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BIOS Setup

Comparing the BIOS of the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5 (rev. 2.0) to the BIOSes of Gigabyte’s early LGA1366 mainboards, we can see some obvious changes even though these differences are not as numerous as from the newer models based on Intel’s P55, H55 and H57 Express chipsets. The MB Intelligent Tweaker section is now divided into multiple subsections. It is handy that this section, which is the one you need to overclock or fine-tune your system, goes first. By the way, you should press Ctrl+F1 in the main BIOS screen to access all BIOS options of your Gigabyte mainboard.

The first MB Intelligent Tweaker screen opens the list of subsections and reports some basic system information.

We’d prefer the older design of the MB Intelligent Tweaker section which represented the numerous parameters as one long list. On the other hand, the division into subsections may be handy, too. For example, if you just need to adjust system voltages, you can go right into the appropriate section rather than to browse through multiple screens looking for them in a long list.

So, first goes an informational subsection called M.I.T. Current Status where you can view the current system parameters.

The Advanced Frequency Settings include clock rates and multipliers. A few informational parameters help you be aware of the results of your changes.

CPU-related settings can be found in the Advanced CPU Core Features page.

The Advanced Memory Settings allow you to fine-tune your memory subsystem.

There are individual pages for the numerous memory timings. You can adjust the timings individually for each of the three memory channels or for all of them simultaneously.

The Advanced Voltage Settings are for controlling system voltages. You can enable a two-step technology that counteracts the CPU voltage drop under load. The option is called Load-Line Calibration. Level 1 will increase the voltage a little while Level 2 will increase it more. The CPU voltage can be fixed at a desired level or increased above the default value. In the latter case the mainboard will be able to use the power-saving technologies implemented in Intel’s CPUs when you increase the voltage while overclocking: not only the frequency multiplier, but also the voltage of the CPU will be lowered in idle mode. By the way, the voltages can be not only increased but also decreased below the default values, which may be useful in some situations.

If you prefer to leave the voltages at Auto, the mainboard will automatically increase them at overclocking, sometimes even too much. To avoid that, you can select Normal instead of Auto to leave the voltages at their defaults or specify the desired values explicitly. You can enter a number directly from your keyboard and the mainboard will automatically adjust it to the closest value possible, depending on the adjustment step of the particular parameter. Dangerously high values are highlighted in a different color. Default values are indicated for all the parameters.

Skipping over the Standard CMOS Features which contain a long list of storage devices you can connect to the mainboard, we move on right to the Advanced BIOS Features.

The numerous parameters of the Integrated Peripherals section allow managing the onboard controllers.

Here is the Power Management Setup screen:

The PC Health Status lacks some important voltages, e.g. the voltage of the integrated memory controller (QIP/VTT Voltage). It would be handy if there were an option to specify the speed of the CPU fan manually. Instead, Gigabyte’s mainboards can manage 3-pin fans whereas nearly all other mainboards for Intel CPUs have lost this capability.

In the main BIOS screen you can use some functional keys to access extra features. For example, pressing F8 will evoke the integrated BIOS update tool called Q-Flash Utility.

Pressing F9 reveals system information.

You can also press F11 to save up to eight profiles with full BIOS settings. Each profile can be given a descriptive name. A warning message is shown if you try to rewrite an existing profile. To load a profile, you should open a menu by pressing F12. Besides manually saved BIOS profiles, the mainboard automatically remembers configurations which successfully passed the POST procedure and you can restore them, too. You can work with the profiles not only in the mainboard’s internal memory but also using external storage devices.

The following table summarizes the key BIOS capabilities of the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5 (rev. 2.0), showing the ranges and adjustment steps of the available parameters.

 
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