Chaintech VNF4 Zenith VE - Page 6

..:: VNF4 Zenith VE System BIOS ::..

As far as the VNF4 Zenith VE BIOS goes, Chaintech has opted to go with the traditional Phoenix Award BIOS layout that we have come across countless times in the past. When you enter the BIOS, youíll come across all of the typical menu options such as Standard CMOS Features, Advanced BIOS Features, Advanced Chipset Features, Integrated Peripherals, Power Management Setup, PnP/PCI Configurations, PC Health Status, and all of the Default Settings, etc. Weíll be primarily interested today in the Advanced Chipset Features, Integrated Peripherals, PC Health Status, and the Frequency / Voltage Control.

The Advanced Chipset Features menu houses only a few items, although all of them are of the utmost importance for system performance. Chaintech, much like all other manufacturers, offers a selection of the HT Frequency, and the Width. Each of these will play an important role in both overclocking and overall performance of the system. There are also options for enabling support for the SSE/SSE2 Instructions, as well as typical BIOS options such as Flash Protection.

Much like what we have seen in our years of reviewing motherboards, the Integrated Peripherals window is also broken up into an immense listing of certain specific aspects of the motherboard and the peripherals that are built-in. Within this menu, the user has the ability to configure the IRQ settings of several of the integrated peripherals, along with enabling or disabling the ones that they wish to use or not to use for that matter. Within this menu, we can enable or disable several items such as the Onboard USB 2.0 Controller, Onboard Audio, Integrated LAN, Serial Ports, Parallel Port, and much more.

The next menu that we will be discussing is that of the PC Health Status menu. The menu houses all of the various displays for system temperatures, RPM readings, and voltage readings. As you can see, our Athlon 64 3200+ is running with a VCore of roughly 1.44V. The only selectable option located within this menu is for the shutdown temperature. This setting is, of course, the temperature level at which the system will shut off to prevent damage to the processor or other vital components. The only thing Iíd like to see added is an option for control of fan speed based of system temperature.

The last menu of that we will be addressing today is that of the Frequency / Voltage Control. Within this window, Chaintech has given the end user the capability to adjust the FSB Frequency, VCore, VDimm, Chipset VCore, PCI-E Clock, and the various DRAM Settings. The CPU Frequency can be adjusted by 1.0MHz intervals up to a maximum of 400.0MHz. The DRAM settings are all typical of many boards out there, although Chaintech has thrown a few extras into the mix. The CPU VCore max is 1.700V, VDimm max is 2.90V, and Chipset VCore is 1.70V. Overall, the available voltages should be enough to please an enthusiast looking to grasp some more MHz from their VNF4 Zenith VE.

Overall, we were pleased with the BIOS that Chaintech has chosen to utilize with the VNF4 Zenith VE. Given that the board really isnít geared towards the high-end crowd, I was slightly surprised to see the voltage adjustment capabilities that we found. The voltages that Chaintech supply should be more than enough to get a little extra oomf out of that Athlon 64 and your RAM as well. I was looking for an option for fan speed control based on system temps, but it was not to be found. Chaintech has provided a simple and effective BIOS for budget buyers and new builders. Now, if only they did this type of job with the manual.

..:: Overclocking Capabilities ::..

Well, the highest FSB setting for the VNF4 Zenith VE is a sizeable, yet unattainable 400.0MHz. Throughout testing, I found that the highest stable FSB that was achievable was around 235.0MHz. As the FSB was raised from this point on, some stability problems began to appear and become more frequent. At 235.0MHz and below, the system was still rock solid. By decreasing the HT speed, the overclock went up, but not many out there are looking to do this to attain a few extra MHz. This is better than the two Foxconn boards weíve reviewed thus far for overclocking, though overclocking wise, this still isnít up to par for the high performance crowd.