Asus K7M Athlon Motherboard - Page 5

BIOS Tribute

Well folks, I must add that ASUS had it all planned out. Foreseeing the need for a greater memory space to offer more control options in the AMI BIOS, the K7M comes with a 2Mb extended firmware. 

The BIOS chip.

Now, as before, I will only highlight the various “enhanced” features offered:

a.  Extra RAM Settings

If you’re fortunate enough to have some SPD (Serial Presence Detect) SDRAM DIMMs, and need to refine its settings to offer optimal or more stable performance, one can further tweak their RAM settings with the K7M.  Note that SPD must be disabled in the BIOS to make these adjustments:

  • Page Idle Timer, Precharge Time, CAS Latency, RAS Active Time, RAS-to-CAS Delay can all be adjusted via the BIOS.

b. Numerous Soft FSB Settings

Besides the ability to adjust FSB settings via external DIP switches, the BIOS also caters for this with even more settings than before. Through the BIOS, one can select the FSB “through Jumper” (meaning external DIP switches), 95MHz or another extensive FSB range at 1MHz increments (from 100 to 150MHz)!! This is similar to ABIT’s BE6-II that also provides for such comprehensive settings. However, it is debatable if including both hard and soft FSB settings was really necessary, as the clumsy DIP switches’ settings are typically a subset of the BIOS’. Nevertheless, it seems certain that this sets a precedent, where all future ASUS motherboards will incorporate FSB adjustments of 1MHz increments through the BIOS.

c. Thermal Option

Another interesting safeguard option selectable in the BIOS:

  • Thermal Slow Clock Ratio [50-56.25%]: This determines the duty cycle of the STPCLK# signal when the THRM# pin is asserted LOW. In other words, this feature sets the percentage by which the CPU slows down when the CPU is overheated! Pretty cool stuff

Guess we’ve rattled enough on the K7M features, let’s see how it actually performs…

Wow, I’m in “Features” heaven… But is its performance on par?

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