The Maximus IV Gene-Z is the smaller sibling to the flagship Maximus IV Extreme and Maximus IV Extreme-Z motherboards. Many of the overclocking features found on the bigger siblings make their way onto the Gene-Z.
We’ve also managed to provide you with a 250 amp capable VRM on the Gene-Z to supply CPU Vcore. That means the Gene-Z should be capable of keeping up with its full sized ATX counterparts when it comes to processor overclocking!
We’re going to walk you through key BIOS overclocking features and break down their usage, to help you get the most from this exciting little motherboard.
Upon entering UEFI BIOS, we navigate to the AI Tweaker menu:
CPU Level Up: Allows us to select a pre-set profile that contains voltage and bus adjustments to apply a mild overclock to the system. Use this setting if you do not wish to overclock the system manually.
Load Extreme OC Profile: For extreme overclocking only. Contains a pre-set that sets all processor and system current thresholds to maximum – in order to facilitate quick setup when overclocking the processor under sub-zero cooling.
Ai Overclock Tuner: Options are Auto, Manual and X.M.P.
Auto: This is the default setting, and needs to be changed to Manual if you wish to change BCLK (BCLK is the base reference frequency from which processor and other system bus frequencies are derived).
X.M.P: Extreme memory profile, use this option if you have Sandy Bridge qualified XMP memory. X.M.P. profiles contain pre-sets for system buses and in some cases voltages. If the specified speed of the DIMMs is greater than the supported memory frequency of the platform, a platform specific X.M.P. profile option becomes mandatory because processor core and memory controller voltage requirements vary from architecture to architecture. High-speed enthusiast memory kits manufactured before the inception of the Sandybridge platform may not contain the necessary/adequate voltage offset settings for the system to be completely stable. In such instances, manual adjustments of memory controller voltage and memory timings may be necessary.
Selecting the X.M.P setting opens up options for X.M.P profile selection (the kit may contain more than one X.M.P profile), and also opens up the BCLK option for changing system bus frequency. Note that memory operating frequency and maximum CPU operating frequency are shown towards the top of the Ai Tweaker menu, while memory timings and voltage are displayed next to the XMP profile selection box.
BCLK/PCIe Frequency: This function becomes available if X.M.P or Ai Overclock Tuner “Manual” are selected. The base BCLK frequency is 100MHz. As the name implies, changing the BCLK frequency will also change PCIe frequency. The maximum CPU core frequency is derived via multiplication with the Turbo Ratio setting (final frequency is displayed at the top-left of the Ai Tweaker menu).
Bear in mind that the adjustment margin for this setting is not large - most processors have a range from 95~107 MHz. Changes to BCLK and stable operation of high memory frequencies (DDR3-2133+ for example) may benefit from manipulation of clock skew settings (more on that subject later in the guide).
Turbo Ratio: Options are “Auto”, “By All Cores” and “By Per Core”. A description of these settings is provided in the right-hand column of the UEFI BIOS and can be seen when the Turbo Ratio setting is selected.
By All Cores: This sets the CPU core frequency multiplier; multiplied by BCLK to give the target CPU frequency (under full load conditions if SpeedStep is active). “Auto”: Stock CPU multiplier Ratio used. Manual numerical entry of the desired Turbo Ratio is accepted.
Per Core: Allows setting the maximum Turbo multiplier of each physical processor core.
The available multiplier range is limited by both processor model and the ability of each CPU.
Internal PLL Overvoltage: Options are “Auto”, “Disabled” and “Enabled”. A manual setting of “Disabled” is recommended within the bounds of moderate overclocking. Using Core frequency multipliers in excess of 45X may need a setting of “Enabled”. The requirements of the “Enabled” setting will vary from processor to processor. The unfortunate side-effect is that resume from S3 sleep states is not possible when Internal PLL Overvoltage is set to “Enabled” - this is a hardware limitation, and only fixable by Intel.
Memory Frequency: “Auto” will automatically select a memory multiplier ratio according to memory module SPD (Serial Presence Detect). Manual selection of the available memory frequency multiplier ratios is possible and works according to the abilities of the DRAM and processor. Granular control of memory frequency is available by manipulating BCLK (within functional limits).
Memory Bandwidth Booster: Uses a tighter set of memory timings for benchmarking purposes. Use only with enthusiast oriented memory kits. Keep disabled when using 4GB DIMMs or when gunning for maximum memory frequency.
iGPU Max Frequency: Sets the maximum iGPU frequency in 50MHz steps (implied).
EPU Power Saving Mode: When “Enabled” is selected, utilizes power phase management based upon system loading to reduce system power consumption. A setting of “Disabled” is recommended for heavy overclocking.