EPIA MII 12000 Review
The EPIAs all use a fully featured Award BIOS as seen on many motherboards, activated by holding down the Delete key during startup. This allows you to tailor the system to your requirements. However before you do anything, here's something we've learnt from supporting customers on our online store for the past 2 years - the default settings are almost always the fastest and most stable settings you can choose. Unless you have good reason to, you won't need to make any changes.
Rather than list the manual, we'll list some interesting and useful features of the included BIOS.
- To speed up boot time, Enable "Quick Power On Self Test" and disable the "Onboard LAN Boot ROM" - unless you intend to boot using PXE.
- You can disable the "Summary Information", (rather natty) "Full Screen logo" and "Small logo" (energy star logo) for a tidier screen during bootup.
- The "Onboard LAN" is DISABLED in the "Fail Safe Defaults". Don't forget to re-enable it after you mess up your settings!
- You can monitor your booting CPU temperature, CPU fan speed and system fan speed in the BIOS. A C3 in an EBGA package is rated up to 85 degrees, although in practice a running machine would reboot or freeze at around 70-75 degrees.
- The "TV Type" and "Display Device" are configurable in the BIOS. If you set the Display Device to TV, you will *still* need to set the display device in Windows. Check out the "Connecting an EPIA to a TV" section of our often startlingly similar Nehemiah EPIA M review.
- When using an LCD screen, be sure to set "Display Device" to either "LCD" or "CRT+LCD". Without this setting, and with some particular models of screen, nothing will appear on the screen at startup. You may need to do this with the help of an old school CRT monitor. Dang.
- If you have no picture during startup, either after the BIOS screen, or after the Windows logo, try setting the BIOS back to failsafe defaults. Make sure that if you are using an LCD display, this Display Type is selected in the BIOS, and the resolution matches your panel resolution.
- In the "Peripheral Activities" sub-menu of the "Power Management" menu, you can define events that will wake the EPIA from a power off or suspended mode - such as keyboard shortcuts, by USB device, by PCI card (e.g. a network card), modem ring, and even allowing a bootup on a scheduled time and date.
- We found we could affect performance hugely by experimenting with the "Frequency/Voltage control Settings". After testing over 25 different variants of CAS latencies, Bank Interleave and other RAM settings with several brands of memory, we determined the fastest groups of settings were always when we let the BIOS determine them for us, by choosing the default settings. Select "DRAM Timing" to "By SPD" and save yourself a lot of time! Most RAM will support "DRAM Command Rate" at "1T", though this feature isn't present in the BIOS for all the boards tested here.
- If you are experiencing instability, try disabling "CPU to PCI Post Write" or setting the "DRAM Burst Len" to 4.
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