Asus motherboards always sport far too many features to mention in a review. I usually try to point out a couple, so here you go:
Most of us that have been around overclocking for more than a few years tend to scoff at any attempts to create software overclocking. And I have to admit, results have been less than satisfactory. At best you’d get a mild overclock that would disappear when rebooting the system, and at worst…well, at one point in time Asus’ overclocking software would make the system unstable just by installing it, let alone trying to run it. On top of that, you usually had to reboot the system after making adjustments. Why would I want to do that, if I wanted to reboot, I would have gone into the BIOS in the first place.
Another problem I’ve had with overclocking in the O/S environment is that it is just too easy to do. Going into the BIOS is a scary proposition for most people, and in most cases I felt that was a good thing. In the past, overclocking wasn’t something to be taken lightly, it was just too easy to fry that expensive hardware. I always felt that it was for most people’s good that overclocking had to be done in the deep dark cavern known as the BIOS, a place that most didn’t know existed and some research was required just to get there. And once you got there you knew that one wrong step could be disastrous. There were no crash proof BIOS then either, and one bad setting could turn that prized rig into an expensive doorstop.
But things are different today. Nearly all motherboards have some kind of built-in provisions for making the BIOS crash proof. A wrong setting usually just causes the BIOS to defer to the stock defaults. Hardware is harder to destroy too, CPUs will usually just shut down long before the temperature gets high enough to do any damage. There are warnings in the BIOS that are hard to ignore, such as the text color turning to red when dangerous voltages are approached. Today’s memory has some voltage overhead built in so you usually have to go well past the maximum voltage to fry it. No, it isn’t impossible to damage your system today, but you nearly have to be trying to cause damage to do any.
Asus’ TurboV combines software with an onboard chip to create stable overclocking in the Windows environment. It is simple to use and I’ve had pretty good luck with it. Just install the software and you’re ready. It is found in the “Drivers” section of the motherboard’s drivers disk.
Overclocking is easy with TurboV, just increase the BCLK frequency and adjust the voltage if needed. If you go too far, the system will lock up, just reboot and start over. There are additional tweaks by pressing the “More Setting” button and clicking the “Advanced Mode” tab. Here you can tweak the PLL and PCH voltages.
Once you find an overclock you like, just create a profile for it, and you can go to and from it anytime. Keep in mind that your overclock is not changed in the BIOS and will not be there when you reboot, so creating a profile is pretty important if you want to use your overclock again. Another practical use for TurboV is go into the BIOS and perform an overclock there, then do additional tweaking with TurboV.
The only problem I have with TurboV is the memory voltage, for modern Intel systems (LGA 1366 or LGA 1156), you should never raise the memory voltage higher than 1.65v, as you will damage the CPU’s onboard memory controller. On TurboV, the DRAM Bus Voltage can be raised to 1.9v, which is ok for an AMD AM3 system, but not a modern Intel system.
Asus GPU Boost:
The 2010 Intel Core i5 Series processors have an onboard GPU. Asus’ GPU Boost allows you to overclock the GPU for better performance. Just click the “More Setting” button on Turbo, click the “GPU Boost” tab, and you open GPU Boost. You can increase the iGPU frequency and voltage. Click the link to the right and you can increase both at the same time.
Just be aware that you will not greatly increase graphics performance by overclocking, and it doesn’t take much to make the system’s graphics unstable. GPU Boost is just a tool for getting that extra “oomph” when it’s needed.
GPU Boost is a separate installation from TurboV, and is also found in the “Drivers” section of the driver disk.
Asus Turbo Key:
Another interesting feature found on the P7H55D-M is Asus Turbo Key. TurboV works great but you have to remember to reload your profile after every reboot. Overclocking in the BIOS keeps you from having to remember, but maybe you don’t want to keep your rig overclocked full time.
Imagine you are at a LAN party. You are into your favorite game before you remember that it runs so much better when you have applied your favorite overclock profile. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to push a key to start your overclock without missing a beat? Asus Turbo Key does just that. Turbo Key makes your rig’s I/O switch work just like the NOS button on your friend’s ricer.
Install Turbo Key from the driver disk. Click its icon in the tray to launch the dashboard. When you turn Turbo Key on, you can use one of the mild presets, or load your favorite profile from Turbo V.
To eliminate some confusion, if you happen to have an overclock enabled in TurboV that is higher than the profile you have set in Turbo Key, you get a warning letting you know.
Then, when you need that extra boost, just press the rig’s I/O button. You get a splash screen letting you know that Turbo Key is launching. After it is launched, the icon found in the splash screen is displayed in the upper right corner of your screen.