Connection of Hard Disks. Part II

IDE HDD Auto-Detection

After you have chosen this parameter and pressed Enter, the procedure of automatic detection of the device connected to this channel will run. After its successful completion, the values for Capacity, Cylinder, Head, Sector and some other will automatically set according to detected device.

HDD is defined incorrectly or does not define at all if the jumpers were set incorrectly or the loops were connected wrongly too, if a disk or controller were damaged and also when a newer hard disk is not supported by the updated motherboard. In the later case you have to update the current version of BIOS or try to use a hard disk not at full capacity (there are special jumpers for this on some disks).

Type (IDE Primary Master)

This parameter defines the type of a device connected to this channel. There are several possible values:

  • Auto – the type of a connected device will be automatically defined on every boot;
  • Manual (User) – the parameters of connected device must be set manually; you may need it when you connect it to very update hard disks which do not support automatic identification;
  • CDROM/DVD – it is set when a device is connected to a channel for reading or/and CD or DVD recording. If there is no value, select Auto or None for such drives;
  • None – it is set if there are no connected devices on this channel. A computer will boot faster because it spends less time for detecting the missing drives;
  • LS-120, ZIP-100, MO, JAZ – they are used to connect updated devices to modern drives which are hardly used.

Connection of Hard Disks

During the last 20 years an interface IDE (ATA) was used to connect hard disks and CD/DVD-drives, and only during the last years it was changed to Serial ATA (SATA). But all motherboards have one or two connectors to connect IDE-devices together with SATA connectors. The connectors are designated as Primary IDE and Secondary IDE, and they are able to be connected with no more than two IDE-disks by using a loop: the first disk is called Master and the second is Slave. Thus, if you have two connectors, you can connect no more than four devices which would be designated as Primary Master, Primary Slave, Secondary Master and Secondary Slave.

Each IDE-device is equipped with special jumpers with the help of which the configuration Master or Slave is chosen. There is usually a sticker with instructions how to do this correctly on the device case; there also might be symbols directly in the place of jumpers setting. If you connect two devices to one loop, one of them must be configured as Master, another – as Slave. In other case, both devices, most likely, would not operate. All modern motherboards have several SATA connectors, and it is much easier to connect the drives of this standard as they configure automatically. But after the connection of new disks your operating system may not boot and then you must set the boot sequence.

The parameters for hard disks setting are traditionally concentrated in the section “Standard CMOS Features” (or Main – for versions of BIOS with horizontal menu bar). Each device is usually set in a separate sub-menu with the name of channel to which the disk has been connected.


General System Parameters. Part II

This parameter sets the type of a system video adapter. The value EGA/VGA should be chosen for all modern computers. The other types (CGA 40, CGA 80, MONO, MDA) are outdated and are only of historical interest.

Language (Current Language)

Traditionally all messages by BIOS are displayed in English but if your system has got such parameter, a language can be changed. As BIOS microcircuits have limited volume, the manufacturers support only several main languages, for example English, German and French.


Some versions of BIOS support operative language shift with the help of one of functional keys, for example F3.

Drive A/B (Floppy Drive A/B, Legacy Diskette A/B)

This parameter sets the types of floppy drives which can be connected to one of the channels (A/B) of the hard disk controller.

Possible values:

  • Disabled (None) – no floppy drive;
  • 3bOK, 5.25 in; 72OK, 3.5 in; 1.2 M, 5.25 in; 1.44 M, 3.5 in; 2.88 M, 3.5 in – one of these values displays the required type of a floppy drive. Almost all computers use the 1.44 M, 3.5 in floppy drives.


If you indicate the floppy drive that do not exist, in BIOS, your system may be unstable or stuck, trying to navigate to non-existent device.

General System Parameters. Part I

The first item in the main menu of CMOS Setup Utility is usually Standard CMOS Features or Standard CMOS Setup, and in versions of BIOS with horizontal manu bar – Main.


Date (mm:dd:yy) (System Date), Time (hh:mm:ss) (System Time)

A motherboard has its own Real Time Clock (RTC) so that a computer has always knew the current date and time. The date and time values are set by direct input of numerical values in the corresponding fields or by using the buttons for changing of parameters.

Real Time Clock stoppage or failure show the malfunction of battery on your motherboard which should be changed.

Halt On (POST Errors), Wait For If Any Errors

These parameters define behavior of a system when a non-critical error occurs during computer booting.

Possible values of Halt On:

  • All Errors – a computer becomes unbootable if an error of any type occurs with displaying the corresponding message. A user, as a rule, may continue booting by pressing a functional button;
  • No Errors – a system will try to continue booting in case of any non-critical error;
  • All, But Keyboard – a process will stop when any error occurs, except keyboard errors;
  • All, But Disk – a booting will stop when any error occurs, except disk errors;
  • All, But Disk/Key – a booting will stop when any error occurs, except disk or keyboard errors.

The parameter Wait For If Any Errors has the following set of values:

  • Enabled (Yes) – a booting will stop when any error occurs;
  • Disabled (No) – a booting will continue.

Screening and Testing of an Overclocked Computer

The first testing for computer productivity is booting of operating system. If the delay of your system has occurred during the POST procedure, the processor or other components cannot “hold” a set frequency. In this case it is better to decrease the overclocking or try to select working frequencies and voltages more thoroughly.

If an overclocking was unsuccessful, most modern motherboards are able to recover the values of frequencies and voltages by default, but to do this you might hold Insert button while turning on your computer or repeat an on/off operation several times. If you did not manage to BIOS settings using one of these methods, open your system block and carry out the reset using a jumper on the motherboard.

When Windows starts, the workload on the main components significantly increases, and if the values of working frequencies are exceeded, Windows may just not boot. And if an operating system has booted normally, all applications are run, all these do not demonstrate a successful overclocking. A system may suddenly stop in several minutes or during operation of the specific programs that require increased system resources.

One of the easiest and more famous testing for a long productivity is creation of archive of a large size and screening of its integrity. There are also specialized programs which intensively upload the central processor, for example Prime 95, S&M, Super PI and other. But a successful operation of one testing program does not guarantee a full stability, so it is recommended to use several of these utilities.

The aim of overclocking is to increase the computer speed. You can check the speed of overclocked computer by using the programs SiSoftware Sandra, 3DMark and PCMark ( Testing programs not always reflect the computer productivity precisely, and to get fuller information you can measure an operating speed of real applications. For example, if you mainly operate with graphic, you can measure the execution time of given operations over testing image in Adobe Photoshop before and after overclocking and compare the results.

Unlock Cores in the Phenom II/Athlon II Processors. Part II

The possibility of unlocking depends not only on the model but also on the batch of produced processors. There were also batches in which more than half of processors should be unlocked, and in some batches – only several products.

To unlock it, it is necessary to have support for the Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC) technology in BIOS of your motherboard. This technology is supported by AMF chipsets with southern bridge SB750 or SB710 and also some chipsets by NVIDIA, for example GeForce 8200, GeForce 8300, nForce 720D, nForce 980.

The unlocking procedure itself is not difficult, you have only to set Auto for Advanced Clock Calibration or similar to it. You must also turn on the “Unlock CPU Core” parameter in some motherboards by MSI. In case of failure, you can try to set ACC manually by choosing experimentally a value for the “Value” parameter. A system sometimes may not boot at all after turning on the ACC, and then you have to null the CMOS content with the help of a jumper. If you could not unlock your processor, turn off the ACC and your processor will operate in its normal mode.

You can check the parameters of unlocked processor with the help of diagnostic utilities EVEREST or CPU-Z. But in order to ensure positive results, you must carry out extensive testing of your computer. Unlocking is provided on a motherboard and does not change a physical state of the computer. You can abandon unlocking at any time by turning off the ACC, and after installing of unlocked processor on another motherboard it will be locked again.

Unlock Cores in the Phenom II/Athlon II Processors. Part I

A family of AMD Phenom II processors, which were produced in 2009, has got various models with two, three and four cores. The AMD Company has produced dual- and three-core processors by disconnecting one or two cores in a four-core processor. This was explained by saving: if there is a fault in one of cores of four-core processor, it was not disposed; the fault core was turned off and processor was sold as three-core one.

As it turns out, a locked core may be turned on with the help of BIOS, and some processors which were unblocked may normally operate with all four cores. This phenomenon may be explained by the fact that there were fewer faults during production of four-core processors, and manufacturers could forcibly inactivate definitely operating cores because of the demand for dual- and three-core models.

Most models of this family were successfully unlocked: Phenom II Х3 7хх, Phenom II Х2 5хх, Athlon II ХЗ 7хх, Athlon II ХЗ 4хх and some others. There is a possibility of cache memory L3 unlocking in four-core models Phenom II Х4 8хх and Athlon II Х4 6хх, and the second core – in a single-core Sempron 140.

Overclocking of AMD Athlon/Phenom Processors. Part II

The following steps will help you to overclock the Athlon, Phenom and Sempron processors:

  1. Set BIOS settings which are optimal for your operating system. Turn off the “Cool’n’Quiet” and “Spread Spectrum” technologies.
  2. Decrease the frequency of operating memory. Perhaps, you will have to cancel the installation of memory parameters with the help of SPD (“Memory Timing by SPD” parameter or similar to it), and then specify the minimum value in the “Memory Frequency for” parameter or similar to it.
  3. Decrease a frequency of the HyperTransport bus in 1-2 steps with the help of the “HT Frequency” parameter or similar to it. For example, a nominal frequency for the Athlon 64 processors is 1000 MHz (multiplier 5) and you can decrease it up to 600-800 MHz (multiplier 3 or 4). If your system has the parameter for setting of frequency for memory controller built in your processor, for example CPU/NB Frequency, its value has to be decreased too.
  4. Set fixed values of frequencies for PCI (33 MHz), PCI Express (100-110 MHz) and AGP (66 MHz) buses.
  5. Then you can start overclocking itself. Firstly, you can increase the basic frequency by 10-20% (for example, from 200 to 240 MHz) and then try to boot operating system and check its functioning. A setting parameter may be called CPU FSB Clock, CPU Overclock in MHz or similar to it.
  6. Check the real frequencies of your processor and memory with the help of CPU-Z utility. If checking of overclocked computer went without any fault, you can continue increasing the basic frequency by 5-10 MHz.
  7. If there is a fault, you can decrease the basic frequency to return your system in its normal mode and continue overclocking together with increasing og power supply core voltage. You have to change the power supply voltage smoothly and no more than to 0,2-0,3 W. When testing your computer with increased power supply voltage of your processor, pay attention to the processor temperature that should not be higher than 60 C.
  8. After finishing overclocking, set an optimal frequency of the HT bus, operating memory and its controller, provide testing of speed and productivity of overclocked computer. To decrease the processor heating, turn on the “Cool’n’Quiet” technology and check an operating stability in this mode.

Overclocking of AMD Athlon/Phenom Processors. Part I

In the mid of 2000 the AMD company produced good processors of the Athlon 64 family, but Intel Core 2 processors that appeared in 2006 exceeded all expectations. The Phenom processors that appeared in 2008 could not catch up the Core 2 with their productivity. Only in 2009 the Phenom II processors managed to compete with them on equal footing. But by that time Intel had already designed Core i7, and the chips by AMD were used in systems of primary and secondary levels.

The overclockability of the AMD processors is a bit lower than in Intel Core and depends on the processor’s model. A memory controller is located directly in a processor, and the connection with chipset is carried out via a special bus “HyperTransport” (HP). An operating frequency of processor, memory and HT bus is defined by the way of multiplication of the basic frequency (200 MHz) to specific ratios.

The method for increasing of the basic frequency of a processor is mainly used for overclocking of AMD processors. But the frequency of HyperTransport bus and memory bus will automatically increase, so they have to be decreased before starting overclocking. The company also has the models with unblocked multiplier (Black Edition) and the overclocking of these chips may be done by increasing multiplying ratio; and you do not have to correct the parameters of operating memory and HT bus.

Overclocking of Intel Core I3/5/7 Processors. Part II

Based on the foregoing, an indicative order of overclocking of the Core i3/5/7 based system may be the following:

  1. Set the optimal BIOS settings for your system. Turn off the Spread Spectrum parameter, energy saving technologies Intel SpeedStep and C1 E Support and also the Intel Turbo Boost technology.
  2. Set a minimal multiplying ratio for memory by using the “System Memory Multiplier” parameter or similar to it. In most motherboards the lowest possible multiplier is 6 which represents the value of 800 MHz in normal mode. The “DRAM Frequency” parameter is used in motherboards by ASUS for this purpose; the value must be DDR3-800 MHz.
  3. After the preparation is finished, you can start increasing the basic frequency with the help of the “BCLK Frequecy” parameter or similar to it. You can start with the frequency of 160-170 MHz, and then increase it step by step by 180-220 MHz.
  4. In case of a fault, you can decrease a little a basic frequency to return the system in its operating mode and carefully test it for stability. If you want to get from your processor everything possible, you can try to increase the power supply voltage by 0,1-0,3 W (up to 1,4-1,5 W), but then you must take care of more effective cooling. In some cases, it is possible to increase the overclockability of your system with the help of voltage increasing of QPI bus and L-3 cache memory (Uncore), memory or phase-locked loop frequency control system (CPU PLL).
  5. After the frequency on which your processor can operate for a long time without any fault and heating has been determined, you may select optimal parameters of operating memory and other components.