The Intel Core 2 Duo 'Conroe' E6600 processor runs on a
1066 MHz FSB (266 MHz motherboard clock speed) which means it's already faster
than what any Pentium D 840 could overclock too from a 800MHz (200MHz) starting
point. As usual before the overclocking began, PCSTATS set the Corsair Twin2X2048-6400C4 memory frequency was set to
run in DDR2-533 mode, this way the memory will not hold the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
The GA-965P-DS3 also supports lowering the CPU
multiplier to 6x, so we set the CPU to that so we'd have one less
Starting at 266 MHz FSB the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3's clock
speed was increased in small 2-3 MHz intervals. Overclocking with the Intel Core
2 Duo processor is unknown waters for me... and I didn't want to risk damaging a
component so things went a little slower at first than I'm normally used to.
The Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 was definitely up to the
overclocking challenge, and it handled each increase in clock speed very well.
In fact the GA-965P-DS3 motherboard did not give me any problems until the 310
MHz mark. Getting past that speed required the Intel P965 Express chipset
voltage to be increased slightly (0.2V).
In the end this little overclocking adventure peaked at
a maximum speed of 352 MHz. Anything higher and the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 would
start to experience stability issues when running through the benchmarks.
BIOS Options and
At first glance the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 motherboard
seems to be lacking a BIOS chip - at least one that conforms to the standard
square CMOS Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier (PLCC)
package we're all accustomed to.
Right next to the lone nuclear green IDE connector is
instead a Silicon Storage Technology SST-25VF080B 8Mbit SPI Serial Flash chip
(see at right, under the marking 'U11').
This is an 8 lead surface mounted chip of about 3mm
square, in a SOIC package. RoHS compliant, the very small BIOS chip occupies
hardly any board space, requires a little less voltage to operate, and has 8
Mbit's of storage space... or in other words it will hold 1024 MByte's of data!
Data retention is pegged at a period of greater than 100
years. On it is loaded an Award BIOS, something thankfully that we here at
PCSTATS are very familiar with when it comes to tweaking...
Looking around inside the GA-965P-DS3's BIOS we soon
discovered that Gigabyte has really increased the amount of overclocking options
available to the user. It now allows enthusiasts remarkably aggressive settings
to choose from... gone are the days of 0.2V max voltages! Yippee!
To access the memory timing options, you must
first press 'CTRL + F1' at the main menu. In the 'MB Intelligent Tweaker'
section you have CPU clock multiplier options as well as the ability adjust the
motherboard FSB from 200-500 MHz in 1 MHz increments. The memory multiplier
allows you to adjust what speed the DDR2 memory runs at. It should be noted that
the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 supports 1066 MHz operation as well. In the 'MIT' area
you'll also find memory timing adjustments and voltage control.
I know it's difficult to see, but DDR2
voltage goes as high as 0.7V above stock. PCI express voltage can be adjusted to
0.1V, FSB 0.3V and MCH 0.3V above stock. CPU voltage goes as high as 2.0V, but
definitely use a bit of caution when playing changing that option higher than
Up next, benchmarks of this Conroe based Core
2 Duo system!