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.
Here's a diagram to demonstrate what we just
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
Rather than list the manual,
we'll list some interesting and useful features of the included
- 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.
Headers and Jumpers -->