Articles: Mainboards

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BIOS Setup

You can update the BIOS on Intel DX58SO mainboard in several different ways. You can use a floppy (if you have a USB floppy drive), CD disk, USB drive or just launch a special executable file with the BIOS image and updating utility right from Windows. The latter method is the most popular one, because it requires minimum effort and experience from the user. There appeared one more way recently: reflashing tool integrated into the BIOS that can be launched on mainboard boot-up by pressing F7 key. The utility sees the partitions on all connected hard drives even if they have been formatted in NTFS, USB drives and optical drives. Just select the BIOS image on one of the media to complete the BIOS update. In this part of our article we are going to refer to the latest BIOS version available at the time of tests – BIOS 4014 from 05.07.2009.

When we talked about unusual PCB design of Intel DX58SO mainboard, we tried to avoid any sharp evaluations. Yes, there are drawbacks, but they are not critical, they may even be regarded as advantages at some point. Fewer memory DIMM slots are not a good thing. However, it did shorten the signal lines, so we could hope for higher system stability or even higher memory overclocking results. During our tests we use a pretty unique processor cooler – Cooler Master GeminII. Theoretically, longer heatsink wing should spread to the right over the memory modules thus delivering additional cooling to them. However, our Kingston HyperX DDR3-1866 KHX14900D3T1K3/3GX modules are equipped with very tall heat-spreaders, so we have to position the cooler with the longer side facing down, where it will be cooling the chipset North Bridge heatsink instead of the memory modules. This time we could easily install the cooler in a standard way. Even the location of the ATX12V processor power supply connector that will be pretty inconvenient for most users out there, can still please the owners of system cases with the power supply at the bottom of the case, because they will no longer need an extender cable.

As for the BIOS of Intel DX58SO mainboard, we can be more explicit here: it is not only unusual, but also very inconvenient to work with. The problem is that all meaningful parameters are spread out over different sections and numerous sub-menus, so you have to do a lot of extra surfing in order to make all the necessary changes and adjustments. Sometimes we can’t even get the logics behind the placement of certain parameters in specific sections. For example, why did they include the options for changing the number of active processor cores and enabling/disabling Intel Hyper-Threading technology into the very first section called “Main”? Wouldn’t it have been better to keep them in the “CPU Features” section together with all other CPU-related settings? The problem is that there is no section like that at all in the BIOS of Intel DX58SO mainboard.

“Advanced” section contains several sub-sections, but despite their simple and logical names, the actual contents of these sub-sections may surprise anyone who has never dealt with Intel mainboards before.

For example, the very first sub-section is called “Boot Configuration”. Instead of the preferred order of boot-up devices, we see parameters for fan rotation speed management.

During the boot-up procedure the board displays a picture that can be replaced but cannot be disabled altogether. In the “Boot Configuration” sub-section you can enable a number of reminders that will be displayed in the startup window, such as: press F2 (not Del) to access the BIOS, press F7 to update the BIOS, press F10 to load the menu where you could change the order of boot-up devices, press F12 to boot via network. There are POST codes displayed in the lower right corner.

The next sub-section of the “Advanced” section that is of interest to us is called “Hardware Monitoring”. This sub-section can’t boast very rich functionality; there are only informational parameters there: no adjustable settings. Among the advantages I could only point out temperature monitoring in four spots. Besides system and CPU temperature that any mainboard can monitor, Intel DX58SO also reports the temperature of the chipset North Bridge and processor voltage regulator circuitry.

At first, as usual, the “Performance” section tries to scare us away by enlisting five different dangers awaiting us inside.

However, if you are brave enough to respond “Yes” instead of the suggested “No”, there won’t be anything scary there: only two parameters and three sub-sections, while everything else is simply the info about the nominal, expected and current system settings.

All information there is correct except for the processor clock frequency multiplier. On the previous screenshot the board for some reason decided that the multiplier will be 26 after system reboot, which is simply impossible for Intel Core i7-920 processor, which nominal clock multiplier is 20 and can only increase to 22 maximum due to Intel Turbo Boost technology.

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