In the Forums...
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Posted: February 25, 2000
Tweaking Your BIOS
Tweaking your BIOS is a complicated process with a great number of variables. I will reiterate, write down ALL of the settings you change unless you really feel like directly reconfiguring from the defaults (which is definitely an option) if something goes wrong.
This guide, in and of itself, has to be a little vague, because every BIOS (not to mention every version) has slightly different names for everything. Look for settings that are similar to the ones I have mentioned in this guide. I am using the "standard" Abit BIOS listings wherever I can. However, if you have a different board or even a different version then the things I do may be a little different.
To get into your BIOS, you need to hit the [del] key while the system is posting. If your BIOS isn't accessible via the [del] key, there is probably another key that you need to press (it should either be mentioned on the screen or within the manual). If your BIOS is impossible to get into, or is just a piece of crap, you might want to check out TweakBIOS. It is excessively cool and can really help. It even has some settings that you can't set even with the best of the BIOSes out there -- so it may be worth it for more of us than just people with bad BIOSes.
The first step you should take in tweaking your BIOS is to detect your IDE drives. You should be able to find an option to detect your hard drives within the BIOS. When this is done, set them to the mode specified (not Auto or it will detect them every time!). This will speed up boot time by a couple seconds. Also, if you have the option, do NOT set your floppy drive to Mode-3. This is a Japanese 1.25 Mb floppy format that doesn't apply anywhere else.
Here are some other BIOS settings to look into:
Turbo Frequency - This setting boosts your CPU speed by 2-5% by mildly overclocking your processor. Be careful with this setting, particularly if you are already overclocking, because it could cause some problems with your add-in cards.
Editor's note: Turbo boosts the speed on my Abit BX6 w/ Pentium II 450 (100x4.5) to 464. 14 extra MHz for free! :)
QuickPOST - Enable the quick power on self-test to speed up your boot time. The only time you shouldn't have this enabled is if you suspect you are having a hardware problem that it may detect.
CPU L1 and L2 Cache settings - These features should be enabled by default (unless you are using an original 266 or 300 MHz Celeron without an L2 Cache, in which case the L1 cache will be the only one enabled). If someone disabled them on you, make sure you enable them for a substantial performance increase.
Virus Warning - I personally find this incredibly annoying, but if you have a lot of problems with viruses (hmmm... what have you been downloading?), enabling this can save you a days worth of work recovering your system. You do have a backup, right??? This also can cause some compatibility problems with hardware.