Motherboard Manufacturers. Asustek. Part II

Motherboards by Asustek have got an internal protection mechanism of AMD processors from overheating (Intel processors have got built-in protection) that is very important especially while overclocking. This mechanism leads to automatic computer shutdown when some critical temperature is exceeded. Such temperature is set by manufacturer at the hardware level and does not depend on the software settings.

Motherboards by Asustek are equipped with BIOS by AMIBIOS. BIOS software settings provide wide opportunities for overclocking and optimization of computer functioning. Using them it is possible:

  • to change FSB frequencies from 100 to 300 MHz with the step of 1 MHz;
  • to change the processor multiplying ratio;
  • to change the core voltage of processor, chipset, memory and AGP;
  • to set the frequency of memory operation;
  • to set delays of memory operation;
  • to change the value of frequency divider for AGP and PCI;
  • to allocate interruptions manually.

Motherboard Manufacturers. Asustek. Part I

The company Asustek is famous for its qualitative and reliable motherboards. The product range of this company is rather wide – from cheap and almost unoverclockable to expensive motherboards with various capacities.

Motherboards by Asustek are good for their wide set of settings, selection of frequencies for a system bus, AGP and PCI, an opportunity to regulate voltages and others.

Here is a set of brand technologies by Asustek:

  • С.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall) – automatic recall of BIOS to settings by default if it is impossible to boot a computer because of overclocking-related problems;
  • CrashFree BIOS – recovery of BIOS from a floppy disk or bootable CD even some data in flash-memory are damaged;
  • EZ-Flash – an opportunity of BIOS firmware without operating system loading;
  • POST Reporter – error messages when the system is booting (some models can create user messages);
  • Q-Fan technology – changing the speed of fan rotation depending on its temperature;
  • AI Net – identification of cable damages by a network controller using diagnostic utility;
  • Multi-language BIOS – an opportunity to select a language of BIOS Setup display;
  • WiFi@Home – a brand connector on a motherboard (motherboards of Wireless edition also contain WiFi-b card) to connect a computer to wireless network of WiFi of the respective standard);
  • Instant Musivc – listening to Audio CD without operating system loading (such technology is available only using built-in sound codec and keyboars connected to PS/2 Port);
  • MyLogo – an opportunity to display your own graphic screen during system loading.

Motherboard Manufacturers. AOpen. Part II

The models, with no panel with LEDs, use one LED located on a motherboard which flashes during the procedure POST and lights after its finishing.

Some motherboards also have one LED in front of AGP which lights on inadmissibility of outdates video cards settings with power voltage of +3,3 V.

The main feature of this company is Jukebox which allows listening to Audio CD without operating system loading.

Because of a very limited set of BIOS settings, some part of functional opportunities of a system is set using jumpers on a motherboard. Thus, using jumpers you can set the following parameters:

  • to reset the current BIOS settings and return to values by default;
  • to switch on/off PC Speaker on a motherboard;
  • to select an operating mode of DieHard BIOS: Rescue or Normal;
  • to switch on/off a network controller;
  • to switch on an opportunity to run a system using a keyboard and/or a mouse connected via PS/2 Port;
  • to choose a language for Dr.Voice (between English, Chinese, Japanese or German).

Motherboards by this manufacturer are suitable for beginner users striving not to overclcok the current configuration but to check the sustainability of different devices in various combinations.

Motherboard Manufacturers. AOpen. Part I

The products by AOpen Company are reliable motherboards fewer opportunities for overclocking. The main feature of this company is an unusual design of motherboards. For example, some time ago motherboards by this manufacturer contained lamps which were used as sound preamps. Nowadays some models of motherboards have got FM-tuner.

The products by this company have also got a set of brand technologies which allow changing the voltage on a processor, a bus frequency, a value of divider frequencies of AGP and PCI and other parameters. Combined with their reliability and a standard set of parameters, this feature makes motherboards by this manufacturer rather attractive for users.

Brand technologies used in motherboards by AOpen focus mainly on increasing of operating reliability. For example, a mechanism of double protection is used for BIOS when, from the one side, BIOS copy is implemented into the area of flash-memory inaccessible for programs and, from the other side, a special program is used which starts after self-testing enabling to boot a computer even with partially damaged BIOS. Such technology is called DieHard BIOS. Another technology – Dr.Voice – enables voice messages in case of failures or problems with computer booting even when a central processor does not operate. To identify a failure, you can use a set of LEDs moved to additional panel Dr.LED. During self-testing, each combination of green and red LEDs is consistent with its own operation. In case of an error, this combination is saved on the panel which is consistent to unfinished testing. In case of successful booting, all LEDs are green.

Motherboard Manufacturers. Albatron. Part II

Motherboards by this company use Award BIOS Phoenix so they have good opportunities for overclocking using BIOS CMOS settings:

  • changing the frequency of FSB over a wide range with the step of 1 MHz;
  • regulation of the core voltage of the processor, chipset and in some models – separately southern and northern bridges of chipset, memory and AGP;
  • changing the processor multiplying ratio;
  • changing the frequency divider of AGP and PCI (the asynchronous scheme is used in some models of motherboards that allows implementing individual changes of frequencies);
  • changing operating frequency of memory bus;
  • changing the parameters of delays of memory operation;
  • manual allocation of interruptions.

Using jumpers and switches on the motherboard, it is possible to setup a set of opportunities which the integrity and productivity of a system directly depend on:

  • a jumper for resetting the current BIOS settings;
  • a jumper for switching on/off the protection from processor overheating;
  • switches enabling to select a language for beep messages (between English, Chinese, Japanese and German);
  • a switch for selection an operating mode of BIOS Mirror: Normal or Rescue.

All these opportunities make motherboards by Albatron rather attractive for overclocking.

Motherboard Manufacturers. Albatron. Part I

The company Albatron produces not very expansive but rather qualitative motherboards. Motherboards by this manufacturer use a set of company’s technologies to facilitate significantly the life of both a usual user and a user that overclocks his computer.

Firstly, motherboards by this manufacturer use BIOS Mirror that uses two BIOS microchips: the main operating one and its mirror copy. An access to this copy is locked at the hardware level. If there are some errors in the main BIOS, for example, if an update has been executed incorrectly or during virus attacks, you can automatically rewrite the content of backup copy to operating flash-memory using an appropriate switch on a motherboard.

Secondly, such motherboards have multi-language interface (Voice Genie Technology) that informs a user about errors during the system booting. This system operates independently from the processor so if there are no processors it has an opportunity to give such information.

Thirdly, such motherboards have the mechanism which allows automatically assigning values to BIOS parameters by default if the values set by a user do not allow the system functioning adequately, for example above a certain bus frequency (Watch Dog Timer technology).

Another good feature of motherboards by Albatron is AGP Protection Technology which locks video card setting with power voltage of +3,3 V.

Motherboard Manufacturers. Part III

Acorp

Motherboards by Acorp are rather reliable and not very expensive products suitable for “budget” computers but they are not suitable for overclocking. As a rule, a set of system settings of these motherboards is changing the frequency of a bus, processor multiplying ratio and memory delays.

The main feature of motherboards by Acorp is Smart Panel. This panel contains two USB connectors, Audio In/Out connectors, diagnostic set of LEDs and a button for selection of the type of BIOS microchip for booting (it operates not in all models of motherboards).

 The possibilities of system setting using BIOS are rather limited but in some cases they are accompanied by a set of switches on a motherboard by which it is possible to perform the following actions:

  • reset BIOS settings;
  • select FSB frequency (as a rule, between Auto/100/133 MHz);
  • switch on-off an opportunity to run a computer using PS/2 keyboard and/or USB;
  • switch on-off a sound controller;
  • switch on-off a network controller.

Motherboards by this manufacturer use Award BIOS by Phoenix. Using it, it is possible to set the following parameters (the particular opportunities depend on the model of motherboard or version of BIOS):

  • to change FSB frequency from 100 to 220MHz with the step of 1 MHz;
  • to change the processor multiplying ratio;
  • to change the core voltage of the processor, memory, chipset and AGP;
  • to set memory delays;
  • to set an operating frequency of Auto, DDR266, DDR333;
  • to change the value of frequency divider for AGP and PCI;
  • to allocate interruptions manually.

Motherboards by this manufacturer are suitable for beginner users to refine techniques and skills of overclocking.

Motherboard Manufacturers. Part II

Abit

Some special technologies by Abit are additionally used in expensive models of motherboards:

  • OTES – the cooling system of a voltage stabilizer of processor power;
  • Secure IDE – an opportunity of cryptographic protection of data on a hard disk;
  • SoftMenu – an opportunity of detailed setting of voltages and frequencies from BIOS.

Award BIOS by Phoenix is traditionally used on the motherboards by Abit. BIOS controls almost all settings here. So you can find only one switch on the motherboards by this manufacturer – BIOS Reset.

The particular opportunities of changing settings depend on the type of motherboard and a version of BIOS, but in general BIOS allows implementing the following settings:

  • to change FSB from 100 to 300 MHz with a step of 1 MHz;
  • to change a multiplying ratio of a processor;
  • to change a voltage of a processor core with a step of 0,001 V;
  • to set a memory operating frequency: DDR200, DDR266;
  • to set delays in memory operation;
  • to change the voltage of memory and chipset;
  • to set an operating frequency of PCI;
  • to set an operating frequency of AGP and to change the voltage of this bus;
  • to change the value of frequency divider for AGP and PCI;
  • to allocate interruptions manually.

In general, motherboards by Abit are well-suited for overclocking due to a wide range of monotonous settings and also an opportunity of their saving.

Motherboard Manufacturers. Part I

There are a large amount of motherboard manufacturers: some of them are very famous nowadays, some of them are less famous and some of them are “Noname” – the one-day companies. A price of the product mainly depends on the popularity of manufacturer – the more popular the company, the more expensive its product. But the quality and opportunities of motherboards do not depend on the level of popularity and very often unknown companies produce much better products than their famous competitors. So what manufacturer to choose?

Abit

Motherboards by Abit are one of the most expensive in their class but this is compensated by their various opportunities. Exactly this company has come up with the idea of various useful technologies which significantly improve the operation of internal devices and peripherals. This company has also provided unlimited opportunities for overclocking. For example, a technology Jumperless allows relinquishing the use of jumpers except a jumper of BIOS zeroing. Nowadays this technology is widely used among other manufacturers. This company has also implemented such technologies which allow detailed setting of a system using the software tools, for example to modify the frequency of FSB with a step of 1 MHz, to separately modify the frequencies AGP and PCI or FSB and DRAM, to adjust the voltage of processor, chipset, AGP video card, memory, etc.

Motherboards by Abit are consistent with processors both by Intel and AMD. They consist of IDE- and FDD-loops joined into a harness and also a manual in several languages including Russian. The differences of the motherboards by Abit are integrated sound controller on the basis of AC’97 audio codec with an opportunity of connection of 5.1 audio systems (five audio connectors are displayed on the back panel – Front Speaker, Line-in, Mic-in, Center/Sub, Surround Speaker – and a connector fro connection of the front audio inputs/outputs S/PDIF).

Chipset. Part II

Each manufacturer is committed to creating the most competitive chipset: fast, not very expensive and reliable. It is much expensively to buy a motherboard with a chipset by Intel. But it is rather reliable. But nowadays the motherboards with chipsets by SiS are well represented in the global market: they are chipper and are almost similar to those by Intel.

The chipsets by nVidia have just recently appeared in the market. The motherboards that use this set of logics are mainly designed for processors by AMD and have various additional functions except the main ones. For example, a chipset has got a built-in graphic core GeForce and integrated multi-channel sound processor. Form the one side, this leads to increase of products, but from the other side a user gets noticeable video- and perfect sound card integrated into a motherboard.

So, if you select a motherboard it is necessary to solve three tasks:

  • Select the processor which you want to or can install or buy.
  • Select a chipset that will maximally respond to your needs. Here you have to read a lot of suitable literature or surf the Internet. It is also preferable to visit computer shops and ask about the characteristics and attitude of sellers to the desired product.
  • Select the motherboard in accordance with solution of the first two tasks.