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The BIOS
It's hard to expect much from a budget BIOS, and on the surface, the GA-K8VT890-9's is pretty sparse. However, like most Gigabyte boards, pressing Ctrl+F1 in the BIOS screen unlocks extra tweaking and overclocking options.


On the memory front, the BIOS serves up 1T command rate control and little more. Gigabyte was able to provide me with an updated beta BIOS that added an extensive array of memory timing options, but that BIOS isn't available for download from Gigabyte's web site yet.


Despite its lack of memory timings options, the BIOS does offer users plenty of control over the board's HyperTransport link. I'd gladly sacrifice the HT width control for a few memory timings, but the ability to set lower HT multipliers should at least help with overclocking.


CPU multiplier control also bodes well for overclocking, although 0.5x steps aren't available, limiting our ability to fine-tune the CPU clock speed. Casual overclockers should be satisfied by the BIOS's 255MHz HT link speed ceiling, but the BIOS lacks control over the board's PCI Express clock speed, which appears not to be locked.

Things don't get much better on the voltage front. CPU overvolting is available by 5, 7.5, and 10%, and DIMM overvolting by 0.1, 0.2, or 0.3V, but that's it.


Interestingly, the BIOS also has a nebulous "Top Performance" setting that comes with a rather ominous warning. The Top Performance setting doesn't appear to manipulate memory timings, and in testing, it wasn't stable anyway.


Gigabyte deserves some praise for including fan failure-based alarm conditions in the GA-K8VT890-9's BIOS, but the BIOS doesn't go any further than that. The BIOS lacks temperature- or fan failure-based shutdown conditions, and is also missing temperature-based CPU and system fan speed control.


For those who aren't comfortable poking around in the BIOS, Gigabyte bundles the GA-K8VT890-9 with its Easy Tune 5 overclocking tool. Easy Tune is pretty basic fare, and it doesn't improve on the BIOS's limited overclocking options. Don't let the utility's independent PCI-E and PCI clocks fool you; they don't work.