MSI Big Bang XPOWER Reviewccokeman - July 8, 2010
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The BIOS is a place that many people avoid like the plague, just because of a lack of knowledge. In reality, if you take the time to learn what everything does by either reading the manual or online resources, you can tune the BIOS to gain additional performance from your system even if you choose not to overclock it. The BIOS used by MSI on the Big Bang Xpower motherboard is put together by American Megatrends (AMI) and is version 1.0B34 as delivered, with the most current version being 1.2 delivered on 6/18/2010. This BIOS is broken down into ten usable sections with several defaults that are only an option such as load setup defaults.
The first section to look at will be Standard CMOS Features.
Standard CMOS Features:
This section contains basic information that includes the time, date, and very top level system information such as the installed processor and amount of memory.
Advanced BIOS Features:
In this section you load the boot sequence for the installed drives in the system, determine if you want the logo screen to show, and modify several other options.
This section allows you to enable or disable on-board devices such as the USB, LAN, and FireWire controllers. Setting the drive controller modes is accomplished in this tab as well.
Power Management Setup:
This section sets the ACPI functionality, standby states, restore function after a power loss, setting how the computer recovers from a sleep state and how the power consumption is managed when in sleep mode through the EuP2013 setting.
This section allows you to monitor a select number of voltages and temperatures giving you a clue as to what will be available in popular monitoring utilities. Under this tab, you can set the Smart fan parameters based on temperature and fan speed when this feature is enabled, or target the fans to a specific speed when disabled. Chassis Intrusion detection is enabled or disabled here.
The Green Power section lets you configure the power saving feature for the board. This can help reduce you carbon footprint throughout the operating spectrum of the board. While not equipped with the GreenPower Genie, the Xpower can use this device to further drive power consumption down.
In this section you have the ability to set passwords and enable a USB device as a password key device through the U-Key functions.
In this section you have the ability to update and save the motherboard BIOS using a thumb drive. This should alleviate some of the concerns over BIOS flashing by following a few simple steps.
Here you can save your overclocking profiles to allow you to return back to a good solid batch of settings after a failed overclock, or if you just want to keep known good settings for when the benchmarking bug bites. Included is a handy setting that will reset the BIOS to defaults after a defined number of failed starts. I found this feature worked quite well after some aggressive overclocking.
The last options are pretty self explanatory. Load Setup Defaults, Load Optimized Defaults, Save and Exit, and Exit Without Saving. They are just what they infer. I have omitted the Cell Menu section as I feel it is large enough in its own right to talk more in depth about on the following page.