Here is the guide, a work in progress so to speak:
Please note that the Asus Striker Extreme Bios is identical to the P5N32-E (other than revision version releases). All of the settings below will apply to either board. The main difference between the two boards (other than bling, a beefier cooling setup, and all solid caps) is that the Striker can clock higher with Quads. My testing has shown that the P5N32-E tops out at around 370 FSB with quads. This is a hardware issue relating to the GTL Voltage controls on the board. EVGA's A1 and T1 revisions corrected this issue which is inherent in the 680i chipsets. The Striker has a more robust GTL Voltage limit (and has had it since it's release, there have been no newer revisions) and consequently can match the EVGA A1 and T1 for FSB clocks with quads (in the 450 FSB range)
(They hit 500 FSB easily in their tests)
(They hit 480 FSB)
(They hit 487 FSB)
Asus P5N32-E Overclocking Guide
After posting about 300 times with various settings for forummers, it came to mind that an FAQ would help answer basic questions about this board.
I have tested the settings listed below on this board with an Intel C2D E6700 (Retail) and an Intel C2D X6800 (again retail). With two different sets of ram. Corsair C5 8500 2 x 1 GB Twin2X and the OCZ SLI Ready PC2-8500 2 x 1 GB. Both RAM used Micron D9 IC's.
My board is listed as revision 1.1 and I have tested all of the bios revisions. I tested the 1302 beta and it is currently stable and recommended.
Under the 1103 bios and onwards, they removed Southbridge - Northbridge frequency options from the bios system clocks defined as SPP <-> MCP Ref Clock under Extreme Tweaker/System Clocks. Apparently, the new bios revisions also have fixed vdroop in relation to ntune. In other words, the vcore you set in the bios matches exactly in what ntune reads. Prior, it was off by as much as .04 or higher.
1403 Beta Bios just released (see my ftp link below).
Regarding the 1203 bios, it was been pulled from both the Asus site and the Asus FTP site. I have read some feedback that it causes issues with Razor mice and keyboards.
The 1205 bios and onwards release corrected issues with razor USB devices (apparently it had to do with compatibility with the bios of razor devices and the USB default poll rate of the motherboard).
A few points about the board before going into overclocking:
Works very well with this board and the current bios releases. All voltages are accurate (as are gpu temps). The only sensor that seems off is cpu temp. Use Core Temp for that.
Later versions of ntune apparently do not provide accurate voltages again.
The Asus board hasnâ€™t been subject to many of the issues that the reference 680i boards (EVGA, BFG, etc) have such as PS2 keyboard issues, sata RAID issues and so on. It has had issues with X-FI sound cards and SLIâ€™d 8800 series GPUâ€™s. This was resolved in bios update 0602 and onwards. Bear in mind as well that it does not apply to any sound card other than the X-FI series. (for example my, Creative Audigy 2 ZS, had no sound issues whatsoever regardless of bios version).
Do not use 0702 or 0802 bios under any circumstances. The original bios 0302 was stable but had vcore lock issues at high FSB and sound issues with X-FI as mentioned above. 0602 resolved the sound issues but still had some limitations regarding VCORE lock. 0702 and 0802 were beta and very buggy. 0902 despite being beta was very stable and also provided full VCORE unlock regardless of FSB.
Also note that as of bios version 1002 and onwards, they have permanently removed the linkboost feature. Further proof that it never worked properly.
Do not use the Asus Updater in Windows! It is politely a POS. The best way to bios flash this board is to out the bios on a usb memory stick, go into the bios, run ez-flash and update from there. It has worked every time for me and is the safest method. Also, always restore your bios to default settings, save and reboot before flashing bios. A number of users on the Asus forums had issues with OCâ€™d bios when flashing.
The Northbridge and Southbridge on the 680i boards get very very hot. The passive heatpipe cooling on the the motherboard is fine for stock settings and even mild overclocks. If you want anything resembling stability at high overclocks, you will need aftermarket cooling.
I have personally mounted a pair of Thermaltake Extreme Spirit II
coolers on my board with excellent results.
Thermalright also makes chipset coolers, the Thermalright HR-05-SLI Chipset Cooler
. Both provide excellent cooling.
Edit: Added that works is the Jing Ting Force Chipset Cooler
(Thanks to Alex for testing this).
Edit: Added that works: EVERCOOL EC-VC-RE Ball All In One Vga Cooler Kit
(Thanks to litlratt for testing this)
I am also now using two sets of Swiftech MC-21 Aluminum Anodized Mosfet Heatsinks
on the exposed VRM's. I measured these and they fit precisely.
Important to note is if you mount an aftermarket cooler on your SB, you will limit the length of card you can mount in the center PCI slot (The only one you can use for a sound card if you have SLIâ€™d anything.) With the Thermaltake, mounted as far away from the slot as possible while still allowing space for a pair of 8800GTX, I have exactly 150mm of clearance length. That is not long enough to fit any of the X-FI cards from Creative. An excellent alternative recommended to me is the Bluegears B-Enspirer Sound Card. It has sound comparable or better than the S-FI gamer and is only 146mm long. Its coming soon so Iâ€™ll update with itâ€™s performance.
The Thermaltake HS-05 SLI XFI does NOT fit on the southbridge with two 8800GTX and a creative X-FI.
(Thanks to Avatar1983)
Thanks again to Alex. The Creative X-FI Gamer is 157mm long and will create clearance issues with SB cooling.
This board likes clean power with very little ripple. I had some issues with a Silverstone Zeus 750W that worked but was unstable. A change to a much more stable Enermax resolved instability issues with the board immediately.
SLI Ready Memory (also known as Enhanced Performance Profiles or EPP). This is a tool all the 680i boards share. In a nutshell, certain sets of ram have an extra chip that contains overclocking profiles based on factory testing of RAM with these boards. What this will allow you to do, is to auto overclock your ram without manually changing settings up to a factory recommended standard. You can squeeze more performance out of the ram by doing the settings manually but for first timers, its a handy tool.
Corsair and OCZ both have a number of kits that are designated SLI Ready or EPP ready. In the bios on the Extreme Tweaker screen, there is a setting for SLI Ready Memory. Simply go to it, select, 0% Overclock, save reboot and you will see the ram overclocked.
1T RAM Timings: What makes the 680i boards different from the intel chipsets is that it is very easy to get 1T timings to run on ram. Iâ€™ve tested as have others. RAM running at 800Mhz with tight timings (4-4-4-8 for example) and at 1T is faster in bandwidth tests than ram running at 5-5-5-15, 1067 MHz and 2T.
This board does not report vcore correctly in PC Probe. Currently the only program close to correct is Everest Ultimate beta 3.80. download the 30 day free trial from Lavasys to get you up and running. You can take readings in the bios but they reflect 70% of load without any signifigant voltage draw from the gpu.
Important!: Always set ram voltage manually upon first boot. This board undervolts memory from factory settings when left to auto. For example, my ram is rated stock at 2.1 Volts. The auto setting had it running at 1.89. Even though my system ran fine, I had occasional crashes until I changed the volts to 2.1 manually.
Worse, many types of ram will not work correctly with this board if they are undervolted. If the system will not boot on initial build, try one stick in the slot closest to the cpu until it boots and enter the bios. Immediately change the ram voltage to defaults for the memory you are using. Save,shut down, install the rest of your ram and then reboot normally.
For those of you that do not think "SLI Ready" and "EPP Profile" RAM have any value, think again!. One thing the 680i boards have shown is that they are finicky on what RAM they like for stable overclocks. Any RAM that has one or both of the above designations demonstrates that this RAM has been tested specifically for compatibility with the 680i chipset boards. Also as long as you get OCZ or Corsair PC2-8500 or better, it will most likely have Micron D9 IC's which as we all know are the best for Overclocking.
On to the Overclocking.
Here are the things you need to turn off in the bios before beginning:
Extreme Tweaker Screen:
Nvidia GPU Ex: Disable it (Known to cause issues)
Linkboost: Disable it (Known to cause issues) (No longer available in bios 1002)
Spread Spectrum Control: Disable all of them
Execute Disable Bit: Disable it
Virtualization Technology: Disable it
Enhanced Intel Speedstep: Disable it
Enhanced C1 (C1E): Disable it
Legacy USB Support: Disable it
HPET: Disable it
I would recommend a SATA burner if you are switching as then you can disable all of the IDE channels (Speeds up boot up times signifigantly)
Extreme Tweaker Main Screen:
The most important items here are noted.
As mentioned above, Disable Nvidia GPU Ex and Linkboost
System Clocks Screen
FSB and Memory Config Screen
You can set FSB and Memory Clocks speeds independently by choosing unlinked. If you choose auto it will set your FSB at 800 MHZ defaut and up it to match your CPU FSB overclocks.
If you choose Linked, then you can set a ratio for your RAM in conjunction with your cpu overclock in synchronized mode.
1:1 This will run memory at the same frequency as the FSB. It is the DDR2 1000 dividier. This is hard to get stable depending on the ram you use.
5:4 This is the DDR2 800 memory divider
3:2 This is the DDR2 667 memory divider
Here is where you can change your CPU multi and disable some useless items.
Tests have shown that the 680i board runs fasters with a higher multi. So a high multi and low FSB is better than a low multi and high FSB. This board with do 500 FSB easily. It really depends on your chip. If you are running an E6300, 7x500 is the way to go. If you are running an E6600 or E6700, then keep the multi and stock and up the FSB until you max out.
I personally disable Execute Disable Bit and Virtualization Technology as from what I have read they do little to nothing on your PC.
Memory Timing Settings
As mentioned above, tight timings at 1T are consistently faster than loose settings at high clock and 2T.
Over Voltage Screen
(Image #6 next post)
CPU VTT is the most important setting for stable overclocks. The CPU VTT Voltage sets the CPU termination voltage, allowing for a 1.55V maximum. Using this voltage in combination with the CPU VCore voltage setting can greatly enhance the system stability while overclocked. The system memory reference voltage is split between settings, the controller reference voltage and one option each for the two memory channels. In all cases, the base reference voltage can be set to a maximum of .03V over half of the set memory voltage. (Taken from HardOCP)
"In summary, the CPU VTT controls the CPU termination voltage. Based on Kirmie's observations, it reduces the number of false electrical signals by providing a form of "ground" to pull out these false currents. ." (Credit to Kirmie for the find)
My experience with this board is that the max setting (1.55) provides the best results. I have not had a single crash or temperature variation as a result.
That should cover the basics.
Here is a great VDroop explained article:
Here is a link to the Asus FTP site for this board: