Thought to make a guide for the new Maximus XII Apex to help some people have a base to work on.
Anything that is mentioned in this guide is meant to help you have a starting point.
I am not responsible for any damages you do to your hardware by overclocking, modding, (extreme) cooling it or whatever else. You are responsible for your own actions assuming you know what you are doing.
The “Come on I wanna bench my new hardware” tl;dr guide:
Step 1: LN2 jumper -> enable
Step 2: Cool down, apply your settings (4095W, LLC 6 - 8 depending on the benchmark, 200% etc) and enable RSVD1
Step 3: Auto pll term should be 1.7 and usually works but can increase it if you see cb/cbb (1.8 might give booting issues so you might want to set it after boot) SA and IO around 1.4v
Step 4: cool down to full pot (figure cb/cbb), go to OS and apply clocks and voltages
If you need to run superpi32m or anything that is affected by uCode then you got to spend time and read below..
!!!Gdrive folder that includes everything since dropbox links seem to have issues!!!: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1DjnhLFpKA_-aORnt1gKOyD7w5SXGA7gj?usp=sharing
0508 Bios (uCode and no uCode included ready to go): https://www.dropbox.com/s/lp9giyr6fct2ni6/m12a0508.rar?dl=0
0069 Bios (uCode and no uCode included and ready to go) - mini improvements and fixes: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ufntk2d4yxf88ii/ROG-MAXIMUS-XII-APEX-ASUS-0069.zip?dl=0
0062 bios - another beta bios which according to ASUS it improves dram tuning - to confirm if 2v+ needs ln2 jumper or not. No ucode version included as well: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bv0qqclcwrmmnt1/ROG-MAXIMUS-XII-APEX-ASUS-0062.zip?dl=0
0055 bios allows for 2+V without the need for ln2 mode + noucode version:
VRM tool - run exe on boot.
New tool that might help push a bit more on the cpu side / run same freq with a bit less volts (15~mv less): https://www.dropbox.com/s/hkoydak1vm0zgpb/vrm2.zip?dl=0
Mem TweakIt: https://www.dropbox.com/s/s7azeckt1f2s4yt/Mem TweakIt-V2.02.46.7z?dl=0
Ratio Tool (thanks to @elmor for the tool -> use ratio_tool_cml.exe for ratios -> patch_cml_ifnoucode.exe if using a bios without ucode to get it patched/fixed) : https://www.dropbox.com/s/7kf6wqwtyu3erqj/Tool.zip?dl=0
Ratio Tool with Vcore:
Z490 AHCI Drivers for XP: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wh306qzlgg6z6gg/xp ahci drivers test.zip?dl=0
USB drivers for Win7: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dco21mn01fez26c/z490_usb.zip?dl=0
Backup USB drivers for XP: https://mega.nz/file/KBIzxSAB#nZYWTcAC0v3wThuq0lFKUKarnv7Nh73655zFE2mJ7to
BIOS Flashback (USB port below Ethernet):
Main differences based on previous cpus/gens is that we got extra cores, better IMC and OC being a bit easier when it comes to CBB/CB (always depends on the CPU).
Now, Intel to compensate the increased heat due to the extra cores, decreased the die height and replaced that with additional copper to keep the backwards compatibility on the cooler side.
Here is a nice paint image someone at Intel made for our convenience:
Left = last gen vs Right = new gen
Believe this made a big difference on the temps as we got a 10C consuming 260W on water (R15 at 5.3G) and temps hitting 72~C. Our 180W oc’d 9900K would hit around that (leakage plays a big factor here as well - can't compare 1:1 but still).
This eventually means that you can transfer the load from the cores (substrate) to the pot much more efficiently = MHz.
Now, 2nd part of the changes is how easy it is to overclock these.
Explanation of voltages and differences vs previous gens:
Based on our previous “go-to settings” on Z390 (and prior) we would have to adjust vcore, core pll, dmi, sa, io, standby, pll term and internal pll.
Instead, on Z490 all you got to play with is vcore, sa, io and pll term.
Good to go voltages for our CPU was 1.6~ vcore, 1.4~ sa/io (similar depending imc and clocks) and 1.7-1.8v pll term.
1.7 (which is what LN2 jumper does) pll term was enough to kill any cb/cbb on our cpu.
That was for both 2d and 3d.
If you see you got an issue and 1.8v pll term isn’t enough (again - note that this might cause booting issues so you might want to use eventual voltage here), then you can give rsvd 1 switch a try and IO at 1.45+ as this is tied to the old known DMI.
There is the option to mod the mobo and solder the DMI pin which is tied to RSVD 2 but thats still work in progress. Will check back on this but not sure its needed to be honest.
VRMs are OP and could run x265 back to back with cpu fullpot and just a fan hitting them (no heatsink). Of course I can’t tell what happens if you do xyz so always be cautious
!!!Note if you wanna go LN2 mode on water for 2+v on mems!!!
Set pll term to 1.3~ as having it above 1.35 makes the sensor read high temps = over-temp messages etc.
ME Patches and performance:
Now that we touched the basics to voltages and differences vs previous generations, it's a good point to analyze another one and that's the ME patches Intel applied for the famous security holes.
With new gen, we get new patches that are tied to the bios.
These affect the performance on a lot of benchmarks (ie. spi32m) and for that we got to find a workaround.
Thankfully ASUS has figured this out already.
With MMTool you can load the .CAP bios and remove all the uCode patches.
Simply select a patch at a time, select delete patch data and hit apply.
Then save the new .cap file and flash it via bios flashback.
!It is recommended that you flash the original bios first and then the modded one via flashback.!
Personally, we keep Bios 2 for no uCode bios so we can easily switch between the two.
Removing uCode raises a new issue which is memory oc as it gets heavily limited + a couple other minor things.
Initial (training) bclock will have to be 100MHz. !In OS this is easy to adjust without issues!
If you need to train higher than 100MHz for whatever reason you can do so with OC Panel when you see 4C on the debug post.
Additionally, it will be good to set all ratios and main voltages to manual to avoid freezing issues. Consider setting internal core and ring pll’s to 0.9v in tweakers’ paradise and it is advised to avoid setting dllbwen as well.
Now, when it comes to memory oc, all you have to do is enable Legacy OC on the bottom of the memory tab and set everything as you would before.
First time it might act weird but hitting the retry will get it to work fine.
One last note, run patch_cml_ifnoucode.exe on startup to get high multipliers to work (tool.zip).
Per Core Hyperthreading:
This is super easy to understand and one of the new features that come with this gen.
You can enable/disable the HT of each core which makes it handy for some cases like 3DMark06, Vantage etc.
Well, thats one of the best parts for this gen as it will be working day 1.
Z490 compatible ISO (stock SP3 pretty much): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1od79PuR0O29mIwKNKqfCqbZAv0JCp_mJ
Firahelp for installing XP via USB same as Z170 days (thanks @elmor): https://1drv.ms/u/s!Atmpv-6qHr_6vcIGjGDDdVQjURrIcA?e=JTDLyq
Intel USB Drivers (thanks to whoever made these + @noizemaker for sharing/testing) work with XP and Win7 https://www.dropbox.com/s/dco21mn01fez26c/z490_usb.zip?dl=0
Backup USB for XP: https://mega.nz/file/KBIzxSAB#nZYWTcAC0v3wThuq0lFKUKarnv7Nh73655zFE2mJ7to
Barbonenet’s acronis image that was posted here should also work fine without issues (thanks @antome for saving people’s time ) https://community.hwbot.org/topic/192682-windows-xp-on-asus-z390-motherboards-and-others/
If you get any errors, let me know as there is a small chance that you need to install the AHCI drivers of Z490 prior to moving from older mobo (ie Z390).
Here you can find some suggestions for different scenarios.
It's some kind of direction we suggest after testing different benchmarks/cases for maximum performance. These are mostly tied to memories and you are encouraged to test your own kit(s) for best optimization.
For all these A2 memories are a must. You won’t be able to do any of these with A0/A1 kits.
Also, while we generally try to help, we believe that not everything should be plug n play.
So considering that the new gen has stronger IMC you should be having fun doing a bit of tweaking here and there instead of copy pasting settings that might not work and then seek additional assistance.
Geekbench 3 suggested approach:
Old profiles here should work much easier than before considering that the IMC on the new gen is quite stronger. For example, our go-to 9900K that could do 6.95 R15 couldn't boot above 4700C14 on air. Now, all chips we tested could boot above 4.8Ghz C14 without issues.
Interesting suggestion would be to try and tighten tWL and tCWL (if your IMC and kit allows) as a Geek memory score of almost 10k (with all cores/ht enabled) should be doable at 4.8 GHz (instead of 9.6-9.7k).
This might help in cases you cant push frequency higher with the standard settings, so this should give you a nice boost on top.
PS. you can try 14-13 over 14-14 (small increase of like 20~ points at best) or 1t over 2t (tested but need to check to confirm) but not sure these will help you much
To update with screenshots.
Superpi32m suggested approach:
We haven’t spent much time into this but a similar approach applies here - we were able to run Geek settings with 1T (even 14-13 on air) without issues and this has been faster than 4133 12-11-1t to begin with.
Can try Dancop’s preset for now and we will add stuff on the way as we proceed with testing this throughout.
To update with screenshots.
X265 4K suggested approach:
Was doing some testing for reliable performing settings on Z390 last year.
For this, the best approach is no maxmem (or about 7-8GB as this gives a small boost on stability but I think it has a very small impact on the score as the memory usage peak drops about 100~MB vs no maxmem ) overkill + x2.
Note that the X2 instances might not be the best and everything eventually depends on your findings/platform so don’t take this (or anything) for granted.
Anyhow, no maxmem + bdie = need for low volts.
This is another approach that has nothing to do with your kit doing 4933 with 2v or 2.1 or whatever. Some kits that can do almost 5G 14-14 geek at 2.09v cant pass that so keep that in mind.
Easiest way to get going is to load a geek profile, ignore RTLs and CR as these have no impact on x265 and loose timings a bit (14-14-28-240 -> 16-16-28-280 etc).
If this works at low volts (aka sub 1.7) you might avoid the maxmem need that high voltages cause and should be already way better than anything tight with 2-4gb maxmem.
Additionally, please keep in mind that you want the two instances to be as in sync as possible as eventually you have an efficiency multiplier that affects your score (or not show one at all if out of sync for like 5sec) with the best being x1 (1:1 render).
Also, might be wrong for some but Server2012 has been the best OS so far.
To update with screenshots.
Water/air user max out suggested approach:
Since X265 is as close to daily settings as doable (compared to the rest), you can start from the above and adjust timings to decrease voltages to what you consider safe.
Will provide a profile that works for us as a guideline if requested/needed.