Articles: Mainboards

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However, you will have to make some additional effort to locate the parameters related to processor power-saving technologies in the Asus mainboard BIOS, because for some reason they are not part of the “Ai Tweaker” section. You have to go to “Advanced” section and then navigate to “CPU Configuration” sub-section. Not the most intuitive and not the most convenient approach, but they have been keeping this layout for a while now.

“Advanced Memory Settings” sub-section on Gigabyte mainboards allows you to fine-tune the memory sub-system.

Parameters controlling numerous memory timings are all on separate pages. You can set the timings simultaneously for both memory channels or individually for each one of them.

Asus mainboards also have memory timings configuring options on an individual page, in order to unload the main screen of the “Ai Tweaker” section. The parameters are indeed very numerous, but still very easy to work with. You can see all timings that the mainboard sets for each of the two memory channels. And you can adjust only a few selected timings, such as the main ones, for example, leaving all other settings at defaults.

In the beginning of this chapter we showed you a complete screenshot of the pretty extensive “Ai Tweaker” section. Now let’s check out the rest of its functionality. The lower part of the section is dedicated to voltages. Note, that you don’t need to go over to the “Monitoring” section to check the current voltages, as they are all listed right here next to each of the parameters used for changing these voltages, which is highly convenient. The voltages may be set above or below their nominal values.

You can’t help noticing numerous options related to the power and energy-efficiency of the digital DIGI+ voltage regulator. You can configure Asus’ proprietary power-saving technologies that allow changing the number of active phases in the voltage regulator circuitry depending on the CPU utilization right in the BIOS. “CPU Load-Line Calibration” technology that prevents the CPU Vcore from dropping under heavy load may be not only enabled or disabled, but also adjusted to deliver the desired effect.

Gigabyte mainboards use “Advanced Voltage Settings” sub-section to work with different voltages. Depending on the mainboard model all the parameters in this section are grouped into three or four separate pages. The “3D Power Control” page usually contains parameters, which appeared due to the introduction of “3D Power” technology. You can set the operational mode for the processor voltage regulator, adjust the level of Vdroop counteraction under heavy load and change a lot of other options right in the BIOS. The voltages in different parts of the processor can be changed on “CPU Core Voltage Control” page. The CPU Vcore may be locked at a certain value or you may also add a certain value to the nominal setting. The voltages may be not only increased, but also reduced below the nominal, which may come in very handy sometimes. For example, you may need it if your CPU is functioning at the lower than nominal frequencies or if you are using low-voltage memory modules.

However, everything I have just said refers to other Gigabyte mainboards, because it turned out that the “Advanced Voltage Settings” sub-section in the BIOS of Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H mainboard has only one single parameter. The only option you have is to change the memory voltage.

I would like to remind you that about a decade ago and even before that it was a popular tendency to limit the BIOS functionality of the entry-level mainboards, so junior mainboard models often had very limited potential in terms of frequency and voltage adjustment. As a result, computer enthusiasts often resorted to reflashing the BIOS from the higher-end mainboards into the entry-level ones, which did help overcome these limitations in some cases, but not every time. But it always affected the mainboard stability. It was Gigabyte who decided to break this “tradition’ and began offering almost identical BIOS versions with practically the same functionality for all mainboards within the same series. Gradually, other mainboard makers also stopped limiting the functionality of their junior models. Now it seems like a normal course of things, but back in the days it was a truly revolutionary breakthrough, which won multiple new fans for Gigabyte brand, especially since Gigabyte mainboards weren’t the enthusiasts’ choice at the time. Yes, it was a great time for Gigabyte and therefore it is quite upsetting to see the company go back to the same practices, as we can see from the Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H mainboard.

The enormous “Ai Tweaker” section on Asus mainboards gives way to the section called “Advanced”. It contains numerous sub-sections with pretty self-explanatory functionality.

Gigabyte uses a completely different approach. While the “M.I.T.” section contains numerous sub-sections, the “Peripherals” section doesn’t have any nested sub-sections and therefore is quite large. It allows managing and configuring external devices and additional onboard controllers. Chipset-specific technologies like Intel Rapid Start and Intel Smart Connect are also configured here.

”Power Management” section contains a conventional set of parameters pertaining to the mainboard power supply and start-up. This functionality is very similar to the “APM” sub-section in the “Advanced” section on Asus mainboards.

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