Gigabyte has also taken the standard Award BIOS and improved upon it just a bit, starting off with a feature well known on AOpen boards - a set of BIOS options that can be loaded and are already tweaked for performance. These options pretty much are optimal for the majority of users, but if you're a real hardcore tweaker, you'll want to go through and double check that everything set the way you like it. Upon boot, the BIOS reports the core voltage of each CPU and any voltages that may be out of spec. The onboard SCSI chip can be enabled or disabled from the BIOS as well.

Power management consists of pretty much the standard stuff these days. Wake on LAN and wake on modem ring headers are available to allow the system to power on in the presence of network activity or incoming call. The BIOS can be set to turn on the system at a specific time. The CPU fan can be shut off when the system suspends to quiet things down a bit. ACPI support is built into the BIOS for added power management under an ACPI compliant OS like Windows 98 or Windows 2000. The system can be configured to power on via hot key or mouse click as well.

Since it is a server board, which might be running 24/7, Gigabyte was wise enough to include a jumper that would force the system to power back on in the case of a power failure. When enabled, the system will return to its previous power state upon a loss of AC power.

For hardware monitoring, the GA-6BXDS uses the extremely popular Winbond 83781D to monitor both onboard fans, 7 voltages, and up to 3 temperatures. The reason for "up to 3 temperatures" is that the Winbond hardware monitor can only monitor one temperature on its own - the temperature of the Winbond chip itself. In order to monitor the other two temperatures, such as that of the CPU, the Winbond chip requires an external thermistor. Gigabyte has included a decent thermistor mounted directly in front of each CPU slot. They stick up about 1/4 of an inch and respond to temperature fluctuations within a few seconds. The included CD features Intel LANdesk Client Manager (LDCM). Of course, a variety of shareware/freeware hardware monitoring utilities are available on the web as well.

Although lacking details on installing a motherboard, the manual is otherwise pretty good for the experienced user and includes detailed information on all connector pin outs as well as the various BIOS settings. A separate manual is included for the onboard SCSI controller. The CD includes Intel LANdesk Client Manager (LDCM) for hardware monitoring, Trend PC-Cillin 98 (OEM) anti-virus software, a suspend to disk utility, and even DirectX 6.1. Of course, there's also the traditional chipset patches and drivers. The CD is not board specific and does not include an online version of the manual.

Index The Bad

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