCLK + 48 Turbo Multiplier with Vcore of 1.400 and LLC ( load line calibration of ultra high ) = no boot
100BCLK + 48 Turbo Multiplier with Vcore of 1.425 and LLC ( load line calibration of ultra high ) = no boot
100BCLK + 48 Turbo Multiplier with Vcore of 1.450 and LLC ( load line calibration of ultra high ) = no boot
It is important to note that a post will still occur with a multi present that is at the multi wall. This is because only when the OS begins to initialize and the Turbo ratio is initialized ( kicks in and ramps up ) that Turbo Multiplier will be raised to defined multi at this point it will then cease to boot due to the multiplier wall being reached.
K series overclocking and voltage range recommendations
Quick Note regarding Voltage Scaling – Internal binning of both D1 and D2 parts we discovered consistent voltage scaling patterns.
1.For K series parts, the stock voltage supplied will allow for consistent overclocking generally up to a multiplier of 43x. There is potential for the multi to be raised to 44x depending on the load induced. This default voltage range be approx 1.240 to 1.260 under load.
2.Increased range between 44 to 47x multipliers will generally require a voltage range between 1.30 to 1.375V with an LLC recommended setting of high to ultra high.
3.Increasing the range between 48 to 50x multiplier will generally require a voltage range between 1.40 to 1.500 with a LLC recommended setting of ultra high.
4.Increased range between 50 to 52 (52 generally considered peak max multiplier except for rare 54x parts) will generally require a CPU voltage range between 1.515 to 1.535V with LLC at Ultra High and potential fine adjustments to the CPU skew range.
Overall a key item to note is the best voltage to oc scaling range potential for the turbo multiplier is 1.400 to 1.425 vcore. Using this voltage range with an LLC recommendation of ultra high will generally provide the best scaling potential with proper load temperatures*. We have generally found exceeding this voltage will not provide additional scaling or will increase load temperatures to a high level with synthetic load applications ( like Prime, Linx, OCCT ). Should you use more realistic loading testing (our recommendation is a combination of AIDA64 stress test, PC Mark Vantage) then temperatures under will be considerably under the max TDP rating.
*cooling recommendation and test performed with CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ with Single Fan, this is the minimum recommendation for multis above 46x. For 50+ multis we recommend a dual fan configuration with this cooler or improved cooling.
K series overclocking benefits from non CPU Voltage based adjustments ( UEFI values for power management , Cstates, PCH etc )
Quick note regarding bios values that should be adjusted
– Over a long test and tune cycle, ASUS has developed a class leading bios with superior auto overclocking. This superior performance translates to overclocking in two ways, manually or automatically via the use of our Auto Tuning application.
Keeping in mind that most retail K series parts will be sub 50 multi capable, our Auto Tuning application has been designed to Auto Tune up to a range of 50 should the CPU support it. In effect reaching the absolute maximum clock a user can reach manually. Additionally Auto Tuning can serve as a good option for seeing the potential in the CPU and max multiplier it may have before fine tuning the system.
An example is shown below. P8P67 (Standard) – 2600K, Hyper 212+, Corsair 1600C8 memory 4 dimm.
Should you continue with manual overclocking, these are the advised recommended values.
4.7GHz or Below
All bios values to Auto except for those noted-
CPU Turbo Multiplier
Dram Voltage to specification
Internal testing has shown Auto Values will allow for stability in all forms of testing including high synthetic high load applications (Linx, Prime95, Occt ). In the event general stability is not achieved in these synthetic high load applications, you can adjust the noted values for improved stability.
Digi + VRM options
VRM frequency to 350 – Requires setting to manual adjustment and entering the specified value.
4.7GHz and above
CPU Turbo Multiplier – To desired value
Dram Voltage to specification
Digi + VRM options
VRM Frequency change to 350 – this value will allow for scaling to 50+ multi without issues
Phase Control change to extreme – this value will allow for scaling to 50+ multi without issues
Duty Control change to extreme - this value will for scaling to 50+ multi without issues.
No other values need to be changed. Unless otherwise noted all other UEFI values used are AUTO.
K series overclocking and its affect on subsystem performance especially HD performance
Quick note regarding options that can affect subsystem performance
It is NOT advised to make adjustments to Cstates as this can considerably affect hard drive throughput performance ( especially SATA6G SSD or Sandforce 2 based SSD ). It is recommended that all CPU power configuration states be left on their default parameters. Overclocking tests have shown internally no increase in multiplier scaling when adjusting these values. * under special cases with high multi capable CPUs and synthetic high load applications ( Linx, Prime, Occt ) it may required C states to be disabled. This has generally only been confirmed for some 51-54 multi capable CPU’s.
K series overclocking benefits from adjustments to Digi+ VRM options
Advanced Digi+ VRM options recommendations
This has shown in internal testing not to improve overclocking, yet may still maintain the same level of stability while being lowered from its default value in order to keep the CPU cooler.
The adjustment of this voltage may help to slightly improve the overclocking capability of the IMC / DRAM, even though the default voltage is enough to run at a 2133MHz DRAM frequency. A 1.20v setting is more than adequate to maximize Memory overclocks in most cases.
This setting did not improve overclocking, yet the user can maintain the same level of stability while lowering its default value in order to keep the CPU cooler.
This setting did not improve overclocking, yet the user can maintain the same level of stability while lowering its default value in order to keep the CPU/PCH cooler.
This setting did not improve overclocking, yet the user can maintain the same level of stability while lowering its default value in order to keep the CPU/PCH cooler.
K series overclocking and how BCLK is affected and how to best optimize BCLK scaling
Quick Note for BCLK tuning
BCLK clocking is considerably reduced with this new CPU architecture and as such it is recommended to focus on Turbo Multiplier adjustments for overclocking. With that noted should you choose to make adjustments to the BCLK, ASUS has enabled extensive control to maximizing scaling.
Internal testing shows BCLK ranges from 102 to 109.1 with the largest level of scaling dependency placed on the quality of the CPU. CPU Frequency and speed is also directly tied to BCLK scaling. Internally we know that BCLK tuning largely depends on the CPU with approximately but we have noticed up to a 20% dependency on scaling potential based on the board design and PWM utilized.
At 4.9GHz, generally the maximum clock speed will not change with a different combination of multi and bclk in this particular example.
100x49 = 4.9GHz
103x48 = 4.9xxGHz
Generally the CPU will not do much more than what your maximum CPU multiplier range is in most cases. Keeping this in mind, we offer very fine adjustments down to 0.1x increments to allow for the maximum BCLK tuning.
Lastly when considering adjustments to the BLCK range, it is important to remember it will affect the memory divider/strap and DRAM frequency. Keeping this in mind you may want to adjust to a lower divider if your memory does not higher frequencies. This especially true when attempting to sustain 4 dimm and high memory density configurations with high BCLK and high Turbo Multiplier values.
Hope this helps. As always please enjoy the rest of your day.
Originally Posted by Juan_Jose;4710467
Additional Information for those that do not want to read through the guide.
Assuming you have a CPU that can execute and hold a 48 multi the screen behold will show you how to quickly enable a 4.8GHz OC.
Warning: Spoiler!(Click to show)
Select Ai Overclock Tuner,Select Manual
Now see the expanded options for Turbo Ratio Control and Select By All Cores in OS.
Now manually defined 48 value in each of the core values ( 1 , 2 ,3, 4 )
Depending on what your retail CPU is capable of ( which Auto Tuning should provide you an idea of ) Enable this option! This option is specifically designed for D2/Retail Parts and allowing for higher multi overclocks especially when at or exceeding 48x. Additionally this option can be used should you not have it enabled and generally cannot boot with a higher multiplier. It is advised to try this option after you have tried all other standard options. This option is not for increasing stability of a OC that can already post and boot into an OS.
5.Select Loadline Calibration,Select Ultra High this value will provide overall the closest load level of voltage to the value defined in the bios or AiSuite II
Enter a value of 350. This is best for sustaining stability at multis of 48x or above. This is key especially for running unrealistic loading testing such as prime or linx.
Phase Control enabled Extreme this ensures the highest level of current and overall power delivery for the board under heavy loading.
Ensures the VRM managment system is balancing for the most power possible ( current as opposed to temperature ) generally only for 48x multi overclocks or above.
Select Manual Voltage - This will allow for a consistent voltage to fed to the CPU to ensure stability.Keep in mind that should you want the most efficient overclock you will want to use offset as this will allow the voltage to track the VRD of the CPU and have the voltage fall and rise depending on the loading state of the CPU.
Enter a CPU V Core Voltage value of 1.415 or 1.425
Some interesting information from compudaze about Vcore meassuring when LLC at Ultra High
Originally Posted by compudaze;13471239
Just wanted to share some voltage info on my Asus P8P67 Pro. I set CPU voltage to 1.355V in BIOS and set LLC to Ultra High.
Idle CPU-Z: 1.344V, 1.352V, 1.360V
Idle DMM: 1.348V
Load CPU-Z: 1.336V, 1.344V, 1.352V
Load DMM: 1.33V
Originally Posted by compudaze;13472015
Back of board.
**About the P8Z68 and it's two new main features** **Many people wonder what's so special about the new P8Z68 chipset. And if they need it's two new features, or if they just can go for the good old P8P67 chipset. Well, instead of me trying to explain, I will just quote from Guru3D's ASUS P8Z68-V PRO review**
A twofold of new features are introduced along with Z68 as well, the first being Intel Smart Response Technology. Intel Smart Response Technology
A new feature introduced on Z68 is a form of SSD caching. It is now possible to combine a HDD and an SSD with the help of Intel Smart Response Technology, you pair them into a hybrid mode.
Basically you need to use your HDD as primary operating system storage unit, and then an added SSD will cache the most regular used static data. After a couple of runs the primary storage load will get cached on the SSD and will be loaded from there the next time you access it. And yes, it sounds a lot like Windows PreFetch and SuperBoost.
Here's how it works, in the BIOS you set the SATA storage configuration to RAID. You Install Windows 7 on the HDD, install the SSD. Then install the Storage controller software from Intel (Intel rapid Storage technology). Once you load up the software you'll notice a new option called 'Enable acceleration', and click it. You may now assign a cache volume size e.g. 20GB. That's pretty much all there is to it. Intel Smart Response Technology will now monitor and learn storage unit behavior and starts caching, allowing you to load from the SSD, not the primary HDD.
It is clever technology and can speed up the primary and most used data up-to 5x by making use of that SSD cache. We're not sure just yet how popular this feature will be, as you are very tied to that RAID mode setup in BIOS, leaving a lot of generic and your average end-users puzzled. Another problem is that once you have installed Windows 7 in SATA or AHCI mode, there's not way to migrate to that required RAID mode. So this only works with fresh Windows installations.
Also, and we feel this is a little trivial, once you purchase an SSD we doubt you'd still be going for a SSD/HDD combination anyway. We certainly wouldn't. But it's definitely a very creative idea. Especially if you combine this feature with a small low priced SSD you could benefit from SSD performance increases for very little money.
Intel's explanation on Smart Response technology:
Intel Smart Response Technology implements storage I/O caching to provide users with faster response times like system boot and application startup. On a system with traditional HDD, performance of these operations are limited by the HDD, particularly when there may be other I/O intensive background activities running simultaneously like system updates or virus scans. I/O caching accelerates system response by putting frequently used blocks of disk data on an SSD, which provides dramatically faster access to user data than an HDD. The user sees the full capacity of the HDD with the traditional single drive letter (i.e. C:\\) with the system responsiveness similar to an SSD.
As compared to standard HDDs, IntelÂ® Smart Response Technology offers these key features:
Significantly higher performance Lower power consumption Increased system responsiveness
If you like to fool around with the technology yourself, again Intel RAID mode in the BIOS must be enabled in order for Smart Response Technology to function.
We've made a setup. Now once you already have Windows installed on SATA or in AHCI mode, you can not switch and migrate to Intel RAID mode, you'll end up in a nightmaare of blue screens (BSODs). So to get the feature working this only applies alongside a new Windows Installation, that or you already have RAID mode up and running. The first in the BIOS is that you set your storage mode from IDE or AHCI towards RAID. Now you install Windows. After the installation you install the Intel Rapid Storage Technology software, previously know as the Matrix storage driver. We assume you installed a HDD as primary root drive and an SSD, currently unused but installed.
We'll immediately tackle some benchmarks. The PCMark Vantage is the best trace test we can fire off at this setup to measure real world desktop usage of the PC in a highly stressed environment. The series of tests will look at items you normally do with your PC and will try to measure what kind of an effect that has on your user experience by testing eight different segments stressing the storage unit.
Test 1 - Spyware is very common on systems without protection against it, letting Windows Defender scan & protect your system is recommended that is what test 1 does.
Test 2 - Streaming data from an HDD in games allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action.
Test 3 - Importing digital photos to Windows Photo Gallery is where a high performance HDD shines.
Test 4 - Starting Windows Vista is a rather demanding task for the storage device, but a fast HDD will notably decrease the loading time.
LucidLogix Virtu on Z68 Motherboards
Many Z68 motherboards also will have a power switching feature for graphics cards. Basically with this motherboard you can run both the integrated Intel graphics unit inside the processor, but you can also install a dedicated graphics card. The implementation LucidLogix Virtu switches in-between the two GPUs based on your need.
So as example, in Desktop mode you'd be utilizing the Intel IGP whereas you startup a Game your Radeon of GeForce graphics card will kick in. The idea here is to use the best of both worlds while consuming as little power as possible. Now we've tried and tried, but this solution does not significantly save on power. Dedicated graphics cards these days have very decent IDLE power states and once you plug in the additional graphics card, disabled or not, it will require a minimum amount of power to keep it alive. There's nothing this feature can do about that.
In our case we installed a GeForce GTX 580 next to the Sandy Bridge IGP:
It is the IDLE watt we are interested in. As you can see the ASUS P8Z68-V-Pro without a graphics card installed performs brilliant really with 47 Watt in IDLE. Once we install a GeForce GTX 580 we now IDLE at 85 Watt. Then when we install and apply LucidLogix Virtu in desktop mode we IDLE 83 Watt and we can confirm the Intel IGP is at work here. But there's merely a 2 Watt difference in-between the two.
Here we can see the LucidLogix Virtu application software, it's an atrocious looking software suite to be honest.
The Virtu Control Panel allows users to toggle the software layer that automatically switches between the integrated and discrete (provided you have a discrete GPU installed). Do note that you have to also have installed Intel HD Graphics drivers before you can install Lucid Virtu. In the Games tab you can add your own list of games such that Virtu will recognize them, but a peek at the settings xml file shows that there are already many supported games. But sure, once again we have some sort of driver dependency and dislike that very much.
Also to be able to run Virtu, you'll need to follow these requirements:
The system must fulfill all requirements and follow the setup procedures to construct the Intel Multi-Monitor environment
The system must utilize MicrosoftÂ® Windows 7 operating system (32 or 64bit)
The system must have at least 2GB of DRAM installed.
And to fulfill item 2, you will need:
The Intel driver for HD2000/3000 series integrated graphics must be installed to enable multi-monitor support.
The iGPU Multi-Monitor support option has to be enabled in BIOS to allow the integrated graphic to remain functional while with add-on graphic cards activated.
The big plus however that the software can assign applications to a specific GPU. Now with a dedicated GFX card installed you should know that the IGP is pretty much rendered useless, along with some snazzy features. For example with MediaShow Espresso we loose the transcoding feature over the Sandy bridge processor, which sucks as QuickSync will be disabled.
Now with LucidLogix Virtu active, the IGP for this program is set to Intel and the QuickSync path for MediaShow Espresso is ridiculous fast. LucidLogix Virtu allows us to use it though. Here's what that looks like performance wise.
Transcode Seconds - Lower = better
ASUS P8Z68-V-Pro | 2600K + GTX 580 55
ASUS P8Z68-V-Pro | IGP Quick Sync 16
In the above test we transcode a 200 MB AVCHD media file to a 1920x1080P MP4 binary (YouTube format). This measurement is in seconds needed for the process, thus lower = better. So while the Processor with a dedicated graphics card installed (GTX 580 CUDA disabled) takes 55 seconds, with LucidLogix Virtu allowing to switch to the IGP, we can do the same job in 16 seconds as QickSync can now kick in.S
And before you ask sure, the GTX 580 over CUDA would be able to get the job done fast as well, roughly 23 seconds. Overall it is a feature we can appreciate, the software needs to be cleaned up the as the GUI is just horrible looking. Unfortunately once we had Virtu active... we also where confronted with increased instability in Windows 7. So again, there's a lot of work in progress for this feature.
In short: Virtu allows the systems to simultaneously take full advantage of both the low-power best-in-class media processing features of the 2nd generation Intel Core processor graphics and the 3D gaming performance of add-in cards with graphics processing units (GPUs) from AMD and NVIDIA, with Lucid virtualization it is possible to run one or two discrete GPUs and still utilize the transcoding performance and lower power of the IntelÂ® HD graphics in the 2nd generation Intel Core processor.
Lucid Virtu working with the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro Motherboard