Gigabyte gets fancy with BIOS features

Making a great motherboard may be largely about making great hardware, but Gigabyte is paying an increasing amount of attention to the software side of things—namely, BIOS features. The company’s latest and upcoming X58 and P55 motherboards feature BIOS chips with 16MB capacities (up from the previous 8MB), which leaves room for a nice batch of extra functionality.

Here’s the list of Smart 6 features, in Gigabyte’s Engrish-tinged words:

  • Smart DualBIOS

    Smart DualBIOS not only allows double protection for the motherboard with two physical BIOS ROMs, it also includes a new feature that can record important passwords and dates.

  • Smart QuickBoot

    Smart QuickBoot speeds up the system boot-up process and shortens the waiting time for entering the operating system, delivering greater efficiency for daily use.

  • Smart QuickBoost

    Smart QuickBoost features quick and effortless CPU overclocking for novice and experienced users alike; users simply click on one of three levels of CPU performance levels [sic], and Smart QuickBoost automatically adjusts CPU performance.

  • Smart Recovery

    Smart Recovery allows users to easily roll-back system settings to a previous known working status. Users can [simply] select the day, week or month without prior setup of a backup time flag.

  • Smart Recorder

    Smart Recorder monitors and records the activities in a system such as the time when the PC was turned on/off or even when large data files were copied.

  • Smart TimeLock

    Smart TimeLock allows parents to schedule time limits for their children to use the PC. It makes the rules simple by, e.g. being able to select different usage times for weekdays and weekends.

Most of these need no explanation, except perhaps for Smart QuickBoot. Gigabyte told us that feature lets you bypass the lengthy power-on self test (POST) hardware detection procedure after three successful boots, assuming an unchanged hardware configuration. That ought to shave a few seconds off of boot times.

Gigabyte also showed us its new Smart TPM feature, which lets users keep protected data away from prying eyes on a special drive partition. They can unlock that partition with a 2048-bit key stored on a Bluetooth cell phone. In the demo we saw, the protected drive partition vanished from Vista’s Computer window a few seconds after the phone’s Bluetooth connection broke off. And if Bluetooth fails, you can load up your key via a good, old-fashioned USB thumb drive.

For AMD processors, Gigabyte has also added some special sauce to motherboards based on AMD’s 770 chipset with SB750 and SB710 south bridge components. (That list includes the MA770T-UD3P, MA770-UD3 2.0, and MA770-US3 2.0.) From what we gathered, older versions of AMD’s BIOS firmware allowed folks to unlock the disabled fourth core in Phenom II X3 processors. AMD has since “fixed” that little loophole in newer updates, but Gigabyte kept the old firmware around for core unlocking purposes. The feature is innoccuously titled “Hybrid Mode” in the BIOS, and it works like so:

Gigabyte says Hybrid Mode works with Phenom II X2, Phenom II X3, and still-unannounced Athlon II X3 processors. Of course, just because you can unlock an extra core or two doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be stable or functional.

Comments closed
    • yehuda
    • 10 years ago

    I want an option to enable DES in BIOS without having to install the software for that.

    • Dr_b_
    • 10 years ago

    “The company’s latest and upcoming X58 and P55 motherboards”

    Does this statement imply there are upcoming x58’s as yet to be released? They already seem to have a few of them out now.

    Let’s get rid of PCI and IDE and Floppy already, it’s really dead. So is PS/2.

    Use a quality ethernet controller as well, Realtek is not exactly the best, Intel or Marvell anyone?

    Also, I noticed that the P55 boards seem to have fixed the NB heatsink from blocking the first PCI-E x1 slot, which is blocked on the current x58’s, a rather tragic and avoidable oversight.

    These BIOS “Features” are absurd and are really just marketing fluff, adding no real tangible value. Like some have said, why not put some real features in the BIOS like fully adjustable fan headers? Smart dual BIOS… is BIOS corruption that prevalent these days? If these aren’t going to make my system more stable, or go faster, or do something unique (the AMD feature is, but I don’t use AMD CPUs) then don’t bother, who the hell needs parental locks on an enthusiast motherboard? Like I want to record everything im doing or store passwords in the BIOS?!

    • just brew it!
    • 10 years ago

    Ahh, just what we need… more bloatware. In our BIOS. How long before we start seeing **AA-mandated BIOS-resident DRM? Also consider this — the more complicated something is, the more likely there will be security vulnerabilities in it. If we go down this path, how long before we start seeing BIOS-resident malware infections?

    I suppose the silver lining is that this may finally kill off the one remaining reason for floppy drives to exist, since BIOSes will become too large to fit on a floppy.

    • potatochobit
    • 10 years ago

    when I set to hybrid and then I set to ACC to auto my computer seems to crash before it restarts, there is some text but i cant read it the crash is too fast. i am using the UD4H and a X3 720
    oh well fun to try

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 years ago

    Smart Recorder looks like it may have privacy implications….(though perhaps it can make use of TPM if that’s installed)

    • nerdrage
    • 10 years ago

    q[

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      lol forever. Must be from the IM generation 😉 It’s not THAT long and you can always use S3 sleep instead. I only ever do full shutdowns any more if I’m going to mess around inside my computer.

        • nerdrage
        • 10 years ago

        S3 doesn’t apply in my case. It’s a dual-boot system, and the delay just makes switching between OSs that much slower. The point I was trying to make was that it takes a lot longer to detect AHCI devices…. WHY??? In IDE mode they are detected nearly instantly.

        IM generation? I’m getting close to 40, unfortunately. Nice try though 😉

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          That makes calling it forever even funnier then. If you’re only using the SATA ports you could disable the JMicron ‘GSATA controller’ entirely or if it’s not got a HD put it in IDE mode. Of course that’s the one that you can ‘press enter to continue…’

            • nerdrage
            • 10 years ago

            The JMicron controller *is* disabled. I’m talking about the ICH10R SATA ports running in AHCI mode that takes forever to detect drives.

            • Flying Fox
            • 10 years ago

            My G33 P5K-VM also takes forever to detect and skip the DVD-ROM (I don’t even have it on the boot order list).

      • ScythedBlade
      • 10 years ago

      There was a Foxconn Board I had that had this feature. In fact, it skips POST entirely. Once you turn on, it’s the Windows Loading screen.

    • Prion
    • 10 years ago

    Where did ABITs old BIOS engineers end up? μGuru is still unsurpassed.

      • RickyTick
      • 10 years ago

      I read somewhere that some went to Biostar, but I can’t verify that.

      • loophole
      • 10 years ago

      I believe Oskar Wu went to DFI after leaving Abit

    • Umbragen
    • 10 years ago

    Pass. Gigabyte’s utility software is buggy as all hell. EasyTune, DES regularly crash and @BIOS is like playing Russian Roulette.

      • nerdrage
      • 10 years ago

      Can you name a motherboard manufacturer whose utility software *[

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      I don’t use the utility software from any mobo maker (even when it works, it typically has UI’s cobbled together from anime and Type R racers). With that out of the equation, the part that really matters — the quality of the actual hardware — but Gigabyte near the top of the heap for me.

    • Geatian
    • 10 years ago

    q[

    • S_D
    • 10 years ago

    Shame they can’t ‘get fancy’ with some decent case/system fan control in their BIOS. I’ll stick with ASUS or DFI for my next board because of this…

      • 5150
      • 10 years ago

      uGURU, for the love of God someone bring this back!

      • Flying Fox
      • 10 years ago

      ++

      They should all put more fan headers and make those headers monitor/control-able.

    • Spotpuff
    • 10 years ago

    This is why Gigabyte gets my money

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    That unlocking trickery is pretty neat. You still get to use the latest BIOS but the old unlock code gets injected or piggybacked on to it. Gigabyte is impressing me a lot these days, I think they’ve become my first choice in motherboards.

    • 5150
    • 10 years ago

    That’s one Smart motherboard. *sigh*

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    l[

      • dpaus
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, I stumbled over the similarity of those two as well.

    • Helmore
    • 10 years ago

    Any word on EFI? It seems there is not much support for EFI from the motherboard manufacturers, while it can have quite some benefits over the old fashioned BIOS.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      That’s the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw this. I could pretty much care less about all this stuff.

      I thought we’d all be using those quick-boot Linuxes by now.

      • Synchromesh
      • 10 years ago

      Where would you stick Electronic Fuel Injection on this thing? 😛

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 10 years ago

        The flux capacitor, of course!

      • DeanBKA
      • 10 years ago

      UEFI has basically stalled for a couple of reasons
      1) No native WinXP support but UEFI has bios emulation.
      2) Cost, supposedly costs more than the bios.
      3) Bios just works and is supported by everything

      Unified efi it stuck in the mud essentially.

        • StuffMaster
        • 10 years ago

        Sadly, sometimes the “commodity” PC market does fail us…

      • deruberhanyok
      • 10 years ago

      I too was wondering about this. I don’t understand the hesitation in implementing it… or at least in some manufacturers offering it as a flashable option for end users. I think Intel did that with a few of their G3x boards.

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