How Smart is "Smart" Overclocking?

@ 2004/08/11
On the surface, relationships between various motherboard vendors are usually kept above-board and cordial. While there’s no love lost between the various companies, there’s a certain degree of civility that keeps the wheels of diplomacy greased and situations (mostly) polite.
That’s why it was actually a bit surprising last week to receive an email from Gigabyte that point-blank accused ASUS of cheating. In a world where benchmarks don’t “favor” companies, they “optimize” for them, cheating is a very loaded word. It actually implies something BAD is going on, as opposed to all that “good, healthy, optimization” that we all know and love.

The accusation centers around a BIOS option in the 925 / 915 ASUS boards called PCI Express Graphics Link Mode. (PEG Link Mode for short.) Gigabyte claims that the ASUS 925X / 915P series motherboard, as compared to other motherboard makers, scores significantly better results on certain 3D graphics performance tests,… This setting [PEG Link Mode] clandestinely overclocks the frequency of Memory and Core Engines of ATi based PCI-Express graphics.

ASUS, as you might expect, was less-than-thrilled with Gigabyte’s accusation, and fired back a PR barrage of its own, claiming that “PEG (PCI Express Graphics) Link Mode, is a unique feature that enables users to boost graphics card performance for superior video quality.”

So which is it? Feature or cheat? Lets take a look and let you decide.

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