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Building Your Own Computer Like My Super PC


The table below shows the BIOS settings I am using on the ABIT KT7A motherboard. My ABIT KT7A BIOS version is 65, dated 11/7/2001. Italics indicate values that are not updateable, although they might be under different BIOS settings.

A description for the settings used in the ABIT KT7A BIOS can be found in
This BIOS settings reference available from WickedCases is an excellent source of additional information.
This BIOS optimization guide available from Adrian's Rojak Pot is another outstanding source.
This unofficial ABIT KT7 FAQ reference from Paul Howland is a wonderful source of information about the ABIT KT7/KT7A motherboards, including the BIOS.

SoftMenu III

CPU Operating Speed 1800+(133)  
Multiplier Factor x11.5  
CPU FSB/PCI Clock 133/33MHz  
CPU FSB Plus (MHz) 0  
Speed Error Hold Disabled  
CPU Power Supply CPU Default  
Core Voltage 1.750v  
I/O Voltage 3.40v Interesting, since this value defaulted to 3.30v on the ABit KT7 with BIOS version UL. Increasing this voltage is a possible solution for the dreaded "No Video Card Found" BIOS error (one-long-beep-then-two-short-beeps). Looks like ABit has been paying attention to those trouble reports!
Fast CPU Command Decode Fast  
Output Drive Control Manual Allows the next value to be set.
-Output Drive Strength 2 A setting of 2 is best for system stability, but a setting of 3 may boost performance at the risk of introducing instability.
Enhance Chip Performance Enabled Aggressive CPU scheduling.
Force 4-way interleave Enabled The description of this BIOS setting in the WickedCases reference above shows how to use SiSoft Sandra Standard to tell if you have this or not.
Enable DRAM 4K page mode Enabled Improve memory bandwidth.
DRAM clock Host CLK Use this setting with a 266FSB processor.

Standard CMOS Features

IDE Primary Master IC35L080AVVA07-0 The hard drive and CD-ROM should not be on the same IDE since doing so will cause them both to run at the speed of the slower device. The CD-ROM is much slower than the hard drive. Placing them on separate IDEs allows them to both run at their maximum speeds.
IDE Primary Slave None  
IDE Secondary Master 40X CD-ROM  
IDE Secondary Slave None  
Drive A 1.44M, 3.5 in  
Drive B None  
Floppy 3 Mode Support Disabled Floppy 3 is the Japanese standard floppy drive mode. It stores 1.2MB on a 3.5" diskette instead of 1.44MB.
Video EGA/VGA  
Halt On All, But Keyboard Halt on all errors except Keyboard Absent error. This enables the machine to boot without the keyboard plugged in.
Base Memory 640K DOS device drivers, TSRs and any programs to be run, plus their data.
Extended Memory 523264K Memory above 1 MB is known as extended memory, and is not normally usable under DOS.
Total Memory 524288K Base + Upper + Extended = Total Memory.

Advanced BIOS Features

Virus warning Disabled Symantec Norton Antivirus protects My Super PC.
Quick Power On Self Test Enabled Skip Power On Self-Tests for faster boot.
First Boot Device HDD-0 Skipping the floppy saves a bit of boot time. Set back to Floppy for disaster recovery procedures.
Second Boot Device HDD-0 If the First Boot Device didn't do the trick then it's big trouble.
Third Boot Device HDD-0 Ditto.
Boot Other Device Disabled Gives the "ok" for the BIOS to try the Second Boot Device and Third Boot Device if the First Boot Device is a "no-go", but My Super PC just boots from the hard drive so - Disabled.
Swap Floppy Drive Disabled I've only got one floppy drive, so it's going to be A:.
Boot Up Floppy Seek Disabled Skipping this check makes the boot go a bit faster.
Boot Up NumLock Status Off This item is a matter of personal taste.
Typematic Rate Setting Enabled  
Typematic Rate (Chars/Sec) 30 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 24, 30
Typematic Rate Delay (Msec) 250 250, 500, 750, 1000. This is the delay, in milliseconds, before the keyboard automatically repeats the keystroke that you have pressed continuously.
Security Option Setup If you have set a password, select whether the password is required every time the System boots, or only when you enter Setup. I don't even have a password set, so it's a moot point.
OS Select For DRAM > 64MB Non-OS2 IBM's relic.
Video BIOS Shadow Disabled Your system will perform better with this setting at Disabled. As you can read in the MS Knowledge base, shadowing is not an advantage. Only enable this if you still use DOS mode a lot, where it can improve performance as it will speed up VGA BIOS (C0000-C7FFF) accesses.
C8000-CBFFF Shadow Disabled 16K expansion card (such as network adapters) BIOS blocks, not system or video BIOS. Turning on shadowing would speed these adapters up in the same way that shadowing the system BIOS speeds up the system BIOS code. However, things are much more tricky here, because some adapters use RAM as well as ROM. If they do, and you enable shadowing, the adapter will malfunction because shadowing write-protects the RAM it uses.
CC000-CFFFF Shadow Disabled Ditto.
D0000-D3FFF Shadow Disabled Ditto.
D4000-D7FFF Shadow Disabled Ditto.
D8000-DBFFF Shadow Disabled Ditto.
DC000-DFFFF Shadow Disabled Ditto.
Delay for IDE Initial (Secs) 0 Certain hard disk drives require some extra time to spin up in a cold boot. If the system does not start after the memory test, try adding time in this field.

Advanced Chipset Features

Bank 0/1 DRAM Timing Turbo Turbo setting will work with good name-brand PC133 SDRAM, like Crucial.
Bank 2/3 DRAM Timing Turbo Ditto.
Bank 4/5 DRAM Timing Turbo Ditto.
DRAM Bank Interleave 4-way Check the description of this BIOS setting in the WickedCases reference to determine the best value for your system.
Delay DRAM Read Latch NO Delay Delay DRAM Read Latch sets the time required to catch DRAM data. If the DRAM load is heavy, such that you had three double sided DRAM modules installed, you may need to choose a longer delay time for data reading.
MD Driving Strength Hi Set this to Hi for added stability, especially with multiple DIMM's in use.
SDRAM Cycle Length 2 My Super PC uses CAS 2 memory.
Memory Hole Disabled Some special ISA cards require this area of memory for them to work properly. Enabling this function reserves the memory area for the card's use. It will also prevent the system from accessing memory above 16MB. This means that if you enable this function, your OS can only use up to 15MB of RAM, irrespective of how much RAM your system actually has. So, always disable this function unless your ISA card absolutely requires this memory area to work properly.
PCI Master Pipeline Req Enabled  
P2C/C2P Concurrency Enabled Set to Enabled if you have a SoundBlaster Live! card, and who doesn't?
Fast R-W Turn Around Enabled I'll leave it set this way since it sounds faster, but my 3DMark2000 scores don't really change if this is set to Disabled.
System BIOS Cacheable Disabled This feature is only valid when the system BIOS (F0000-FFFFF) is shadowed. It greatly speeds up accesses to the system BIOS. However, this does not translate into much better system performance because the OS does not need to access the system BIOS much. As such, it would be a waste of L2 cache bandwidth to cache the system BIOS instead of data that are more critical to the system's performance. In addition, if any program writes into this memory area, it will result in a system crash.
Video RAM Cacheable Disabled Set to Disabled for all nVidia based cards.
AGP Aperture Size 64MB The BIOS optimization guide reference from Adrian's Rojak Pot above provides a great description of how this should be set and why. A value of 64MB is best for most configurations.
AGP-4X Mode Enabled  
AGP Driving Control Auto Setting to Manual may destabilizes the video card.
AGP Driving Value DA Depends on video card, 0xDA to 0xEA is claimed to be OK by Abit.
Fast Write Supported Supported I'll leave it set this way since it sounds faster, but my 3DMark2000 scores don't really change if this is set to Not Supported.
CPU to PCI Write Buffer Enabled The faster setting is Enabled since the CPU can buffer data and minimize the time it has to wait on the slower PCI bus to be ready.
PCI Dynamic Bursting Enabled Block store instructions in memory, then send to PCI device en masse.
PCI Master 0 WS Write Enabled Performance is better when set to Enabled. But set to Disabled if you're overclocking the PCI bus and things are unstable.
PCI Delay Transaction Enabled This option should be enabled for better performance and to meet PCI 2.1 specifications. Disable it only if your PCI cards cannot work properly or if you are using an ISA card that is not PCI 2.1 compliant.
Delay Transaction Enabled  
PCI Master Read Caching Enabled Recommended to set Enabled for AMD Athlon Thunderbird and Disabled for AMD Duron. The main reason for this recommendation is that the Duron's Level 2 cache is only half that of the Athlon Thunderbird. Therefore, the Athlon Thunderbird can afford to cache the PCI master reads and possibly gain some performance points while in the Duron the same feature might actually result in a performance hit caused by cache overflow.
PCI#2 Access #1 Retry Disabled For optimal performance.
AGP Master 1 WS Write Enabled By default, the AGP busmastering device waits for at least 2 wait states before it starts a write transaction. This option sets the delay to 1 wait state. This setting works fine with the motherboard and video card I have in My Super PC. But if you see anything strange with your graphics then set back to Disable and see if it clears up.
AGP Master 1 WS Read Enabled Default is at least 2 wait states. The Comments under AGP Master 1 WS Write apply.
PCI Master Bus Time-out 1  

Integrated Peripherals

Onboard IDE 1 Controller Enabled These are the ATA/100 IDE controllers.
Onboard IDE 2 Controller Enabled Ditto.
Master Drive PIO Mode Auto Set all of these to Auto and let the BIOS determine if each drive is capable of DMA support, and its respective PIO mode.
Slave Drive PIO Mode Auto Ditto.
Master Drive Ultra DMA Auto Ditto.
Slave Drive Ultra DMA Auto Ditto.
IDE Prefetch Mode Enabled For best performance.
Init Display First AGP Set to AGP if your primary display is your AGP adapter, or to PCI if the primary display is a PCI video card.
USB Controller Enabled  
USB Keyboard Support BIOS  
IDE HDD Block Mode Enabled Enable this to allow the BIOS to determine the optimum block sizes for best performance.
Onboard FDD Controller Enabled I do have floppy.
Onboard Serial Port 1 3F8/IRQ4 Standard.
Onboard Serial Port 2 2F8/IRQ3 Standard.
- Onboard IR Function Disabled No Infra-Red devices.
- IR Function Duplex Half  
Onboard Parallel Port 378/IRQ7 Standard.
Onboard Parallel Mode Normal Set this to Normal unless you have a device or printer that specifically requires use of ECP/EPP modes such as a parallel port scanner, zip drive, etc.
- ECP Mode Use DMA 3  
- Parallel Port EPP Type EPP1.9  

Power Management Setup

ACPI Suspend Type S1(POS)  
PM Control by APM Yes If you're using Windows (and who doesn't?), set this to Yes.
Video Off Option Suspend -> Off Screen off when system is in SUSPEND mode.
Video Off Method DPMS Support Set this to DPMS if you have a PnP capable monitor.
Modem Use IRQ NA Manually assigning the IRQ is not needed.
Soft-Off By PWRBTN Instant-Off You don't want slow death.
State After Power Failure Off  

PnP/PCI Configurations

PNP OS Installed Yes If you're using Windows (and who isn't?), set this to Yes.
Force Update ESCDDisabled Normally leave this Disabled. But if, for example, you add a new card and the subsequent system reconfiguration causes a serious conflict of resources (maybe the OS won't boot) then setting this to Enabled is a solution to be considered.
Resources Controlled By Auto (ESCD) Let the BIOS figure out IRQ's and DMA channels.
PCI/VGA Palette Snoop Disabled The VGA "palette" is the set of colors that are in use by the videocard when it is in 256-color mode. Since there are thousands of colors and only 256 can be used in that mode, a palette containing the current colors is used. Some special VGA cards, high-end hardware MPEG decoders etc. need to be able to look at the video card's VGA palette to determine what colors are currently in use. Enabling this feature turns on this palette "snoop". This option is only very rarely needed. It should be left at "Disabled" unless a video device specifically requires the setting enabled upon installation.
Assign IRQ for VGA Enabled Set to Yes if you are using an AGP video card.
Assign IRQ for USB Enabled Set to Yes if you are using an USB device.
PIRQ-0 Use IRQ No. Auto The more the BIOS automatically figures out the IRQ settings the better I like it.
PIRQ-1 Use IRQ No. Auto Ditto.
PIRQ-2 Use IRQ No. Auto Ditto.
PIRQ-3 Use IRQ No. Auto Ditto.

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