Gigabyte AMD Motherboard Roundup Reviewajmatson - September 16, 2009
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When it comes to the overclocking magic, all of it is done in a little known part of the computer called the BIOS. The BIOS, which stands for Basic Input/Output System, is a small chip on your board that tells your hardware how to act on startup, such as clock speeds, voltages, and more. Gigabyte chose to go with the Award BIOS for these boards. The Award BIOS has many features that allow you to tune and tweak your system, with easy navigation and quick save/load profiles. This BIOS also features an advanced overclocking section called the Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker, or M.I.T. for short. We will look at the M.I.T. closer in the next page of the review. To give you a look at the options available, I will break the BIOS down in sections and explain a little of what each one has to offer.
Main Screen, Standard CMOS, & Advanced BIOS:
When you first boot into the BIOS, you are presented with the main screen, which is designed to help you easily navigate the BIOS without wasting time searching for the areas you need to change. This screen also gives you quick access to saving profiles and entering Q-Flash, which I will touch on below. The Standard CMOS Features section is basically where you set the drive parameters and the BIOS time. Underneath the Standard CMOS Features is the Advanced BIOS Features section, where you have control over advanced features such as C1E Support, Cool 'n' Quiet, Boot Priority, and Display Priorities for the graphics cards.
Integrated Peripherals & Power Management:
The Integrated Peripherals Section is where you change settings for the IDE and SATA ports, such as running in RAID, or ACHI mode - which is a hot swap setting for your drives. You can also make changes to the onboard devices, such as the FireWire port, USB controllers, legacy devices, and LAN ports. In this section is Smart Backup as well, which is controlled by the SATA II feature from Gigabyte, and allows you to setup the hardware RAID and backup settings for each channel.
PC Health Status, Profiles, & Q-Flash:
Next up is the PC Health Status screen, which displays the current system voltages coming into the motherboard from the power supply, as well as the CPU VCore and DDR3 voltage. It will also show you the CPU and system temperatures, as well as the fan speeds. You can set warning levels for the temperatures and fans, which will alert you to an error or shut the system down. When you set up your BIOS you do not want to have to redo it for a bad overclock each time, so you can save profiles to load later. There are eight slots that you can save to and name whatever you desire. Last up here is Q-Flash, which is a BIOS-based utility that allows you to flash your BIOS to a newer version. When you press F8 and enter the Q-Flash utility, a menu will come up letting you update or save the BIOS from CDs or even thumb drives.
Now we move on to the second part of the BIOS, which is where the overclocking takes place.