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BIOS and Overclocking

The BIOS of the Foxconn WinFast NF4UK8AA-8EKRS, like the BIOSes of all other nForce4 Ultra-based mainboards we have reviewed, is based on the Award-Phoenix microcode. Foxconn engineers have modified the code to add some unique technologies to the mainboard’s BIOS Setup.

The first unique feature of this mainboard is SuperBoot technology. The idea behind this technology is that the mainboard doesn’t have to detect the system components at the start-up, but can use the data from an earlier detection which are stored in nonvolatile memory. The start-up times are thus greatly diminished as the mainboard immediately loads the OS, skipping over the identification of the CPU, memory, USB devices, hard disk drives and other equipment.

The second feature is the SuperRecovery utility integrated into the BIOS. It can save the BIOS Setup settings, the partition table or a backup copy of the data stored on the HDD into an area on your hard disk drive which is hidden from the OS. These data can be anytime used to restore the original.

Otherwise, the BIOS Setup of WinFast NF4UK8AA-8EKRS offers some typical settings necessary for configuring the system, setting up the parameters of the integrated devices, PCI Express bus and memory subsystem.

We are more interested in overclocking-related options, though. They are dispersed across different pages of the BIOS Setup, so you may have to spend some time searching for what you need. Here’s a full list of the functions overclockers may be interested in:

  • The frequency of the clock generator can be varied from 200 to 250MHz with 1MHz increment;
  • The frequency of the PCI Express bus can be chosen independently in 100-145MHz range with 1MHz increment;
  • You can choose the multiplier (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x) for the frequency of the HyperTransport bus (relative to the clock-generator frequency). The width of the bus can be set to 8 or 16 bits in either direction;
  • The CPU voltage can be from 1.2V to 1.8V with 0.025V increment;
  • The memory voltage can be set to 2.5, 2.6, 2.7 or 2.8V;
  • The chipset voltage can be increased from the default 1.5V to 1.6, 1.7 or 1.8V;
  • The voltage of the HyperTransport bus can be increased from the default 1.2V to 1.3, 1.4 or 1.5V.

Although the WinFast NF4UK8AA-8EKRS has advanced options for controlling the voltages, and this can be of much help at overclocking, some important overclocking functions are missing. The top frequency of the clock generator (250MHz) is ridiculously low for a mainboard on the nForce4 chipset that can clock the PCI and PCI Express buses asynchronously. Besides, this mainboard cannot change the CPU multiplier at all. So, until future BIOS updates increase the maximum frequency of the clock generator, we can’t call the WinFast NF4UK8AA-8EKRS an overclocking-friendly product.

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