ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO and M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 Motherboards Review

by Mike D.     |     December 8, 2009

AMD Deneb Core Unlocking

AMD didn’t just stop at making unlocked multipliers available to enthusiasts in their “Black Edition” processors, but also “accidentally” – please note the quotations there – allowed the disabled cores of the X3 and X2 Phenom II processors to be enabled using a special combination of BIOS settings. Having the ability to unlock the disabled cores can drastically increase the CPU power on-tap; potentially much more so than overclocking alone.

Unlocking a Phenom II X2 or X3 processor requires three things: An unlockable CPU, disabled cores that can operate with stability and last but not least, a motherboard and BIOS that supports it. We should definitely note up front that core unlocking is luck-of-the-draw. Not all Phenom II X2 and X3 CPUs can be unlocked as various steppings produced at varying times will have varying results. Just like getting a CPU that overclocks well, finding an unlockable one is luck of the draw.

One thing that is very controllable however is selecting a motherboard that allows core unlocking. Thankfully, most enthusiast grade – and quite a few value offerings – include support for this undocumented feature. Some support this right out of the box, and others may require a BIOS flash to work.

We just so happen to have an “unlockable” Phenom II X2 550 in our possession with the popular 0922APMW stepping code. Not only has this processor tested to be a very decent overclocker, but also fully stable with all four cores unlocked. We’ll be putting the two ASUS EVO boards through their paces to see just how they fair with our 550 sample.

Unlocking Deneb core CPUs is extremely easy on both the “M” and “V” models. Simply turn “ACC” to “Auto” and then enable one of the “Unleashing modes”. As an added benefit, buyers can enable three cores instead of four. So even if a full unlock is not possible due to a bad core, there is still the possibility of unlocking to an X3! And not only can you turn your X2 550 into a triple core, but you can even decide which cores to turn on. This is definitely a great feature.

We experienced no oddities of any sort. The unlocked quad was solid as a rock.

And as if that wasn’t enough, we gave our “new” quad a run for it’s money on the M4A785TD-V EVO and ended up with a 3919MHz clock. Not too shabby!

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