Articles: Mainboards

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All voltages can be adjusted with variable increments. The supported intervals are the following:

  • CPU:
    • CPU Vcore: from 0.5 to 1.6V with 0.00625V increment, then up to 2.3V with 0.02V increment;
    • CPU Termination: from 1.0 to 1.7V;
    • CPU PLL: from 1.05 to 2.81V;
    • CPU Reference: from 0.46 to 1.01V.
  • MCH/ICH:
    • MCH Core: from 0.85 to 1.8V;
    • MCH Reference: from 0.5 to 1.04V;
    • MCH/DRAM Reference: from 0.53 to 1.81V;
    • ICH I/O: from 1.05 to 2.31V.
  • DRAM:
    • DRAM Voltage: from 1.45 to 3.04V;
    • DRAM Termination: from 0.435 to 1.13V;
    • Channel A Reference: from 0.255 to 1.535V;
    • Channel B Reference: from 0.255 to 1.535V.

These are very broad intervals, the maximums may amaze even experienced overclockers. As for inexperienced overclockers, they will be warned against dangerous settings with special colored highlighting: purple for very high and blinking red for dangerously high values. Very thoughtful.

We can’t say that only the very first section of the mainboard’s BIOS received all the exciting new overclocking-friendly settings. While Standard CMOS Features section remained pretty standard, the next one called Advanced BIOS Features will please you wit the selection of parameters. We only wish they had also included an option that would allow out-of-order boot up from a USB flash drive.

Integrated Peripherals section has quite a few settings, but USB keyboard and mouse support is disabled by default. Once I cleared CMOS and started installing Linux from a disk I discovered that I can’t select the installation mode. So, I had to reboot.

Well, we little by little got to the PC Health Status section that has changed dramatically since the previous generation of Gigabyte mainboards, but still needs some work done before it will fully satisfy overclockers’ needs. Remember how many voltages Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 can control? As for us, we can only control the processor and memory voltages.

The biggest disappointment is CPU Smart Fan Control parameter that is useless for those who have a CPU cooler with a three-pin connector. Gigabyte was one of the few companies whose mainboards could adjust the rotation speed of any processor fans. Now they have also lost this feature.

I have to remind you that by pressing F11 in the main BIOS menu screen you can save and by pressing F12 – load the complete settings profile. You can save up to 8 profiles, and each can be given a detailed description. After every successful POST the board saves the current settings profile, so you can always go back to the last successful configuration, even if you forgot to save it in time. Excellent work!

We have suddenly experienced some issues with Q-Flash technology. In fact, built-in BIOS reflashing tool with pseudo-graphics interface is one of indisputable advantages of all Gigabyte mainboards. Besides them, only ASUS mainboards boast a similar feature. This time, however, the comparison will be not in Gigabyte’s favor. By pressing F8 you load the utility that allows reflashing the BIOS or saving the current BIOS version.

And that’s all. And where can we check what version we are reflashing and what version we are saving? And one more thing, the board supports Dual BIOS. It turned out that only the BIOS in the primary chip will be reflashed. The backup chip will retain the old BIOS version.

WatchDog Timer technology that watches over successful POST procedure works impeccably fine on Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3. I haven’t used Clear CMOS jumper even once. Although the board would still boot with default settings after a failed start without even notifying the user about it. However, the BIOS settings will not be reset and next time you access the BIOS you will get a red warning about having over-overclocked your system. Well, it is nice to have it at least this way. Before that, they didn’t do even this, and after a while Gigabyte mainboards may finally start acting humanly and notify you about over-overclocking immediately.

However, after one failed start I noticed a message that the BIOS had been corrupted and was being restored. After that the board rebooted. I accessed the BIOS. So where do I check what version I am running? I remembered about an undocumented F9 key. By pressing this key you can display your system info including the BIOS Version.

The BIOS version on the screenshot above is F6, however, at that time I saw version F3. In other words, the mainboard restored the BIOS version on the backup chip, i.e. the version we got the board with initially and not the one that we reflashed before our test session. As far as I remember, the Q-Flash utility of Gigabyte mainboards used to be much more functional. You could choose what chip to boot from, copy the BIOS from one chip to another. How could we get this functionality back so that we wouldn’t be taken back to the old BIOS version any more?

Well, this is where we are going to end our discussion of Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3 BIOS Setup. There are quite a few great advantages, but also a couple of disappointing things. Something was definitely improved, something changed for the worse. But the most important thing is how the board is going to work and overclock. However, before we get to practical experiments, let’s check out the peculiarities of Gigabyte EasyTune utility.

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