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BIOS, Overclocking and System Monitoring

The BIOS of the Supermicro PDSGE mainboard looks not quite common. Usually there are white fonts against the blue background, and the menu items are listed in two columns. In our case, the menu items of the BIOS Setup are all listed in one line at the top of the screen, and the details behind each menu item get automatically displayed once the cursor is pointing at it. The color gamma is also not quite traditional, I should say: blue fonts against gray background. The only other mainboards that have BIOS Setup organized in the same manner are probably ASUS boards. And even though CMOS Setup looks quite unusual, the BIOS of Supermicro PDSGE mainboard is based on the pretty widely spread Phoenix Award v.6.0 PG code.

Even after a really quick look at the CMOS Setup we understand that its structure is very smart and convenient: all the settings are grouped very smartly together, most of them have corresponding informative descriptions, and the range of settings in general is very diverse. It is not for nothing that I used the word “in general” here: the list of overclocking friendly options appears to be quite scarce. Here is a screenshot that will give you a better idea of what I am talking about:

The page called Advanced/Processor & Clock Option/ offers the options for adjusting only the FSB frequency with 1MHz increment. The supported FSB frequency range depends on the nominal frequency of the CPU. The regular Pentium 4 CPU (not the Extreme Edition one) allows setting the frequency between 200MHz and 265MHz.

And the page Advanced/Advanced Chipset Control/ offers the memory controller settings, namely DRAM Timing Select: if you change this parameter from “By SPD” to “Manual”, you will be able to adjust most major memory timing settings.

  • CAS Latency Time – CL can be equal to 3, 4, 5 and 6.
  • DRAM RAS# to CAS# delay – tRCD timing can be set to any integer value from 2 to 6 inclusive.
  • DRAM RAS# Precharge – tRP timing can be set to any integer value from 2 to 6 inclusive.
  • Precharge delay (tRAS) – tRAS timing can be set to any integer value from 5 to 19 inclusive.
  • System Memory Frequency – you can manually set the memory frequency as DDR2-400, DDR-533, and DDR-667. The frequency dividers that will be selected for each setting are listed in the table below:

DDR2 Frequency

Divider FSB:DRAM

400

1:1

533

3:4

667

3:5

These are all the settings that can be adjusted to boost the system performance. For instance, you cannot change the processor Vcore on this mainboard. Therefore, we can conclude with all certainty that the Supermicro PDSGE mainboard is not intended for overclockers. The only thing we can actually check out here is how the mainboard is going to react to the increased FSB frequency. But we are going to play around with the FSB frequency a little bit later, and in the meanwhile we have to say a few words about the system monitoring tools.

We will start with the monitoring system in the mainboard BIOS. All the status reports and the corresponding settings are available in Advanced/Hardware Monitor/ page. Let me list all of them in order of appearance:

  • CPU Warning Temperature – here you can set the CPU temperature value when the system will warn you about possible overheating issue.
  • Chipset Warning Temperature – here you can set the chipset (North Bridge) temperature value when the system will warn you about possible overheating issue.
  • FAN Speed Control – If you set this parameter to “Enable”, the system will be able to speed up or slow down the fans depending on the current component temperatures.
  • The next three menu items, namely Current System Temperature, Current CPU Temperature and Current Chipset Temperature speak for themselves, I don’t think an explanation is necessary.
  • Then the system reports the fan rotation speed for all the connected fans (5 maximum).
  • The last but not the least are the voltages, including even the CMOS battery voltage.
 
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