Articles: Mainboards

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The memory frequency is the next available setting. According to the latest fashion among the mainboard makers, you don’t use divisors, but select a frequency from the list that includes “266”, “333”, “400” and “Auto” options. The latter will probably clock the memory synchronously with the system bus, but it is hard to check this out: the mainboard doesn’t show the memory frequency during the POST.

Now, to the voltages. Vmem varies from 2.55V to 2.85V with 0.1V increment. You can also let the mainboard choose the parameter value (“Auto”). The mainboard doesn’t track this parameter, so I cannot tell exactly which voltage is sent to the memory in this case. Vagp can change from 1.5V to 1.8V with 0.1V increment or, again, can be left for the mainboard to be set it up. As for Vcore, things are more complicated with it. The range of the CPU voltage is not fixed, but depends on the processor’s nominal voltage. So, the maximum voltage you can use is 0.2V above the nominal for your processor, while the minimum equals this nominal. It is evidently done to prevent inexperienced users from frying up their processors, but overclockers will hardly appreciate this.

The next system parameter, System Performance, has two positions: “Optimal” and “Turbo”. When in the Turbo mode, the mainboard must be reducing the chipset’s timings to boost performance. However, I found that this mode brings no perceptible advantages in speed.

The next item, USB Legacy Support, allows you to boot-up from USB flash drives. I cannot claim it for sure, but Award’s BIOS didn’t have this option before and didn’t allow booting-up from a flash drive.

Now, we go to the Chip Configuration subsection.

We have memory subsystem timings and AGP settings here. The settings are flexible enough and their purpose is clear, except the four settings below. Anyway, you can just let them be. The only strange parameter here is Graphics Aperture Size, or rather its value – 32MB – which cannot be altered. This was the case with the both BIOS versions I used – 1001 and 1005, which was the newest when I was working on this review.

The I/O Device Configuration section is analogous to the Integrated Peripherals section in “ordinary” BIOS Setup programs and is responsible for enabling/disabling additional controllers and settings up LPT, COM and MIDI ports. An interesting option here is Floppy Disk Access Control that blocks the floppy disks and prohibits writing anything to them in order to protect your system against virus, which can be transported with the diskettes. 
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