Articles: Mainboards

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You can enter the abit AW9D-MAX mainboard BIOS Setup by pressing the Del key on system start-up. The BIOS is based on Award code and looks almost exactly like the BIOS on other ASUS mainboards, only the color scheme is different. Now the main color is block, not blue.

The main page is pretty clear, I guess, nothing to discuss. The only thing I would like to mention is that by pressing the F6 key you can save the current settings, and then you can load the saved settings easily by hitting F7. The user can save up to 5 different settings sets for different usage modes.

uGuru Utility section contains a lot of options that would be particularly interesting for us. When you click on the title you first get onto the OC Guru page where you can adjust the processor clock speed, memory frequency and voltages.

The first two lines are informational, they display the model name and current working frequency of your CPU. The next line – CPU Operating Speed allows to select default settings or manual configuration. If we give up automatic configuration we acquire access to External Clock parameter, which would change the FSB speed. For Core 2 Duo E6300 processor the available frequency interval ranges from 133MHz to 600MHz with 1MHz increment. And it is very convenient that you can simply enter the desired value using the numeric keyboard.

Note that the nominal FSB frequency is 4MHz higher not only on the photo from the BIOS screen but also in the user’s guide: it is another peculiarity of all abit mainboards. Of course, any memory and any CPU should be able to handle this small overclocking, and although you will hardly be able to notice any practical performance improvement, the side-by-side comparison of several mainboards running at their default settings will allow abit solution to be a little faster. Pretty simple and not quite fair, but at the same time very efficient way of getting ahead of the competitors.

Multiplier Factor parameter allows changing the processor clock frequency multiplier. In our case it could be reduced to 6x. And there is a special line called Estimated New CPU Clock that will display the resulting processor frequency once the clock multiplier and the FSB speed have been adjusted.

It is great that the identical information line is also available for the system memory: Estimated New DRAM Clock, because the memory frequency on abit AW9D-MAX can be changed using two adjustable parameters. N/B Strap CPU As selects the processor type depending on the nominal bus frequency: 133 (533), 200 (800) or 266 (1066) MHz. The available set of dividers between the FSB and memory changes depending on this setting. The second parameter - DRAM Spec. (CPU:DRAM) – allows selecting the proper ratio. The minimal divider is 1:1, all other dividers are increasing.

abit AW9D-MAX mainboard has unusually few parameters for voltage management. However, all the settings required for successful CPU overclocking are there, can be adjusted within pretty wide intervals with very small increments:

  • CPU Core Voltage can be raised by up to 0.4V with 0.025V increment;
  • DDR2 SDRAM Voltage can be changed from 1.75V to 2.65V with 0.05V increments;
  • MCH & PCIe 1.5V Voltage can raise the chipset North Bridge voltage to 2.0V with 0.01V increments.

The last parameter on that page, Power Cycle Statistics, opens a submenu where we can monitor the system operation time, the number of system resets and reboots. This is a purely informational section, so let’s not dwell here for long.

ABIT EQ is something like the PC Health Status section, which we have seen by many other mainboards. However, in this case it is designed and implemented in a much more advanced way. However, before we talk more about it let me draw your attention to one parameter that may not strike you as essential at first glance and that you may not have seen before. It is LED Effect Control.

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