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ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen 3 Owners Club!
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Motherboard Information Page:
ASRock.com

Motherboard Review:
HardwareHeaven

Club Member's Motherboard settings **Thanks to deafboy**
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Fatal1ty%20Z68%20Professional%20Gen3(m).jpg


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Owners:
  1. CarlosSpiceyWeiner
  2. Cheaptrick
  3. complexlogic
  4. Tkmstr1009
  5. raytang
  6. roscolo
  7. diddler1979
  8. tjohn
  9. skmanu
  10. Dysheeki
  11. CrazyDiamond
  12. ghoztkilah
  13. cowboyed
  14. madone550
  15. Widow
  16. Denim-187
  17. souldivide
  18. ImpulsE69
  19. Fear1
  20. b0uncyfr0
  21. AndyOB
  22. spagno
  23. cyang09
  24. importflip
  25. rmhaw
  26. epsilon777
  27. Pickled
  28. bradrcfii
  29. TaranScorp
  30. JJFIVEOH
  31. Spatcholla
  32. Seanage
  33. mybadomen
  34. selluminis
  35. Aceolus
  36. uber415
  37. chefman21
  38. bubs
  39. Crazy_Clocker
  40. Modz
  41. Disambiguate
  42. DADDYDC650
  43. lunithy
  44. elgrandeburro
  45. petaylor
  46. madmycal
  47. Cancer
  48. kevin172
  49. arnoube
  50. g.androider

Future Owners:
  • ocman
  • skyn3t
Retired members
  • deafboy

Signature Block:
ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Pro Gen 3 Owners Club!
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[URL=http://www.overclock.net/t/1123950/official-asrock-fatal1ty-z68-professional-gen-3-owners-club][B]ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Pro Gen 3 [/B]Owners Club![/URL]
 

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We need to have this mobo's owner club here. I know that ASRock is not so popular. It's my 1st time using an ASRock mobo. I usually used ASUS or Gigabyte mobo before. But this mobo is different from previous ASRock boards & feature packed. I like to hear ideas from Fatal1ty mobo owners.
 

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Let's make this forum thread the **Official** ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen 3 Owners Club forum page for Fatal1ty mobo is there's none for the Z68.

Guys if you have the Z68 Fatal1ty mobo, join me here...
 

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I've just taken delivery and will be building my rig over the next few days. I'm also a first time Asrock owner - I've had mostly Asus motherboards so far, and had lots of trouble with them (2x nuked motherboards). I bought the Asrock despite the negative brand image because of its performance in benchmarks, the 10x SATA ports (I will be using 9 of them!), the 3x PCI-E 3.0 slots, the PWM circuit, and a bunch of other top end features that made it an unbeatable proposition at this price. My only real complaint is that they could have put a better audio codec on the board. I'm really impressed with the build quality. Time and real-world usage will be the final arbiter as to its true quality, so I'll be sure to post back with my experiences.
 

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Proud owner of this amazing board reporting in.

ASRock has really blown me away with this one. I'll be buying ASRock boards from this build on because of how good it's been to me. For the first time in years my mobo has not been the cause of any computer issues I have had. The only bad part on my build was a faulty stick of RAM which was quickly remedied.

I love this damn board so much, and it OCs like a champ. 4.8GHz at 1.415 on an H100 never tops 75 on even my hottest core running IBT at Maximum.

Love it!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheaptrick;15039967
Let's make this forum thread the **Official** ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen 3 Owners Club forum page for Fatal1ty mobo is there's none for the Z68.
Hey! Thanks for putting this thread together!
applaud.gif


I've been researching boards for over a month now and have read TONS of both Professional and/or end user reviews (mainly P67 thru Z68) and the ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen 3 kept bubbling to the top of my short list. Unless a huge design flaw surfaces in the next week or so I'll be buying mine no later than mid October.

As far as my research, what seems to differentiate me from the rest of the flock is I could care less about the color scheme of the Mobo. Makes no difference whatsoever. It can be blue, black, red, green, or purple. After all, the "Ohhh Wow" factor doesn't improve my gaming performance. Anyway, since color and appearance are not limiting factors I find myself considering a wider spectrum of models to compare. While I don't understand ASRocks reasoning for including Floppy or IDE support on what is suppose to be true "Gamers" board... it makes no difference because I don't have to use them. For any future Hardcore Gamers considering this board be aware this board only supports "dual" video cards (SLI or Crossfire) x8, x8. The third PCIE slot is only x4 so running three GPU's will be out of the question. With the upgrade to Ivy Bridge you'll be able to run dual 3.0 video cards at Gen3 speed... but the 3rd PCIE will still only be x4. (just something to consider) Personally I'd be more than happy with dual Nvidia GTX 590's.

NET: I tend to keep my setups for at least 3-4 years so I usually try and shoot for a Future Proof build (at least as much as possible) That's why I really like this board. When the Ivy Bridge CPU comes out, this MOBO will accept it as well as enabling PCIe 3.0 capability! So... in theory, 18 months or so down the road I can buy the latest Ivy Bridge CPU and upgrade my rig for just the price of the processor. Sweet! Will there be better & faster motherboards 18 months from now? Sure... you can count on it! But, I don't want to spend the time or money to do a complete rebuild every 18 months but a processor swap a year and a half from now is very appealing.

VORTEX Mobo Review:
http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/asrock_fatal1ty_z68_professional_gen3_review,1.html
.
 

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Noway, if you read the specs of the ASRock board it does supports CrossFireX 3-Way CrossFireX & Quad CrossFireX. It also SLI, 3-Way SLI & Quad SLI. Single at X16, Dual at X8X8 & Tri at X4X4X8.

asrock.png


Comparing it with Asus Maximus IV Extreme Z. The Asus board also supports CrossFireX 3-Way CrossFireX & Quad CrossFireX. It also SLI, 3-Way SLI & Quad SLI. Single at X16, Dual at X8X8 & Tri at X8X16X16.

asusk.png


Comparing it with Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD7. The Gigabyte board also supports CrossFireX 3-Way CrossFireX & Quad CrossFireX. Single at X16, Dual at X8X8 & Tri at X8X16X16. If you Quad SLI using (4) single GPU video card in the Gigabyte board you will be running X8X8X8X8.

gigabytey.png


Lets say you want to build the fastest Quad SLI set up. You don't want to buy (4) single GPU GTX 580. Instead you'll go with (2) dual GPU GTX 590. If you run (2) dual GPU GTX 590 on ASRock or Asus board, you'll be running at X8X8. It's actually better in Gigabyte board cuz you'll be running X16X16.

Nvidia's NF200 chipset looks good only on paper here. Performance gain in express lanes is minimal (3% the most form what I've read).

The game changer here is the next generation PCIe 3.0 support which (of the 3 mobos mentioned) only ASRock support.

I been comparing the 2 mobos (the ASRock & the Asus boards that I've got). I think ASRock still is the best. Though I been using Gigabyte mobos quite a lot before, I find the Gigabyte board inferior among the 3.

img0607mz.jpg
 

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Another game changer here is how the board's PCIe is placed. You have big problems using a PCIe X1 sound card in both the Asus & Gigabyte built.

The PCIeX1 in the Asus board just sits next to the 1st PCIeX16 slot.

In the Gigabyte board, it in the 1st row like in ASRock. The problem with the Gigabyte board is that the huge Northbridge chipset heatsink just sits next to the PCIeX1 slot.

In both Asus & Gigabyte boards, you'll better of using the generic Realtek high def audio than SoundBlaster.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheaptrick;15053738
Noway, if you read the specs of the ASRock board it does supports CrossFireX 3-Way CrossFireX & Quad CrossFireX. It also SLI, 3-Way SLI & Quad SLI. Single at X16, Dual at X8X8 & Tri at X8X8X8.
Hi Cheaptrick, I certainly don't want to start a flame war.
tongue.gif
but since you referred to the "manufacturers specs" I'm sure you'll agree most manufacturers advertize their products in a positive light. Per the ASRock website they state the Fata1ty Z68 Gen 3: Supports ATI™ Quad CrossFireX™, 3-Way CrossFireX™ and CrossFireX™ Supports NVIDIA® Quad SLI™ and SLI™ .

So... it must be true . Right? errr not necessarily. As with any statement made by "the manufacturer", there is almost always a little truth bending involved. True enough, while it DOES support crossfire and SLI... its also got a limited number of PCIe lanes.

Per "multiple" professional reviews most all of them point to the fact that graphics "could" suffer depending on hardware. (i.e., 1 card at x16, 2 cards at x8, but 3 cards drops down to x8x8x4), which is why I suggested if a hardcore gamer is planning on going with tri-fire/sli they will most likely lean towards a board with a NF200 chipset. Granted ... it may be splitting hairs but still worth noting. I've read it in several professional reviews "Lack of the NF200 chipset is not the most important thing for single card setups or even two card ones but if you're interested in going down the path of three it's worth having."

Here's a screenshot with comments taken from a Tweaktown Review (note the underline)

zxkyo4.jpg

Somebody has to be wrong in regards to its GPU capabilities... and since I've similar statements in several professional reviews I'm guessing its ASRock whose is not forthcoming with the cold hard facts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheaptrick;15053738
Nvidia's NF200 chipset looks good only on paper here. Performance gain in express lanes is minimal (3% the most form what I've read).

The game changer here is the next generation PCIe 3.0 support which (of the 3 mobos mentioned) only ASRock support.
No argument here... The performance gain offered by the NF200 chipset is questionable and I'll never exceed dual GPU's, which is the reason why I didn't include it as a requirement in my short list. It was the next generation PCIe 3.0 support that won me over and why I selected this board.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheaptrick;15053738
I been comparing the 2 mobos (the ASRock & the Asus boards that I've got). I think ASRock still is the best. Though I been using Gigabyte mobos quite a lot before, I find the Gigabyte board inferior among the 3.
I have to agree here as well. Over the last 20+ years I've assembled more custom builds than I care to think about. A couple years ago I would have ranked them 1) Asus, 2) ASRock and 3) Gigabyte but in the last couple years ASRock has really stepped up their game. I now consider Asus and ASRock to be neck & neck (depending on feature content) and regardless of their price difference. Gigabyte has recently received another black eye with MSI, and now ASRock, claiming Gigabyte Boards Have Fake PCIe 3.0
 

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If I'm to go with quad SLI or quad CrossFireX, I'll go with (2) dual GPU video cards. I'll use up only 2 PCIe (X8x8) slots. That's prepared than (3) single GPU video cards on 3 PCIe (X8X8X8). You can't go with dual GPU on 3 slots. That's not going to be possible hence there's no such thing as hexa SLI or hexa CrossFireX.

That's the reason why I said that NF200 is only good on paper.

If you go with the Asus & ASRock on this (2) dual GPU quad SLI or quad CrossFireX set up then it's pretty even (X8X8).

If you go tri (using 3 single GPU video cards) on Asus that's gonna be (X16X16X8) or Gigabyte (X4X4X8). It still can't bet 2 dual GPU video cards on quad even no matter what mobo of the 3 mentioned you'll gonna use.

(2) dual GPU GTX 590 (quad) is faster than (3) single GPU GTX 580 (tri).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheaptrick;15056740
dual GPU GTX 590 (quad) is faster than (3) single GPU GTX 580 (tri).
Quote:
Originally Posted by pchow05;15057184
tri 580s beat dual 590s.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheaptrick;15060337
Yah, but not quad 580 or (2) dual GPU 590 on quad SLI.
If debates on GPU speed, PCIe lanes and hardware claims are the only things we can find to argue about or discuss in relation to the Fatal1ty Pro Gen 3 then I'll be a happy camper!
laughingsmiley.gif
Why? Well obviously, everyone hopes for a a problem free Mobo. But, while we've seen giant improvements in the quality of ASRock Mobo's and the hardware components used, ASRock still doesn't have the best track record when it comes responsiveness and customer support.

For example, I feel bad for the owners of the ASRock Z68 Extreme 4, who have been plagued with thehttp://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&biw=1920&bih=992&q=%22A+clock+interrupt+was+not+received%22+Z68&btnG=Search&oq=%22A+clock+interrupt+was+not+received%22+Z68&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=s&gs_upl=0l0l0l2026l0l0l0l0l0l0l0l0ll0l0
] infamous ASRock Z68 Extreme 4 Clock Interrupt BSOD problem [/url] It's disappointing to read that even with all the thousands of end users around the world, reporting the same problem, in multiple forums, that ASRock is standing firm saying they have been unable to reproduce the problem in their labs and claiming it must be an user error (a hardware config problem/bad memory/BIOS settings etc) With so many end users having the same problem, even if ASRock can't reproduce it they should at least admit there must some kind of problem and they will continue to investigate it until its resolved.

As to the Fatal1ty Z68 Pro Gen 3, for the most part (other than the expected percentage of DOA's) I'm not aware of any serious issues. Newegg customer reviews have been good. I for one am hoping it stays that way. I've only found one reported problem in another forum where a Fatal1ty Pro Gen 3 owner reported he was using Win7 Ultimate 64bit and had a few freezes that required reboot. He said Intel acknowledged the issue and claims to have fixed it with the latest driver update. Then again, even though the ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 was announced back in June... its still not readily available (mainly newegg as a source)! Whereas Asus, Gigabyte and MSI have released new models after the Fatal1ty Z68 and they can they be found almost everywhere. So... its possible that the limited number of boards sold and in the field may still not be significant enough to yield valid statistics on its success as a relatively problem free Mobo. (Fingers crossed)
 

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I believe this thread is the official place for asrock z68 fatality owners. So so we have our own signatures to do that and some help for the latest bios and drivers?

If not, we must improve this thread up... no?
 

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I found this owner's club and I actually have some problems with my new
z68 fatal1ty motherboards with Crucial M4 SSD in RAID0. Not sure if someone
here could help me. Here are the issues:

1) BOOT problem :

Motherboard is in latest BIOS v1.30 and the Two Crucial SSD are flashed with latest firmware v0009.

I have the 2 Crucial m4 128GB SSD in RAID0 and another Seagate 500G mechanical drive.

SSDs connects to SATA0 and SATA1 (Intel native)
Seagate 500G connects to SATA4
SATA2 and SATA3 connects to 2 LiteOn Bluray drives.
I am not using any ASMedia SATA3 ports and they are disabled in BIOS.

I am able to boot up and configure the 2 Crucial m4 in RAID0.
Installed win7-64bit and update all drivers to the latest versions.
But once the Seagate mechanical drive is removed, I am not able to
BOOT up my PC from power down anymore. I am not planning to use the Seagate drive for the long run.
I just want to use the Crucial m4 SSD in RAID0, but with just the 2 SSD, the PC cannot boot ?
The weird thing is even I clear CMOS, it can never boot up again from power down.
I have tried an experiment that I have Seagate connect to one of the ASMedia ports,
but in the BIOS, I actually disable all ASMedia ports. In that setting the PC can boot up.
Once I remove the Seagate drive, with using just the 2 Crucial SSD, the PC will not BOOT up even though
I keep clearing CMOS.

I think the board might have incompatibility issues with Crucial M4 in RAID0 ?
Not sure if anyone has the same setting and could help?

2) S3 problem:
Even with the Seagate drive connected to SATA4 or one of the ASMedia ports, I am able to boot to SSD RAID0,
but when the PC go into S3 sleep mode. It can never start again by pressing any buttons or the power switch.
The PC will never boot up from sleep mode.
I keep getting 0xEA (S3 Resume Boot script error). I have to clear CMOS a few times before it can reboot.

Sometime, if the seagate drive is connected, I can reboot by clearing CMOS, but without the
seagate drive and using just the SSD RAID0, it can never reboot even with clearing CMOS.

I think my motherboard either has some serious BOOT problems, or maybe it just not compatible with Crucial M4 in RAID0 ?
Does anyone here use this boards with SSD in RAID0 setting ?

Hope someone can give advice.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by raytang;15093079
I found this owner's club and I actually have some problems with my new
z68 fatal1ty motherboards with Crucial M4 SSD in RAID0. Not sure if someone
here could help me. Here are the issues:

1) BOOT problem :

Motherboard is in latest BIOS v1.30 and the Two Crucial SSD are flashed with latest firmware v0009.

I have the 2 Crucial m4 128GB SSD in RAID0 and another Seagate 500G mechanical drive.

SSDs connects to SATA0 and SATA1 (Intel native)
Seagate 500G connects to SATA4
SATA2 and SATA3 connects to 2 LiteOn Bluray drives.
I am not using any ASMedia SATA3 ports and they are disabled in BIOS.

I am able to boot up and configure the 2 Crucial m4 in RAID0.
Installed win7-64bit and update all drivers to the latest versions.
But once the Seagate mechanical drive is removed, I am not able to
BOOT up my PC from power down anymore. I am not planning to use the Seagate drive for the long run.
I just want to use the Crucial m4 SSD in RAID0, but with just the 2 SSD, the PC cannot boot ?
The weird thing is even I clear CMOS, it can never boot up again from power down.
I have tried an experiment that I have Seagate connect to one of the ASMedia ports,
but in the BIOS, I actually disable all ASMedia ports. In that setting the PC can boot up.
Once I remove the Seagate drive, with using just the 2 Crucial SSD, the PC will not BOOT up even though
I keep clearing CMOS.

I think the board might have incompatibility issues with Crucial M4 in RAID0 ?
Not sure if anyone has the same setting and could help?

2) S3 problem:
Even with the Seagate drive connected to SATA4 or one of the ASMedia ports, I am able to boot to SSD RAID0,
but when the PC go into S3 sleep mode. It can never start again by pressing any buttons or the power switch.
The PC will never boot up from sleep mode.
I keep getting 0xEA (S3 Resume Boot script error). I have to clear CMOS a few times before it can reboot.

Sometime, if the seagate drive is connected, I can reboot by clearing CMOS, but without the
seagate drive and using just the SSD RAID0, it can never reboot even with clearing CMOS.

I think my motherboard either has some serious BOOT problems, or maybe it just not compatible with Crucial M4 in RAID0 ?
Does anyone here use this boards with SSD in RAID0 setting ?

Hope someone can give advice.
On BIOS setting under Boot section, check the Boot Option #1 & #2. Also, during your OS install, right after you installed the Raid driver/s did you create a partition? If so, did you install the OS in the RAID partition or in the Seagate drive on AHCI?

By the way, just for info - SATA 6.0 Gb A1 to A4 by ASMedia doesn't support RAID. The ASRock instruction manual was not so specific about the function of the RAID ports mentioned. It took me awhile to clear things out. I though at first that my ASRock mobo was deffective. It was then that I learned (from googling) that the reason why I can't set the RAID array if I connect my drives on the ASMedia SATA ports is that it doesn't support RAID.

Essentially, the mobo has only (2) SATA 6.0 ports that support RAID (Intel ports). The other (4) SATA Ports (Intel) that support RAID are SATA 3.0 ports. You can create a RAID 10 array using only (2) SATA 6.0 ports instead of using (4) drives by partitioning each drive into (2). I never really tried this hence when I do RAID I usually do RAID 10 using (4) drives.
 

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UEFI boot, Windows 7 install and Intel Smart Response (SSD caching) on Asrock Z68 Fatal1ty Pro

I have drives in my system > 2TB in size and thus I needed to be able to use GPT partition tables to access partitions above 2.2TB, the maximum limit of a MBR partition. There is very little information out there on installing Windows 7 to run on GPT disks, and what is there is frequently incomplete or wrong. There are also a bunch of "gotchas" with the Asrock Z68 Fatal1ty board that make for some head scratching, so I thought I would share my experiences and hopefully save those of you who want to do the same thing some hours of trying to puzzle it out.

If you're contemplating a GPT disk structure, here are some things you need to know: If you want a GPT partitioned disk in a UEFI BIOS system (even if it's only your data drive), then your boot disk MUST be GPT as well. This means you MUST do a UEFI boot of the Windows 7 install media and doing a UEFI boot of the Windows 7 install media on this board is a lot trickier than you might expect.

First off, do not hang your optical drive off one of the ASMedia SATA ports. It will NOT UEFI boot. The optical drive absolutely needs to be attached to the Intel controller. Secondly, simply going into the BIOS and setting up the optical drive as the first in the boot order will not work either, even if you see it prefaced by "UEFI: " in the list. What you MUST do is to hit the F11 key at boot time which will bring up the boot menu. Here you select the optical drive. In my case, since I have the Intel controller set in RAID mode, the boot list showed me two ways to boot the optical drive, "RAID: " and "UEFI: . It is key to note here that the BIOS seems to do some kind of check on the media to see if it is UEFI bootable. If there is a DVD in the drive that is not UEFI bootable, the option to boot "UEFI: " will not be displayed. Only if your media is UEFI bootable will you see the option in the F11 boot list.

I simply could not get my original Windows 7 Home Premium install media to UEFI boot (so the BIOS option in the F11 menu to UEFI boot the optical drive was not available). If you boot up in legacy BIOS mode, Windows install will refuse to install on a GPT disk, telling you that it is unable to do so. Only by booting in UEFI mode will you be able to install to a GPT disk. The solution to this problem for me was to create an install media that only allowed UEFI boot. To do this, you will need a copy of the Microsoft tool oscdimage.exe, which you can download from the link in this forum post. Make a copy of the install DVD to a work area on another PC and then issue the command

Code:

Code:
oscdimg -e  -o -os -m -n -pEF -w4 -lWIN7X64UEFI   -b"<path to copy of install media>\efi\microsoft\boot\efisys.bin" "<path to copy of install media>" "<filename for output iso>"
credit to Keshav for the method.

This will create a UEFI-boot-only ISO image which you will need to burn to DVD. Once you have this DVD, with the optical drive attached to an Intel controller SATA port, press the F11 button during startup and you should then see the option to UEFI boot the optical drive. If you select it, the BIOS will ask you to press a key to boot the DVD. If you see Windows starting, you will know you have just UEFI booted as you have disabled normal BIOS booting on this install media.

Once you get into the Windows setup and reach the screen where you choose the disk on which to install your copy of Windows, press Shift-F10 to run a command shell. Once in the command shell, run diskpart.exe. When presented by the "DISKPART >" prompt, you will need to check to see if the disk you want to install on is flagged as GPT or MBR.

Code:

Code:
DISKPART > list disk

Disk ###     Status        Size        Free          Dyn   Gpt
---------    -------       -------     -------       ---   ---
Disk 0       Online        1500 GB     1500 GB
Disk 1     Online        750 GB      750 GB                *
If you do not see an asterisk under the GPT header, then your disk is in MBR mode and you need to convert it to GPT. To do this, issue the following commands (assuming we want to convert disk 0 to GPT)

Code:

Code:
DISKPART>  select disk 0

Disk 0 is now the selected disk.

DISKPART > convert gpt

DISKPART> exit
DO NOT create any partitions. You will find a bunch of instructions on the web on how to create GPT partitions, but the Windows install process will create the necessary efisys, msres and msdata partition types automatically during the install process. Return to the install screen and hit refresh to refresh the list of drives and partitions. Here is also where you should load the ASMedia SATA drivers from a USB key. Choose the disk you just converted as the install disk and continue.

Once the install process completes, your GPT drive will be partitioned with 3 partitions: an EFI system partition, of 100MB in size, a MSRES reserved partition of 128MB in size, and the MSDATA partition on the rest of the space. The first two partitions will not be visible inside Windows - you will need to run diskpart or a similar tool to be able to see them. When your PC reboots, be sure to set the 1st boot drive in the boot preference list to your install drive. DESPITE what you may read on the web, it will UEFI boot off a drive on the Intel controller when it is set to RAID mode. You will see posts telling you that AHCI must be the mode and that this therefore means that RAID mode and UEFI boot are incompatible, but this is incorrect.

Contrary also to what you might read on the web, Intel Smart Response technology DOES work on a UEFI boot Windows 7 x64 system, despite some reports that it is impossible and also despite a remark in the release notes for the RST drivers . The only caveat here is that I cannot confirm that it does cache properly on a boot drive. My drive setup is a 512GB Crucial m4 as the boot drive and four WD 1TB RE4s in RAID 10 mode with a 60GB OCZ Vertex 3 acting as the cache attached to the Intel controller and a 3TB WD Caviar Green, two 750GB Hitachi Deskstars and my optical drive attached to the ASMedia controller. Note that to install Windows 7 in UEFI boot mode, I disconnected my RAID array and attached the optical drive to the Intel controller. Once my install was done, I reconnected my RAID array to the Intel controller and moved the Optical drive to the ASMedia controller.

It's worth noting that I did not use the Intel RST drivers from the Asrock site (version 10.5.0.1027). Instead, I downloaded the latest version (10.6.0.1002) directly from Intel. The release notes state that a known issue is that "3007138 Win7 -64 GPT formatted drives create error message in user interface when RRT creation is attempted". I did not encounter this error, perhaps because I used the Intel BIOS to create my RAID array rather than the Intel Windows Management GUI. Once Windows was installed, I installed the latest version of the Intel RST drivers, then I went to the Intel management GUI, chose the accelerate option for my RAID array, selected my OCZ Vertex 60GB as the SSD to use for the cache. It duly informed me that the acceleration was enabled. Once this was done, I went to the Manage tab and selected "initialize" to initialize the RAID array. Once this was complete, I created and formatted a volume on the RAID array.

And several hours later, all was working as envisaged, but not without some definite head scratching and cursing along the way though.

UPDATE:

Here's some more useful information. I had to RMA my board because of faulty onboard audio connectors. When I put in the new motherboard, it simply would not boot my GPT installation of Windows 7 on my Crucial M4 512GB SSD boot drive. One of the hallmarks of a UEFI installation of Windows 7 is that you will see in the boot devices section in the bios an entry called "Windows Boot Manager". I did not see this entry. The solution is to boot an EFI shell off a USB key. Then change to the correct disk and execute the boot loader.

Code:

Code:
> fs0:
> cd EFI/boot
> bootx64.efi
It will then boot into your Windows installation. When you reboot and go into the bios, you will now see "Windows Boot Manager" as one of the boot disk options. It seems the bios does not see the GPT installation until you have booted from it at least once. Choose this as your first boot drive and you will be able to boot.

For those of you who need an EFI boot usb key, I've uploaded one here. Just unpack this to the root of a FAT32 USB key. Do not attempt to invoke this using the bios option. Just put it in a USB port, hit F11 at the bios splash screen, choose the UEFI: USB option and you will boot into the EFI shell on the USB key where you can enter the commands above.
 

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I've just gotten my 4.6Ghz OC stable for 4.5 hours in LinX using all available memory and 10.5 hours of a Prime95 blend test. I have a 5Ghz OC that passes a small LinX test of 25 iterations (10,000 problem size), although the temps reach up to 90 degrees, so I'm not willing to do an extended stability test at this setting. The few reports on overclocking this board that I have seen on the web seem to counsel disabling all sorts of things and using fixed voltages. I much prefer offset mode due to the fact that I don't have to put higher voltages through the CPU 100% of the time, so for a 24/7 overclock, it's a much more elegant method than a fixed vcore. I thought I would post some observations for those of you wanting to use offset mode OC in terms of what works for me. There were no real surprises to be honest. I'll list my settings and then discuss. If not explicitly specified, any settings is left on default or auto.

4.6Ghz O/C (LinX and Prime95 stable)

HT/C1E/C3/C6: Enabled
Internal PLL overvoltage: Disabled
Turbo boost short duration power limit: 200
Turbo boost long duration power limit: 200
Core current limit: 150 (default)
Spread spectrum: Disabled
Cpu core voltage: Offset mode (I need to add 0.05v)
CPU LLC: Level 4
VTT voltage: 1.129v
VCCSA voltage: 1.1016v

CPU core current: In my opinion it's not necessary to increase the core current limit to silly levels. You can calculate the corre current limit as a function of your vcore and power duration limits. Watts = Volts x Amps, or A = W/V, so if your vcore max is 1.36v, then max current will be 200 / 1.36 = 147 amps. I set core current limit a little higher at 150, the default. I've not seen any discussion of this setting anywhere on the web, so commentary on my observation would be useful. Anyone disagree with this?

CPU LLC: I have a preference for keeping this as close to the design spec as possible. There are lots of discussions on the web, so I am not going to rehash this. At level 5, the offset needs to be ramped too high, which has an unnecessary effect on idle voltages, raising them more than is strictly necessary. A rule of thumb that seems to work for me is that if I need to go higher than a 0.05v offset, I will raise the CPU LLC level by one. At a 4.6Ghz O/C, Level 4 worked well for me.

I run 4 x 4GB DIMMS off the QVL list. I simply could not get my O/C stable without raising both VTT (vccio) and VCCSA. This isn't surprising, as fully populated DIMM slots puts more of a strain on the IMC.

I hit max load temps of 78 degrees on LinX and 72 degrees on Prime95. LinX average temps were in the mid seventies, while Prime95 was in the mid sixties.

Screenies of the 4.6Ghz O/C. It's worth noting that the Nuvoton sensor seems to give bogus readings from time to time. Look at the motherboard temperature on F-Stream Tuning and the max RPM on fans 2/3/5. I would have thought one of the software packages has a bug, but interestingly both F-Stream Tuning and Open Hardware Monitor seemed to display bogus readings from time to time on some of the sensor outputs. You will also notice on the Prime95 stable screenie that the max vcore is shown as around 2v. I noticed this before and graphed vcore with speedfan during several of my runs, and occasionally where Open Hardware Monitor showed a high max vcore reading, speedfan did not show the same spike. You would also expect a dramatic spike in temperature at this vcore, which was not evidenced by any of the monitoring software I was using. Conclusions: the sensor itself, or perhaps the Windows 7 drivers issue bogus readings on the Nuvoton sensor from time to time.

4.6ghz-LinX.JPG


4.6ghz-prime95.JPG


111009145456.jpg


111009145404.jpg


111009145437.jpg


5Ghz O/C (LinX stable at small problem set sizes)

HT/C1E/C3/C6: Enabled
Internal PLL overvoltage: Enabled
Turbo boost short duration power limit: 200
Turbo boost long duration power limit: 200
Core current limit: 200
Spread spectrum: Disabled
Cpu core voltage: Offset mode (I need to add 0.03v)
CPU LLC: Level 2
CPU PLL Voltage: 1.75v
VTT voltage: 1.129v
VCCSA voltage: 1.1016v

Internal PLL voltage: Enabled
CPU LLC: I had to raise the level to 2, as otherwise the offset was > 0.1v and accordingly idle voltages were way too high
CPU PLL voltage: lowering the PLL voltage to 1.75v allowed me to boot into Windows at a lower vcore offset than the auto setting did. 1.71v was a bit low, and increasing it slightly to 1.75v gave greater stability. This seems to confirm numerous other observations that lowering PLL at higher overclocks helps with stability. It's no exception on this motherboard.

Max load temps under LinX hit up to 90 degrees, but seemed to hover mostly at the 82 or 83 mark. These were too high for comfort, so I did not persist with an extended stability test in an attempt to get this O/C stable. I would not run 24/7 at these levels, so this O/C is academic for my purposes. I will be using the 4.6Ghz O/C as it has moderate voltage levels and temps. I'm simply documenting the settings required here that differ from the more modest 4.6Ghz O/C for those of you hell bent on achieving a 5Ghz O/C.

Screenies of the 5Ghz O/C

5ghz-LinX.JPG


111009145645.jpg


111009145533.jpg


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