ASRock X299M Extreme4 Intel LGA 2066 Motherboard Review

BIOS and Overclocking …

Get fast to the right UEFI settings …

ASRock X299M Extreme4 BIOS and Overclocking
ASRock X299M Extreme4 UEFI BIOS Update
ASRock X299M Extreme4 overclocking
ASRock X299M Extreme4 memory settings
ASRock X299M Extreme4 voltage settings
ASRock X299M Extreme4 Overclock even easier
ASRock X299M Extreme4 BIOS undervolting
ASRock X299M Extreme4 Fan control

BIOS and overclocking …

Let us continue with the BIOS / UEFI Setup options and the UEFI overclocking. After switching on the PC, press the Del or F2 key to access the UEFI setup.

The ASRock X299M Extreme4 UEFI has a graphical interface that allows intuitive operation with the mouse or can still be operated conventionally with a keyboard.

As usual at the latest ASRock motherboards, there is the ASRock EZ Mode – Easy Mode – which offers a clear input page with a lot of important information and still does not seem overloaded. It has Basic information such as time, date, CPU temperature, mainboard temperature, CPU voltage, first details about hardware, fan speed, hard disk configuration, RAID mode and fan settings with one click.

In addition, a few applications have been combined in one tools page.

Of course you can also use the EZ menu to set the time and date again.

Many functions can be controlled with the following shortcuts or F-keys.

With the F6 key or the upper right button you get to the usual ASRock Advanced Mode, which you can also set as default. Overclocker will probably start with Advanced Mode or directly with the Tweaker or Favorite menu anyway, but later more about that.

The System Browser view at the ASRock X299M Extreme4 motherboard (yet?) can’t be found, but you will find the Full HD UEFI selection and the Active Page on Entry selection, where you can decide on which UEFI page you want to start in the UEFI setup. This is especially helpful for overclocking, as you often have to go to the second OC-Tweaker menu to find the optimal OC settings. On the ASRock X299M Extreme4 you will find the Active Page on Entry option and the Full HD UEFI selection in Advanced.

UEFI BIOS Update …

Before we start with UEFI overclocking, we update the UEFI BIOS to the latest version. Since ASRock regularly integrates new functions, better memory support and new processors, the BIOS update is recommended in most cases. For flashing the UEFI update ASRock offers several possibilities, e.g. the very simple Instant Flash or even the ASRock Internet Flash with a direct connection to the Internet. Via the so-called ASRock Instant Flash Option in the Tool Screen or via the F6 key when starting the PC you can access the ASRock Instant Flash Utility. You can simply install a previously downloaded ASRock BIOS without boot CD or similar by starting the ASRock Instant Flash Utility. Then select the BIOS Flash ROM from the desired drive, e.g. from a USB stick, which you have to unpack after downloading.

At the time of testing the UEFI BIOS version P1.10 was available as the latest download, which we installed immediately.

After a reboot the new BIOS version is available.

The My Favorite function is very helpful because it allows you to place frequently used menu items here, so that you can see them easily on a page and access them faster. You start with a blank page – by the way, it will be emptied after a BIOS update.

The My Favorite page can now be filled with your own menu items by simply going to the respective menu item, then pressing F5 and the desired functions are already included in the My Favorite overview page. Here you can see a selection of possible favorites.

On the Tools page is the RGB LED entry.

The ASRock RGB LED menu has numerous setting options. So you can select the color in an RGB color selector.

You can choose whether you want to control the RGB header separately or together with the RGB lighting under the chipset cooler.

And in the ASRock RGB LED menu you can set whether the LEDs should light up continuously, should “breathe”, should be controlled randomly or even to music. This gives the user numerous options for how and how fast the LED stripes or the chipset cooler should light up. And if you don’t need it, you can deactivate it completely.

If you need technical UEFI support, you can even contact the ASRock Tech Service via the UEFI setup via network connection.

Although the ASRock X299M does not offer an Easy Driver Installer option (yet?), ASRock makes the RAID driver installation very easy for the user by offering with the Easy RAID Installer the easy way to download the current RAID drivers.

ASRock X299M Extreme4 Overclocking …

Now let’s get to Intel LGA 2066 overclocking with the X299 chipset on the ASRock X299M Extreme4 motherboard. ASRock divides the OC-Tweaker menu into CPU Configuration, DRAM Configuration, Voltage and FIVR Configuration.

Let’s start in OC-Tweaker at the top – as soon as you change the overclock mode from Auto to All Core, for example, you can change the multi of the Intel Core i9 CPU. Intel Skylake-X processors have an unlocked multiplier, so you can easily increase the desired CPU frequency. With the Intel Core i9-7900X CPU (standard clock 3300 MHz at a CPU ratio of 33x) the ASRock X299M Extreme4 motherboard has offered a multiplier range of 7x to 80x.

There is also a CPU Mesh Max and Min multiplier for the new Intel Skylake-SP Mesh architecture (formerly Ringbus) available.

But there are many more OC options for Skylake-X CPU overclocking. An extra Hyper BCLK Engine II clock generator, like seen at the ASRock X299 Taichi ATX motherboard was unfortunately not integrated, so the BCLK/PCIE frequency cannot be set separately.

How easy the overclocking is, we tried with the Intel Core i9-7900X CPU and as reported in Intel OC Forum under Intel Core i9-7900X Micro ATX OC, from 3.3 GHz to 5.1 GHz. Not prime stable, but still 900 MHz higher than the OC result of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X CPU! Here you can see the confirmed CPU-Z tool with 5099.18 MHz at 1.46 Volt. With some precision work and a water cooling system, much more is certainly possible.

ASRock X299M Extreme4 RAM settings …

The DRAM Configuration Menu contains all important memory settings.

Thanks to Load XMP Setting support, XMP memory modules can be set up correctly with just one mouse click in the UEFI BIOS.

Alternatively, you can select the values yourself. With the DDR4 memory clocking you can e.g. set values of DDR4-1200 …

… up to DDR4-4400.

All DDR4 timings can also be adjusted manually.

The ASRock X299M Extreme4 also offers a DRAM tweaker menu with all SPD and XMP memory values for direct selection.

ASRock X299M Extreme4 voltage settings …

Now we come to the voltage settings that can be adjusted in the UEFI. The X299 divides the voltage settings into FIVR and Voltage Configuration.

For the CPU Input Voltage you can set the value as Offset or Fixed Mode.

Furthermore, the X299 motherboard has numerous voltage settings such as 1.0V PCH Voltage, VCCIO Voltage, VCCSA Voltage, CPU Input Voltage, CPU Load Line Calibration and some more, with which you can overclock the Intel Skylake-X CPU very well. By the way, the DDR4 voltage can be increased from 1.000 to 1.800V in the voltage menu divided into AB/CD and there are still VTTAM AB/CD and VPPM AB/CD voltage settings, with which DDR4 modules can be well undervolted or overclocked.

In the FIVR Voltage menu you will find more settings.

There you can change the VCore, for example. With Fixed Mode, the Intel Core i9-7900X Test CPU can set a VCore up to 2.000V plus +/- 1.000V offset. This is too high of course, but LN2 overclocker will be happy.

ASRock X299M Extreme4 easy overclocking …

If you don’t want to study overclocking, you can try your luck with Load Optimized CPU OC Setting. There you can overclock the system performance automatically in different turbo steps – at least if the luck plays along and it is possible with the components and the CPU. Simply select the desired increase and some components will be overclocked with the Load Optimized CPU OC Setting (or optionally also GPU overclocking) to a desired value e.g. Turbo 4.2 GHz, Turbo 4.4 GHz, Turbo 4.6 GHz or Turbo 4.8 GHz, overclocking cannot be simpler!

But … actually it can be even easier, because ASRock offers with the X299M Extreme4, as mentioned on the previous page, an OC header port, which can be provided with +1, +2 or +3 multi, in order to activate it during operation in Windows or Linux by a hardware button (OC Switch). The activated Intel Performance Mode is then signalled via an OC LED on the OC header.

If you prefer to overclock in Windows, you can also use the ASRock A-Tuning Tool to adjust the voltage settings and CPU frequency listed above or, as in Intel OC tutorial explained, it can be overclocked with the Intel XTU Tool (Extreme Tuning Utility).

Here you can see some settings of the ASRock A-Tuning Tool.

Once the desired settings have been found, you can save up to five different BIOS settings with names in UEFI under OC Tweaker.

For example, you could store a balanced BIOS setting, overclocking settings and underervolting values or office and gaming settings as underervolting, balance, overclocking and gaming user profile to be able to quickly reload these values at any time.

Also interesting is the Save User UEFI Setup Profile to Disk option. Just click it to save your own UEFI settings on the hard drive or an USB stick.

BIOS Undervolting …

The downclocking or undervolting is also tested in this review. It was possible to lower the Intel Core i9-7900X CPU frequency down to approx. 700 MHz. Of course, underclocking is like overclocking outside of the manufacturers specification, so it is necessary to have some luck. ASRock gives several options for easy PC undervolting / downclocking.

However, there are many other UEFI settings to choose from, such as CPU Configuration, IIO, Chipset, Storage, Intel Thunderbolt, Super IO, ACPI and USB Configuration as well as Trusted Computing.

If you want to save power when running your PC with an Intel LGA2066 PC or use Intel Virtualization Technology to support multiple, simultaneous operating systems, you should also check the CPU Configuration Menu under Advanced.

But also the settings in Advanced Chipset Configuration with the individual speeds of the PCIe slots, etc. are interesting.

It is even possible to deactivate each USB port manually.

Fan control …

The UEFI Setup of the passive cooled X299M Extreme4 motherboard also features an extensive temperature controlled fan control. The settings for the fan controller can be found in H/W Monitor directly below the temperature and voltage display.

Here are settings for the CPU fan, chassis fans or W_Pump switch.

You have the choice between Customize, Silent, Standard, Performance and Full Speed.

In Customize Mode, several temperature steps are available to which the desired fan speed can then be assigned. The fan settings are changed immediately and can therefore be heard immediately.

ASRock has also integrated the graphical user interface for controlling the fans in the UEFI setup. The FAN-Tastic Tuning menu item can also be found in the H/W monitor and can be used for all settings. Simply select the respective fan connector on the left side and then select the mode on the right side: Silent, Standard, Performance or Full Speed.

In Customize mode, you can set all values directly in the chart and save.

For the chassis fan connectors you can even select, which source you want to use for temperature measurement – Monitor CPU or Monitor Motherboard. Then click on apply and save the values.

And even the control of the 3-pin chassis fans is possible with the DC/PWM mode switch.

Who would rather set the values in Windows, you can use also the ASRock A-Tuning tool.

You can usually get along without an expensive Fan Controller, because the fans are controlled with this fan control based on CPU or motherboard temperature.

If everything is set, simply store the settings as usual with the F10 key and confirm with Z or on an English keyboard with Y.

ASRock X299M Extreme4 energy consumption …