We described the BIOS functionality of Intel mainboards in our earlier reviews, and the BIOS of the Intel DX58SO2 is overall the same. Therefore we will but briefly glance over its features, starting from the Main section. This mainboard belongs to the Extreme Series, so its BIOS interface background is black just like its PCB.
Here is the Configuration section. Besides controlling the speed of the CPU fan, the mainboard can lower the speed or even halt altogether the other three fans you can connect to it. Every fan connector is a 4-pin one, but the mainboard can adjust the speed of 3-pin fans, too, even though without flexible setup options.
The Performance section is where you can change the base clock rate and check out any other changes in voltages, multipliers and frequencies compared to the current and default operation modes.
It is this section you are going to use the most if you are setting your system up or overclocking it, but ironically enough, this section is the best illustration of how inconvenient Intel’s BIOS interface is. First of all, before you get to see this section with all of its settings, you will have to agree to a number of warnings telling you how dangerous it is to change the settings manually. The main screen is only for changing the base clock rate; the rest of the parameters are set up in the multiple subsections.
There are some inconveniences in those subsections, too. For example, the memory settings are all specified either automatically or manually. If you want to change the memory frequency or voltage, you have to manually set up all of the memory timings as well.
Besides, the mainboard does not allow entering a value directly as a number. You have to browse the list of possible values using the “+” and “-“ keys. To change a parameter, you have to move the cursor to it with the arrow keys and then confirm your intentions by pressing Enter. This BIOS section doesn’t contain all of the overclocking settings, by the way. Some important CPU-related options can be found in the Power section. So, this is a truly enthusiast-targeted mainboard because you must have a lot of enthusiasm and patience to put up with the numerous limitations and inconveniences.
Here’s the Security section:
And here’s the Power section:
In the Boot section, besides the traditionally detailed boot-up options, we can see a new HyperBoot menu which helps speed up the boot-up process by skipping such things as RAID configuring, USB device polling, and the startup image. It must be noted that the mainboard starts up rather quickly even without those optimizations.
The Exit section allows saving one user-defined profile with the BIOS settings.
Summing up this section of our review, we must say that the BIOS is one of Intel mainboards’ weak spots. Although it formally has all the options necessary for setting up and overclocking the system, it has a very unfriendly interface in which key parameters are scattered around different sections and you have to take a lot of extra steps that you don’t normally do with other mainboards. Besides, one user-defined profile with BIOS settings is obviously not enough.