Random Extreme Overclocking Results:
Once this board is frozen you may run into an issue with the Clear CMOS and PWM switches. This is something I noticed looked a little too close for comfort when images first started appearing online before the board launched, and I thought these would possibly be relocated before the final version was set in stone, but as you can see they have not.
So, when freezing this board you must either set these and forget them under your insulation, or you could possibly drown them in Vaseline or dielectric grease. Dry ice is as extreme cold as it gets for me, and when the board is at -74C these are frozen SOLID fairly quick, insulated or not. Under phase cooling (-40-50C) they are fine, but if you are using dry ice or Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) that would be much colder (-196C), you will need to decide what you want to do before the freezing commences.
Maximum Bclk Results & The Bclk World Record!!
*** World Record Bclk for X58 / 1366 Secured with X58A-OC!!! ***
Shortly before obtaining the world record for X58 Bclk, I was able to secure third place global with 269.28 Bclk, which was first place for the X58A-OC motherboard. This was done using phase cooling, and I wrote a news article about that session that you may view here @ TweakTown.
Being so excited about getting third place, I had to plan a dry ice session soon, and it was only a few days later the first place record was mine, thanks to the incredible X58A-OC motherboard! Being so excited to hold a first place global record, I quickly made out a news article on that as well which you may view here @ TweakTown.com. The link contains images of the setup used, and other clocks and benchmarks obtained during the same session as well.
Please click on any CPU-z image below to view validations
Lsdmeasap's 920 276.42 Bclk Submission @ Hwbot
Here is a video I made that same day showing my bootup at 260 Bclk, and then taking the system up to 276 Bclk within Windows. This was taken with a cheap low resolution camera, so please pay no attention to the quality.
Here are the Top 20 current HWBot standings for X58 Reference Clock, you may also click the link below and see an updated search of the HWBot records to see if anyone has submitted a higher Bclk yet.
Top 20 current HWBot standings for X58 Reference Clock (Bclk)
As you can tell, pushing for highest Bclk is something I really like to do. Everyone has their own "cup of tea" so to speak, and Bclk is one thing I really enjoy when it comes to X58 benching. It's not an easy thing to do, it takes a lot of skills, patience, and of course, the right motherboard and processor. Reaching a very high Bclk is a "Luck of the draw" sort of thing and is dependent on the processor, once you have the right motherboard, some CPU's can do very high Bclks while others struggle to keep up with the rest. As you can see below, with all of the CPU's I have reaching 250 or above, only one is well above the others! And I almost didn't test Bclk with that CPU too, but I'm glad I eventually did. Why I almost didn't test it is because it's an early sample with locked memory multipliers (8/10), and it's never really done anything impressive - until now.
Other notable 920 Bclk's
W3520 Bclk (Phase only)
990X Bclk (Phase only)
Maximum Overall CPU Frequency:
5.429GHz - 980X
Lsdmeasap's 980X 5.429GHz Submission @ Hwbot
6.273GHz - 990X
Lsdmeasap's 990X 6.273GHz Submission @ Hwbot
Maximum Memory Frequency:
Ridgeback 998826 Left (Air) - Radioactive 998966 Right (Dice)
Various Super PI 1m & 32M (+1 PiFast)
272.5 Bclk Super PI 1M
250-265 Bclk Super PI 1M
6 minutes 45.422s Super PI 32m @ 5.5GHz (Personal X58 best)
7.296s Super PI 1m @ 5.56GHz (Personal X58 best)
15.40 seconds PiFast @ 5.5GHz (Personal X58 best)
Final Thoughts & Conclusion:
I'd like to start off this section with an apology to my readers!
I am sorry it has taken me such a long time to get a review out on this awesome motherboard!!
Putting together a review in itself is not an easy task at all. Having to take the time to learn the board's unique abilities and have the opportunity to properly test and benchmark, isn't something I could do on a daily basis, and it is not a simple task. Using my phase cooling setup was ideal to test any time, but in order to do some of the actual overclock benchmarking that this board deserves to see, I had to find the time to squeeze into my tight schedule when to setup extreme overclocking sessions (Dry Ice) and then spend the time benching for those periods. On top of that, I had a processor fiasco midway through my data collection that prolonged my testing, making me start all over with a different processor. So in the end, it ended up taking me much longer than I had planned to have this review ready for you all to read, and for that I apologize greatly!
I would have loved the opportunity to be able to get in a few more benching sessions before I finished this review, but I've been unable to find the time needed to do so quickly, and this review deserved to be published as soon as possible. I normally spend 8-10+ hours benching with dry ice, I simply don't have enough free time to bench with it more, in time to add to this review. The GA-X58A-OC motherboard has been nothing short of a dream to work with, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the times that I was able to spend benching under extreme conditions!
Throughout the time I've spent testing and overclocking on this board I haven't ran into any major unexpected issues, it's been unbelievably fun to bench with, and I eagerly look forward to using it each time I plan to bench as I never know what awesome score I'll see next. I hope that GIGABYTE continues the "OC" line of motherboards, and they have mentioned plans of future models, so hopefully that will remain true. The X58A-OC being their first release in this newly (Self) created motherboard category has been a great step forward, there are few things I'd like to see improved in future models (See cons), but all in all it's a very impressive motherboard and is a great move in the right direction for motherboard technology itself and overclockers alike.
Everyone in the overclock community has waited a long time to see this board released, some patiently, and some not so much (Myself included haha). GIGABYTE released images and information long before the actual release of the board, which made all of our waiting very difficult, but all of that is over now and the board is available to anyone that would still like to grab one while they are still on the market. Currently, here in the US, you can purchase your very own X58A-OC motherboard here at Newegg.com for $359 plus a $30 mail-in rebate. That may sound like a high price, but the quality of the motherboard you get for your hard earned money makes it well worth the cash spent. In contrast this board comes in at a price point that is $100 less than the GIGABYTE G1-Assassin gaming board, and only about $25 more than your average GA-X58A-UD7 price, so in reality GA-X58A-OC at $329 (minus rebate) is easily a great deal.
If you are looking for a great replacement to your aging 775, 1156, or even X58 board, the X58A-OC comes highly recommended by me! This board's design is a crowning achievement in motherboard technology, easily surpassing all other X58 boards with which I've had the opportunity to bench. The high quality components, new on-board overclock features, and easy to use BIOS, make this board reign supreme in the X58 world and I highly recommend grabbing a piece of motherboard history by purchasing one today!
1. Multiple on-board frequency buttons and switches - An overclocker's dream, and very easy to use!
2. On-board voltage readout points and connection headers - A very welcome addition!!
3. 8 on-board fan headers (7 of which are PWM & controllable) - This is great for daily use and overclocking as well to some extent
4. Multiple on-board temp sensors + ability to display very low negative temperatures
5. Very easy to insulate CPU and PCIE area for extreme overclocking sessions - Saves time!!
6. PCIE slot arrangement is perfect for larger dual and triple slot graphics cards
7. Highly improved Marvell 6GB/s controller (9182)
1. Location of the Clear CMOS and PWM Switches - As seen above these freeze due to being too close to CPU socket when frozen, you must set before they freeze and Clear CMOS via battery / PSU if needed
2. Lack of any new "Overclocking" BIOS options - For an "OC" board I expected to see some new BIOS options directed specifically towards overclocking
3. On-board Debug POST LED placement - The LED is difficult to view from most any angle once the board is setup
I'd like to offer a huge thank you to everyone @ GIGABYTE & Mushkin for their continued support!!!
Big thanks to Crucial and NXZT for providing some of the hardware used in this review as well! One can dream right? Right!!
I'll leave you with some of my hopes and dreams... until we meet again.
I am getting used to GIGABYTE's new black PCB's, and I really do like the X58A-OC board's current orange and black theme.
But I think an OC board done in light blue and black would have looked awesome as well!
Hopefully GIGABYTE will carry on the OC motherboard line, and deliver something similar to the images here in the future!! Baby blue and black would be SO SEXY!
(Hint, hint @ GIGABYTE) Disclaimer: This image, and the one directly above it, are NOT GIGABYTE products, and are NOT meant to be a depiction of any future GIGABYTE product!
These are images of the GA-X58A-OC motherboard that I Photoshopped to show what it would look like in a blue and black theme.