Gigabyte GA-EX38-DQ6 ReviewPropane - April 10, 2008
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One thing that can really make or break a board, no matter how good its specs are, is the BIOS. If you plan on overclocking your board much at all, you will be in and out of the BIOS all the time and you will want it to be easy to use and powerful. Gigabyte chose to use an Award BIOS and included a feature called M.I.T. which stands for Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker. The M.I.T. will allow you to do pretty much whatever you want to the voltages and clock speeds in your system and will be covered in depth soon. Very detailed instructions on this BIOS are included with the manual, but I will give a brief overview of all the features here. If you have further questions about the BIOS, you should consult the included booklet.
Standard CMOS Features:
The first option when you enter the BIOS is also one of the most basic. Here you can set the time, a few boot options, and hard drives. While drive detection is automatic, if you have a need to manually set up a hard drive, you have that option.
Advanced BIOS Features:
The advanced BIOS features allow you to set up boot disk priority, which is very useful when you want to reinstall your OS and need to boot up from your optical drive instead of your hard drive. Also, you can set up the S.M.A.R.T. settings for your hard drive and what is displayed when you first turn on your computer.
In this section, you can control a lot of the board's hardware functionality. You can turn on and off things like USB, onboard LAN, Firewire, and set up LAN boot. This can be done for several reasons, such as to free up some system resources (although small amounts) and can allow older hardware work with your DQ6.
Power Management Setup:
In this area of the BIOS, you can do some pretty cool things. For instance, you can make your computer turn on every day at a certain time, make it so all you have to do is press a key on the keyboard to turn on your computer, or a multitude of other things. You might think that this is where all that power saving comes into play that was so heavily advertised on the box; however, all that is done in software which we will look at later.
Now for the tab that is probably the most uninteresting. Here there are just two settings that control how the PCI hardware interacts with the motherboard. You really won't be needing to poke around in here unless you have some specific situation involving compatibility.
PC Health Status:
In here you can find a lot of information about how your computer is running in regard to heat. When you go into this set of settings, you are presented with actual voltages for the different rails and operating temperatures. Also, if your fans have an RPM reporting feature, this will let you know their speed. You can set up warnings here to let you know if your CPU passes a certain temperature or if any of your fans start to fail. As a bonus, the alarm system can be exploited if you want to bug your friends.
Load Fail-Safe Defaults & Load Optimized Defaults:
These two features are a nice thing to have included with any BIOS. If you happen to mess up something and can't remember where you went wrong, loading the fail safe defaults will likely get you back up and running, even though some of the features might not be available. The optimized defaults are there so when you flash your BIOS you can be confident that nothing will go wrong.
Also included is a Q-Flash utility which allows you to flash the BIOS without using a Windows program to eliminate as many failure points as possible. This is just in place so that you don't mess up your computer.