BIOS and Overclocking
Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI mainboard was tested with the BIOS version F10, which was the latest BIOS version available at the time we were working on this article.
The BIOS of this mainboard is based on Award-Phoenix 6.00PG microcode. Gigabyte engineers, however, added a few things of their own to this code. First of all, I would like to mention the DualBIOS technology, which implies that there is a second Flash-memory chip on the board that contains the reserve BIOS code copy. If the major Flash chip content gets damaged by some viruses or as a result of some improper reflashing procedures, the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI owners can always restore it without contacting the technical support.
The utility intended for work with DualBIOS technology built into the mainboard BIOS is quite convenient and functional. It allows to manage the contents of both Flash-memory chips and to reflash the BIOS from a floppy disk if necessary.
The second innovation introduced by the BIOS developers is the transfer of some system settings into some “hidden” section, which can be accessed by pressing the Ctrl + F1 combination. One of the most important functions that also got into this hidden section is the Command Rate control. At first sight, it may seem no big deal, but you should keep in mind that by default the mainboard sets this parameter to 2T, that may result into a certain performance decrease. In other words, when you are setting the system parameters for the first time, you should make sure that you access the hidden section of the BIOS and set the Command Rate the right way.
However, as our practical tests showed, there was a good reason why Gigabyte engineers hid the Command Rate setting so far away. When this parameter is set to 1T, the mainboard loses its impeccable stability. In the nominal work mode it is not that noticeable, however, when you do overclocking with the Command Rate set to 1T, the mainboard starts running much less stable than the analogous solutions out there, so that we cannot reach the maximum memory subsystem performance.
The third peculiarity of the BIOS Setup of Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI mainboard is the Top Performance option in the main menu. If you set it to Enabled, the clock generator frequency will be increased by 5MHz over the nominal value. In other words, this is a hidden overclocking trick.