BIOS and Overclocking …
Get fast to the right UEFI settings …
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend BIOS and Overclocking
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend UEFI BIOS Update
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend overclocking
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend memory settings
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend voltage settings
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend Overclock even easier
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend BIOS undervolting
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend 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 Z490 Steel Legend UEFI BIOS has a graphical interface that allows intuitive operation with a mouse or can still be operated conventionally with a keyboard.
There is, as usual with the latest ASRock Intel motherboards, the ASRock EZ Mode – thus Easy Mode – which offers a clear entry page with many important information and still doesn’t look overloaded. To the basic information like time, date, CPU temperature, motherboard temperature, CPU voltage, first details about the hardware, fan speeds, hard disk population, RAID mode and fan settings with one click. New in the ASRock Z490 Steel Legend is also the CPU temperature display as diagram.
Many other functions can be operated optionally by means of function keys, which can be called up with F1. For example, if you want to publish a screenshot in our PC Forum, you can save it on a USB stick with F12.
The System Browser view is no longer available on the ASRock Z490 Steel Legend motherboard, but you will find again the Full HD UEFI selection and the Active Page on Entry selection, with which you can decide on which UEFI page you want to start in the UEFI setup. With the ASRock Z490 Steel Legend you find the Active Page on Entry option and the Full HD UEFI selection under 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.
The My Favorite function is very helpful, because you can store frequently used menu items here, so that you can easily see them on a page and access them more quickly. You start with an empty page – by the way, it is unfortunately also emptied after a BIOS update.
The My Favorite page is now 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 favourites.
On the tools page of this ASRock Z490 Steel Legend motherboard is the ASRock Polychrome RGB LED entry, which is almost identical to the ASRock Polychrome RGB software, which we already mentioned on the previous page.
And you can set in the Polychrome RGB LED menu whether the LEDs should shine continuously, “breathe”, be controlled randomly or even to music. So the user has numerous possibilities how and how fast the LED stripes should light up. And if you don’t need the lighting, you can of course disable it completely.
Although ASRock does not offer the Easy Driver Installer option for the B460 motherboard, ASRock makes the RAID driver installation very easy for the user by offering the Easy RAID Installer as an easy way to download the latest RAID drivers.
The handy SSD Secure Erase BIOS tool, which we first saw since the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 9 motherboard, is also integrated.
Simply select the desired SSD and it will be deleted quickly and safely – for example, for secure deletion prior to SSD sale or in case of serious partitioning problems. Great thing, but use with care!
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend Overclocking …
Now we come to the Intel LGA 1200 overclocking with the Z490 chipset on the ASRock Z490 Steel Legend motherboard. ASRock separates the OC-Tweaker menu of the ASRock Z490 Steel Legend into CPU Configuration, DRAM Configuration and Voltage Configuration.
A look into the OC-Tweaker menu is much more pleasant than with the previously tested ASRock H470 Steel Legend motherboard or even with the ASRock B460 Steel Legend motherboard. Because with the Z490 you can finally overclock properly again compared to the B460 or H470! So if you use an Intel “K” CPU with open multiplier, you get all important settings for the multiplier and the BCLK.
So an Intel Core i9-10900K CPU could be perfectly overclocked with this Intel Z490 motherboard. But even the Intel Core i5-10500 CPU with locked multi we could overclock a bit. If we discover possibilities to unlock the Multi in the future, we will publish them as usual in the Intel OC Forum or directly with an OC guide in the PC Workshop. Until then we have to be satisfied with the BCLK overclocking for locked CPUs, which of course overclocks all other components as well. Here you can see the confirmed CPU-Z Tool with 4313.82 MHz at 102.71 MHz BCLK.
ASRock BFB – Base Frequency Boost …
On the OC Tweaker entry page there is also the so called Base Frequency Boost option, which allows you to overclock even a CPU with locked multiplier. You don’t get overclocking by multiplier, but you can control the powerlimit. Normally the Core i5-10500 CPU is given with a powerlimit of 65 Watt by Intel. That means, if the turbo clock frequency needs more than 65W powerlimit over a certain time, this is prevented by Intel with the Power Limit Throttling. We have already explained Intel Turbo Boost Short Power Max, Turbo Boost Power Max, Turbo Boost Power Time Window, Primary Plane Current Limit, Short Duration Power Limit, Long Duration Power Limit and similar power limits several times in our OC manuals, because higher power limits play an important role in overclocking. Especially when it comes to maintaining higher clock rates over a longer period of time. With the Base Frequency Boost option in the OC Tweaker UEFI, ASRock now allows to raise this limit to keep the turbo clock frequency beyond the 65W power limit, more precisely to 125W. Of course it is very helpful that ASRock has improved the VRMs of this Z490 Steel Legend in contrast to the B460 Steel Legend.
We have done extensive tests with the ASRock Base Frequency Boost Option with Intel Z490, Intel H470 and Intel B460 in comparison and will shortly go into more detail about the overclocking possibilities and results, how much this kind of BFB overclocking brings with a locked Intel Core i5-10600 CPU, or similar.
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend memory settings …
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend voltage settings …
Now we come to the different voltage values that can be set in the BIOS. The ASRock Z490 Steel Legend motherboard provides under Voltage Configuration much more voltage settings than its B460 counterpart …
… and in OC mode much higher voltages than the H470 counterpart. It has e.g. the PCH Voltage, VCCSA Voltage, VCCIO Voltage, GT Voltage, and the DDR4 voltage can also be set in the Voltage menu, as we have already shown in the technical details on the second test page. Luckily you can set the CPU Core/Cache Voltage to Offset and Fixed Mode again. On the Intel Core i5-10500 test CPU the Fixed Mode could be set from 0.800 Volt to 2.200 Volt and the Vcore Offset from -0.100V to +0.300V.
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend even easier overclocking …
For example, you could store undervolting values, balanced BIOS settings, office or gaming settings as undervolting, balance and gaming user profile to be able to quickly reload these values at any time.
BIOS Undervolting …
The underclocking was also checked again in this test. The Intel Core i5-10500 CPU could not be underclocked. But it is possible to lower the voltage and thus further reduce the power consumption. Underclocking with low CPU voltage is of course as well as overclocking outside the specification, so that a little bit of luck is always necessary. But ASRock at least provides the basis for an easy undervolting. Here you can see the confirmed CPU-Z Tool with 799.61 MHz at 0.832V CPU voltage.
There are many more UEFI settings to choose from: CPU Configuration, Chipset Configuration, Storage Configuration, Intel Thunderbolt, Super IO Configuration, ACPI Configuration, USB Configuration and Trusted Computing.
If you want to save power when using a PC with an Intel LGA1200 PC or if you use Intel Virtualization Technology to support multiple, simultaneous operating systems, you should also check the CPU Configuration menu under Advanced.
Fan control …
The UEFI Setup of the passive cooled H470 Steel Legend 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.
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.
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. A new feature of ASRock is that all changes made are shown to the user before saving them – very useful!
ASRock Z490 Steel Legend energy consumption …