Serial ATA and RAID Controllers. Part I

All modern motherboards have built-in Serial ATA and RAID controllers.

 

1

 

Configure SATA As (SATA/RAID Mode)

This parameter sets an operating mode of built-in Serial ATA controller.

Possible values:

  • Standard IDE (Disabled) – SATA drive will operate in the mode compatible with IDE;
  • RAID – this value should be selected when creating RAID-sets out of several hard disks;
  • AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) – advanced operating mode of SATA controller which supports a hot drives plug. AHCI is only supported by disks with Serial ATA2 standard.

ATTENTION

Changes in operating mode of Serial ATA controller may lead to situations when operating systems would stop its booting. In this case you should return the previous value of this parameter or reboot Windows.

 

OnChip SATA Mode (ATA/IDE Configuration)

This parameter sets the benefitsharing mode of SATA and IDE drives.

Possible values:

  • Disabled (Off) – Serial ATA controller is on; only IDE hard disks at=re used;
  • Auto – BIOS automatically defined all connected SATA and IDE drives and then sets the available modes “Master/Slave” for them;
  • Combined Mode (Legacy Mode) – the benefitsharing mode of SATA and IDE disks which supports up to four drives and is compatible to MS-DOS and Windows 98/Me. For SATA disks you should also assign the emulation of one of standard IDE-channels using the parameter “Serial ATA Port0/1 Mode”;
  • Enhanced Mode (Native Mode) – an advanced benefitsharing mode of SATA and IDE disks which supports up to six drives (it is not supported by Windows 98/Me);
  • SATA Only – only SATA disks are used which have “Primary Master” or “Secondary Master” modes.

IDE Controller

IDE controller is an important part of motherboard and it has a set of parameters for setting. A list of available parameters is usually minimized in modern motherboards as IDE-drives are replaced by devices with Serial ATA interface (SATA).

OnChip IDE ChannelO (OnChip Primary PCI IDE)

This parameter controls the first IDE-channel. All settings of RU and UDMA modes and the drives parameters “Standard CMOS Features” section will be unavailable after its turning off.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – the first IDE-channel is on;
  • Disabled (Off) – the first IDE-channel is off and does not use any system resources. This may be done if there are no drives connected to this channel.

After the channel has been turned on, the following additional parameters for its setting may be available:

  • IDE Primary/Secondary Master PIO – setting of PIO mode (Program Input/Output);
  • IDE Primary/Secondary Master UDMA – switching on or off the Ultra DMA mode. If Ultra DMA is switched off, a drive will operate in much slower PIO mode.

Always set the value “Auto” for these parameters while their manual setting is required to connect some outdated disks.

OnChip IDE Channel1 (OnChip Secondary PCI IDE)

This parameter is similar to the previous one but switches on or off the second IDE-channel.

IDE DMA Transfer Access

This parameter enables or disables using the mode of direct memory access (DMA) for all IDE hard disks. For modern hard drives, it is recommended to turn this parameter on by setting the value “Enabled (On)”.

IDE HDD Block Mode

This parameter controls an operating block mode of IDE-controller when the speed of data exchange increases through the transfer of several sectors with data. If there is the value “Enabled (On)”, an optimal block size is selected automatically; and if there is the value “Disabled (Off)”, the block mode is off.

IDE Prefetch Mode

This parameter enables or disables performing the data prefetching by IDE-controller. For faster data exchange, set the value “Enabled (On)” and use the value “Disabled (Off)” if there are some errors in operation of the hard disk.

Other Chipset Settings. Part II

Memory Hole At 15M-16M

This parameter reserves 1MB form address area between 15 and 16MB for monopoly usage by some outdated ISA-boards. As such motherboards are very rare nowadays, it is recommended to set the value “Disabled (Off)” for this parameter.

PCI Delay Transaction (Delayed Transaction)

This parameter switches on a special mechanism of PCI delay transaction that speeds up a bus operation. Switch this parameter on for modern computers by setting the value “Enabled (On)”. If a system has an outdated motherboard that does not support PCI 2.1 standard, this parameter should be switched off.

DVMT Mode Select

This parameter allows selecting the mode of memory allocation for integrated video adapter.

Possible values:

  • DVMT – the memory is allocated dynamically by applications requests and is exempted when there is no necessity;
  • Fixed – fixed memory capacity is allocated for needs of integrated video adapter;
  • Bosh – the combination of examined modes: a part of memory is reserved for constant usage by video adapter; and in case of necessity the additional memory areas would be allocated dynamically for it needs.

An additional parameter “DVMT/Fixed Memory” may be available to set a maximum memory capacity of integrated video adapter.

Other Chipset Settings. Part I

HPET Support

This parameter controls the operation of High Precision Event Timer (HPET).

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – the timer is on (this value is recommended for Windows Vista/7);
  • Disabled (Off) – the timer is off.

You can also meet the parameter “HPET Mode” with the help of which you can select the 32- or 64-bit timer operation mode. Select the value “32-bit mode” for 32-bit versions of Windows Vista/7 and the value “64-bit mode” – for 64-bit ones.

Memory Remap Feature (DRAM Over 4G Remapping)

This parameter allows replacing an address space for PCI-devices beyond the first 4 GB.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – a memory segment designed for PCI bus will be replaced (it is recommended while installing 64-bit operating systems on computers with 4 GB Ram and more);
  • Disabled (Off) – a memory segment is not replaced (in this case about 3 GB will be available for operating memory with 4 GB.

System BIOS Cacheable

This parameter turns on system BIOS caching that might speed up an access to it. In modern motherboards BIOS code is always written from flash-memory in operating memory and is hardly used after booting of operating system. That’s why it is recommended to turn this function off selecting the value “Disabled (Off)”.

Video BIOS Cacheable

This parameter controls BIOS caching of video adapter and is equal to “System BIOS Cacheable”. In modern motherboards a video adapter is available via a driver and video BIOS is used only when passing POST and at the initial stages of operating system loading.

PCI Express Bus. Part II

PEG Port

This parameter manages a graphic port PCI Express x16; a video adapter is almost always set via it so it must be necessarily turned on.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – PCI Express x16 port is on;
  • Disabled (Off) – PCI Express x16 port is off.

Some versions of BIOS have similar parameters for disconnecting each of PCI Express slots. Their names may be the following: PCI Express Slot 1, PCI Express Slot 2, PCI Express Slot 3; their values – Enabled/Disabled.

PEG Force x1

This parameter places PCI Express x16 port in compatibility mode with x1 port.

Possible values:

  • Disabled (Off) – a port uses x16 mode that is necessary for normal operation of video adapter set in PCI Express x16 slot;
  • Enabled (On) – a port is set in x1 mode that may be necessary when installing an appropriate motherboard.

Active State Power Management, ASPM

This parameter turns on the mode of active state power management of devices connected to PCI Express bus depending on their activity.

Possible values:

  • Enabled (On) – ASPM mode is on. This value is recommended if there are devices of PCI Express 2.0 standard;
  • Disabled (Off) – ASPM mode is off. This value should be used for devices of PCI Express 1.0 if there are errors in computer operation.

PCI Express Bus. Part I

PEG Link Mode

This parameter is used in some motherboards by ASUS. It speeds up the operation of video adapter set in a slot PCI Express x16 (PEG – PCI Express Graphics).

Possible values:

  • Auto – all operating parameters of video adapter are set automatically; there is no overclocking;
  • Slow, Normal, Fast, Faster – one of these values sets the level of video adapter overclocking. There is no overclocking for Slow; but the highest adapter capacity is achieved when Faster is installed.

To set a graphic adapter PCI Express, you might find some other parameters in motherboards by ASUS:

  • PEG Root Control – controls the root port of PCI Express;
  • Link Latency – controls the time of delay in the channel of PCI Express x16;
  • PEG Buffer Length – defines the buffer length for graphic card with PCI Express interface;
  • Slot Power – allows changing the power voltage of PCI Express Slot within small limits;
  • High Priority Port Select – allows setting the highest priority for the selected port.

For normal operating of PCI Express bus, it is recommended to set Auto for these parameters.

Setting up Chipset and Some Board Components. Part II

AGP Fast Write

This parameter allows the fast write when the processor sends data directly to the memory of video adapter bypassing a motherboard. For most adapters, it is recommended to allow this function setting the value Enabled (On). If the operation of your video adapter is unstable, it is better to prohibit a fast drive selecting the value Disabled (Off).

AGP Master 1W/S Read

This parameter defines the time of delay when reading the data on AGP bus. If the value is set to Enabled (On) a delay will be equal to 1 cycle that is recommended for most adapters. Switch this function off if there are errors in operation of video adapter.

AGP Master 1 W/S Write

This parameter sets the delay when writing data via AGP bus and is completely identical to the previous one.

AGP to DRAM Prefetch (AGP Prefetch)

The value Enabled (On) for this parameter allows prefetch when addressing AGP-adapter to the memory. In this mode a chipset performs the prefetch of the next data block that speeds up the reading of serial memory areas.

Setting up Chipset and Some Board Components. Part I

AGP Bus

AGP bus is the fastest variant of PCI which is optimized for the connection of video adapters. There is no AGP bus in modern motherboards and a video adapter is connected to PCI Express bus. To set this bus you can find some parameters in much outdated motherboards.

AGP Capability (AGP Mode, AGP Transfer Mode)

This parameter sets the speed of data transmission via AGP bus.

Possible values:

  • Auto – the speed is selected automatically depending on the capacity of your motherboard and video adapter;
  • 1X, 2X, 4X, 8X – a port operation mode is set manually. Manual selection of speed may be required if there are errors in operation of video adapter.

You can also find the parameters “AGP 4X Mode” or “AGP 2X Mode” enabling prohibiting or permitting the usage of 2X or 4X modes.

AGP Aperture Size (MB)

This parameter sets a maximum size of operating memory which is allowed to use for video adapter for storing its textures.

Possible values – 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256. It is recommended to select the value which is approximately equal to half amount of memory. This does not decrease the amount of available memory as the video adapter requests it only in case of necessity.

Privacy Protection Using TPM

Computers that store important private information must have enhanced means of protection from unauthorized users. Setting up a password to boot a computer in BIOS or an account password in Windows will protect information from walkup users but this will not help if your computer falls into hands of professionals. Frames encryption is more effective method but it is not absolutely reliable as the attackers may steal the encryption password.

To create the systems with a high protection level, you may install a special protection module on your motherboard – TPM (Trusted Platform Module). TPM enables creating and storing the encryption codes, controlling the configuration of equipment, a state of bootable areas and other parameters.

The availability of TPM itself on a motherboard makes no advantages without using special software. One of variants of TPM usage is BitLocker disk encryption which can be found in some versions of Windows Vista/7. In this case all files of operating system, applications, paging file and even free sectors on a disk would be encrypted that guarantees much higher protection level than a simple file encryption.

Advice

You can find additional information about BitLocker usage opening a window of the Help system in Windows Vista/7 and searching by keyword “BitLocker”.

There is usually a parameter in motherboards with TPM which switches on or off the support for TPM module in BIOS and may be named “TCG/TPM SUPPORT”, “Trusted Platform Module” or “Security Chip”. After switching TPM on, additional parameters may be available for its setting.

Peculiarities of Working with Passwords on Notebooks

Portable computers are designed for user friendliness and mobility but while travelling they can be stolen, lost or forgotten somewhere. Thus, notebook manufacturers use special tools to protect these devices from extraneous persons. Almost in all modern models of notebooks it is impossible to reset a password by nulling BIOS or removing batteries from a motherboard. That’s why, one should be particularly careful when setting up a password on a notebook. A password must be difficult for extraneous persons but the one that would be difficult to forget for you.

If the password for a notebook is lost, you can reset it in the service centers but such service is not usually free. The mechanism of restoration of the password depends on the notebook manufacturer. For example, an error code will be displayed on the screen after several attempts of wrong password insertion in notebooks by Acer, Dell, LG and a set of other manufacturers. A temporary password is generated on the basis of this code in a service center. It enables entering Setup and reset a password. Some manufacturers, for example IBM and Sony, use more sophisticated protection system, and to reset a password, you might need to dismantle a notebook or even replace separate components.