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Nehemiah M10000 Review
Posted on May 19, 2003

Back Panel Connectors

Back Panel Connectors

The EPIA M manages to pack quite a few connectors into its back panel. They include the standard PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse connectors, 2 x USB 2.0 Ports (USB 1.1 devices will also work), and an extremely useful RJ-45 port to connector to a Local Area Network. The Parallel Port is a standard printer port supporting EPP and ECP modes, and the Serial Port is the standard 9-pin affair. The S-Video Port allows S-Video output in NTSC and PAL modes - this will give the best picture quality on a television, unless you are lucky enough to have one a Plasma with VGA input. The RCA Video or S/PDIF Port is a dual function port that may be used either as a composite video port or S/PDIF audio port - it is switchable by a jumper behind it. The Audio Port connectors look standard at first glance, but double as 6 channel outputs with a neat hardware trick called Smart 5.1 switchable in software.

Back Panel Connectors

Here's a diagram to demonstrate what we just talked about.

BIOS Settings and Quirks

The EPIA M uses a fully featured Award BIOS as seen on many motherboards, activated by pressing the DEL key during startup. This allows you to tailor the system to your requirements.

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 "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.

- 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 current CPU temperature, CPU fan speed and system fan speed in the BIOS. Using the provided MissionControl utility, this data is also available in Windows. A C3 in an EBGA package is rated up to 85 degrees.

- 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 with the "Frequency/Voltage control Settings". 3DMark2001 scores could be halved by choosing settings incompatible with the installed RAM. 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. Select "DRAM Timing" to "By SPD" and save yourself a lot of time. Try "DRAM Command Rate" at "1T" if your RAM supports it.

- If you are experiencing instability, try disabling "CPU to PCI Post Write" or setting the "DRAM Burst Len" to 4.

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