MSI P7N Diamond Reviewccokeman - May 18, 2008
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The motherboard's BIOS is where all of the basic functionality of the installed hardware is set up, and is also where the overclocking magic happens. A good BIOS can help a mediocre board perform extremely well, while the opposite is also true - a bad BIOS can handicap a great motherboard. We'll take a brief look at each page in the BIOS to see what the MSI AMI BIOS has to offer; the "Cell Menu" will be covered in more detail, as it's where the magic happens in this BIOS.
Standard CMOS Features:
Under this tab, the date, time, and basic information about the installed drives - optical, hard, and floppy can be seen. Under System Information, basic info about the installed CPU and RAM is available.
Advanced BIOS Features:
This tab features a few different sub menus to control the CPU features such as C1E and Execute Bit support. The boot order is configured here, as well as settings for the boot logo and which graphics bus (PCI-E or PCI) you want to initialize first. If you're using a PCI-E video card, then PCI-E would be the logical choice.
As the name of this tab implies, this is where all of the on-board devices are configured; enabling and disabling on-board devices is done in this menu and its sub-menus. USB, FireWire, Ethernet adapters, RAID configuration and more are set up here.
Power Management Setup:
This tab allows you to set up ACPI and other power-related functions.
Under this tab you, can check the voltages set in the Cell Menu; temperature monitoring, fan speed, and power efficiency can be monitored as well.
BIOS Password Setup and User Settings:
This is where you would configure the BIOS to request a password before its settings could be changed - although if you don't set up a password, no harm will come to you. Also, this page allows you to store an alternate BIOS configuration - so whether you'd like backup BIOS protection in the event of a disastrous overclock, or a handy, pre-configured overclocked BIOS ready at the flick of a switch, you're covered.
Next, we'll move on to the Cell Menu to get a feel of the P7N Diamond's overclocking functions.