To configure the BIOS (Basic Input Output System) once everything is installed, you will need to power on your beast of a machine and once you see this BIOS Splash screen, start tapping on the Delete key. Since you have never configured your BIOS, you will hear a bunch of beeps which are the POST beeps (Power On Self Test), which if you did everything fine is a good thing. This is basically a legend so that you can see all of the settings in the BIOS.
Once you get into your BIOS, you will be greeted with a screen like this, depending on your CPU and memory you might have slightly different readings. I had the Patriot Viper Elite Series DDR4 32GB 2800MHz previously overclocked so it was reading 3200Mhz on the RAM, a decent overclock on the Patriot Viper Elite Series DDR4 2800Mhz 32GB RAM PVE432G280C6KGY from 2800Mhz to 3200Mhz.
From here, you can overclock the CPU, raise the BLCK speed on the CPU either don’t like raising the CPU Multiplier, or want to raise a few extra Mhz’s with the Multiplier as well. Generally, I don’t like raising the BCLK (Base Clock), since it also raises the bus speeds of your computer, so you will essentially overclock your RAM, PCI-e slots, CPU and more, so it can cause instabilities. Along with raising Multipliers and BCLK, you may have to raise voltages depending on high you overclock and this board gives you a lot of control, so let’s move on.
This is the overclock tab, for the CPU and if you are used to more text based BIOS than this, it’s because this is a UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS, so you can use your mouse. EUFI is designed to allow your computers firmware to interact more closely with the operating system, in this reviews case Windows 10. This BIOS allows you to take screenshots of the BIOS, like I have here by plugging in a USB thumb drive, so every time you hit F12 with a thumb drive inserted while in the BIOS, it will capture a screenshot of that screen.
Clicking on the Memory tab, brings us to this screen. This screen allows you to view memory information, the set XMP (Intel Xtreme Memory Profile) Profiles for your memory. Memory frequencies, voltages and clock speeds. XMP Profiles allow you to safely overclock your memory above JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) standards to a predefined safe overclock set by and validated by memory manufacturers.
The particular memory I was using had an XMP Profile of 2800Mhz and I overclocked it to 3200Mhz, and I will run you through all of it. Let’s jump over to the Advanced Tab.
The memory tab, gives us a bunch of sub-menus, let’s check them out.
CPU Configuration, lets you see and set specific configurations for your CPU, another sub tab here is CPU Information.
CPU Information shows us specifics on the CPU, but it’s just for information, nothing to change here. Back up one, to the Graphics Configuration.
Here you can enable or disable the CPU’s internal graphics if available then also lets you set which is your Primary Display if you use both a physical GPU and the integrated GPU. Talking about GPU’s, let’s check out the PCI-e Configuration section
Here you can disable or set the PCI-e slots to more specific settings, like Gen 1, 2, 3 or Auto as you see here. On to SATA Configuration.
Under SATA Configuration, you can set the SATA Mode Selection as AHCI, RAID. Then under SATA Information you can enable or disable physical SATA ports.
Under the USB Configuration, we find the ability to Enable or Disable Legacy USB Support. Along with that, under USB Per-Port Setting, you can disable specific USB ports as well as on board USB headers.
Under Power Management, you can enable or disable the lights on the motherboard, which actually I kind of like.
Here you will notice on the left, just under the video card, kind of looks like molten hot pipe, I actually went over this line earlier in the review, travelling alongside the M.2 Slot. Remember I mentioned “serves for a visually aesthetic purpose”, well this is it, and I think it looks pretty cool. This is how the board looks like with Dark Mode off.
With Dark Mode On, the board looks a bit dull. Mind you, not all of us like flashy board, or maybe you don’t like red, my favorite color is Blue, but it’s OK that they are in a constant battle within my machine.
ERP Support disabled, allows the system to consume less than 1watt of power in an S5 (shutdown) state. With ERP enabled, PME Events Wake Up, Power On by Mouse, Power on By Keyboard and Wake on LAN will be unavailable. ACPI Sleep states allows you to disable Suspend States or enable S3 only (Suspend to RAM). Restore AC Power Loss, allows you to have the system go into its Last State if the power goes out and back on, allows it to keep the PC powered off and power on if the lights turn off then back on, even if the PC was off already.
Onboard Device Configuration allows you to Enable or Disable Intel LAN, Wake on LAN, Azalia (Realtek Audio), the Killer E2400 NIC, USB 3.1 Controller and then here is where you can enable or disable the U.2 and M.2 sockets. I have Socket 3 enabled since I am using the WD Black 512GB PCI-e NVMe SSD.
Under this section, you can check the temperature and set all of the individual fan headers.
Under NVMe Information Page, we find very basic information on the NVMe drives within the system.
Finally, out of the Advanced tab, we now find ourselves in the boot tab. In the boot tab, you can set the current system date and time. You can also enable the Bootup Numlock state, I have grown used to that being enabled. Speaker Beep, the POST beep some find annoying then Quiet boot, which allows the PC to skip the POST splash screen and then Fast Boot, which allows the PC to boot slightly faster by slipping the boot device check choosing the last boot HDD/SDD used.
Under Fixed Boot Order Priorities, we have the windows 7 Installation which enabled allows you to support Windows 7 USB keyboard and mouse operation. I keep mine disabled since we are using Windows 10, but if you are using 7, you may want to enabled that. Boot mode select, will let you select UEFI or Legacy for boot mode.
Under these settings you have the options of up to 8 different boot options, in which you select which you would like your PC to attempt to boot to if the previous one stops working, is not a boot device or maybe a thumb drive or a CD/DVD.
CSM Configuration by default is set to Disabled, but I did have to enable it to support the M.2 NVMe SSD.
Under CSM Configuration, in order for an M.2 device to operate, you will need to Enable CSM Support and set the Storage to UEFI, this enables the system to launch the Storage OpRom (Option Rom) allowing for the M.2 drive into the Boot sequence. It took me a few minutes to find and figure this one out when I was attempting to install Windows onto this drive.
Under security, you are able to setup a password to enter the BIOS or even a password to be able to boot into your OS.
Here are the options under Secure Boot
Then even further into Key Management.
Coming back a few layers, we find the UEFI Hard Disk Drive BBS Priorities, another screen I had problems finding when I installed the M.2 Drive. You need to make sure that drive you install is under Boot option #1 if you will be installing windows on to it.
UEFI USB Hard Drive BBS Priorities allows you to boot from USB devices. Another reason it is important to secure what the boot priorities in all areas. Without known, I could have had my Corsair thumb drive as a boot device and on each reboot, my PC would have booted up to this drive. It is inserted because I was taking screenshots in the BIOS.
UEFI USB key Drive BBS Priorities allows you to boot off of alternate sources, in this case a Micro SD card slot which was part of the Qacqoc GN30H multi-Port Adapter I had plugged into the USB C port, with an SD card inserted.
On the final tab, Save & Exit we find a few settings that are somewhat dangerous depending on how you the set the rest of the system up. Save Changes and Reset, saves any changes in the BIOS you have already set then attempts to restart the computer. Discard Changes and Rest, allows you to discard all of the changes you have made and restart the computer.
Restore Defaults, like I used for this review, allowed me to restore all of the defaults that were set on the BIOS from the factory. Load Last Saved Settings allows you to load the last settings you have made, in case you have saved some settings after your prior changes, it has helped me a few times while I was overclocking the RAM.
Boot Override allows you to boot from any drive inserted into the drive, even if it is not the primary drive.
Setup Profile, allows you to save different BIOS settings into specific profiles. For example, if I didn’t want to overclock my memory or CPU all the time, I would save this as a separate profile, then my plain settings as another profile. Load Profile, allows you to choose to load any of those profiles you previously saved.
Save Profile to USB/Load Profile from USB, a setting I have seen before allows you to save the configuration of the BIOS to a thumb drive, then using Load Profile to apply those settings later. The odd part is that if the BIOS is flashed to a new version, those settings will not transfer over. This is good in case maybe the BIOS chip is damaged and EVGA needs to send you another, with the same BIOS version you can load the settings. Another good use may be to give the BIOS settings to your friend, again as long as they have the same BIOS version.
Lastly, under BIOS firmware update, Select BIOS File allows you to flash the BIOS to a newer version from within the BIOS. That makes BIOS flashing a bit easier.
Also, you might have missed it, but on the first screenshot of the BIOS there was some information on the top of the screen. I cropped it out of the rest of the screenshots as to not take up too much space.
The top shows you on the upper left corner how much memory you have in each bank (DIMM Slot), how many banks you have, in total how much memory you have as well as the speed of the RAM. Just below that you can see the voltages of the CPU and memory.
In the center of the upper portion, you can see the CPU Multiplier with the Base Clock. Just below that, you can see the physical core count, CPU Clock Speed and showing you that HyperThreading is enabled.
On upper right corner of the screen, how many PCI-e slots the board has then how many devices each slot has. This also shows the device (EVGA Geforce GTX1080 TI FTW3 Gaming iCX Video Card) is taking advantage of PCI-e 3.0 as well as the fact that it is running in a x16. Just below that you can see the VRM and CPU temperatures. Pretty handy information.
Now that we have a better understanding of the BIOS and its settings, let’s go ahead and install Windows 10 Professional.
Continue: Installing Windows