Dual BIOS Intel 440BX motherboard
Wednesday, May 19, 1999
As a world recognized motherboard manufacturer acclaimed since many years, Gigabyte is very well know for the quality of its products. Coming from a long manufacturing tradition, the Gigabyte GA-BX2000 is the fruit of the genius of Gigabyte engineers. The GA-BX2000 is an Intel 440BX based Slot1 motherboard with a very interesting special feature named Dual BIOS. This feature, especially designed to enhance protection against virus will explain later on in more detail to my great pleasure and yours I hope :-) . Offering full support for both Pentium II and Pentium III processors up to 650Mhz, the BX2000 has almost all one can dream of. As a fact, the GA-BX2000 is following the famous GA-6BXE I tested with delights not long ago and it retain most of the fantastic features of this motherboard.
Let's see together all there is to know about this highly intriguing new motherboard from Gigabyte in the review I did of it.
The Dual BIOS
You're all certainly wondering what is this Dual BIOS story and what is the use of this feature. This is very simple and let me get the pleasure to explain it to you the best I can.
What is DUAL BIOS?
Dual BIOS means that there are actually two BIOS on the BX2000 motherboard. The first BIOS is called the main BIOS while the second BIOS in called the Backup BIOS.
When is this feature useful?
The first and probably the most probable case where a DUAL BIOS would be coming into help would be in the event a BIOS Flashing procedure failure. Suppose for a moment that you experiment a power down situation right at the middle of a BIOS flashing procedure, the probability that your BIOS will become useless are so high that in fact we could say that the chance that your newly updated BIOS will be in perfect working condition are almost non existent. However, with the DUAL BIOS feature, you will be able to operate your motherboard no matter what happened by recovering the required data from your backup BIOS, isn't it fantastic. ..
The same apply if you have been contaminated by a virus such has the CIH virus. This virus not only destroyed most of the hard disk drives of many peoples but it also emptied the content of their BIOS. If these peoples would have had a BX2000 they could at least have recovered their BIOS from the Backup BIOS and restart their computer. In other words, with a DUAL BIOS, no more down time no matter what happened to your existing BIOS as the Backup BIOS is always there ready to serve and believe me, it works !!! I did several tests including Flashing my BIOS while a config and autoexec files where loaded, Flashing my BIOS and turning off the power in the middle of the flashing procedure and I always have been able to recover from the Backup BIOS without any problems...
How to Use the Dual BIOS?
That's very easy, all you have to do is to press the F1 key while booting, from there, you'll be introduced to a special menu where you will be offered the different DUAL BIOS options.
The expansion possibilities of the GA-BX2000 are including 5 PCI slots, 2 ISA slots, 1 AGP port and 4 DIMM slots like it is more and more popular actually. Most of the PCI and ISA connectors can use full length cards as only the second ISA slot shared with the fist PCI slots could refrain the use of full length cards because of the front panel accessory connectors.
The clock frequencies are spanning from 66Mhz to 133Mhz including: 66Mhz, 75Mhz, 83Mhz, 100Mhz, 112Mhz, 124Mhz, and 133.3Mhz. With the 133Mhz setting, the PCI bus frequency can be selected to run at 44.3Mhz or 33.3Mhz
The clock multipliers can be set from 3X to 9.5X in steps of .5X. There is no processor core voltage adjustment on this motherboard.
A jumper (JP11) is allowing the motherboard to use higher FSB frequencies above 100Mhz and is labeled as Turbo System Acceleration. As s fact, the JP11 jumper has the same effect as the SEL66/100# option of the Abit Soft Menu II which is to deactivate the multiplier lock on certain processors.
Additional features such as: Wake up on LAN, PS2 mouse and keyboard connectors, USB connectors, Irda TX/RX header, SB-Link header, Keyboard power-on, Wake up on modem ring, mouse wake-up, CPU Over Voltage Protection and hardware monitoring are all supported.
Suspend to Ram (STR)
Instead of only offering a suspend to hard disk drive option to store the data on the hard disk drive when the system is in suspend mode, the GA-BX2000 has what is called a STR function. This function is using the system DRAM with very little current drawing to store the data instead on storing it on the hard disk drive. Note that this function is not activated by default and you must follow the instruction of the users manual to enable it.
Below, we have a good picture of the Gigabyte GA-BX2000 motherboard and its components layout;
Note: Click here to read the detailed specifications.
The installation of this motherboard is so easy that I have almost nothing to say on this chapter. As a fact, the users manual covers very well all steps in details. The most complicated part, if I can say so , is to set the clock Dip switches which takes no more than a minute or two in the worst case...
The Software Bundle
The software bundle included with the GA-BX2000 includes: Triones Bus master drivers, BIOS flashing program, a suspend to disk utility, LCDM 3.11, DirectX 6 for Win95/98 from Microsoft, Acrobat Reader Ver.3.01 from Adobe, PC-cillin 98 OEM Setup Ver.4.02 from Trend, XStore Pro Bus Master IDE Driver Ver.120 for All Chipsets from Highpoint SIV Ver.1.4a PC Health Detect
Continue on next page with The performance tests results
Intel 440BX AGPset
Intel® Pentium® II / III and Celeron™
Processor 233 to 550 MHz
Slot 1 for future Processor support
66/75*/83*/100/112*/124*/133* MHz System Bus
Auto Detect CPU Voltage
Clock multiplier 3.0/3.5 ...... / 6.5
Intel® 440 BX AGPset
iTE 8671 I/Oset
Winbond 83782 Health Chip
8MB to 1GB DRAM size
4 x 3.3V DIMM size
Supports 8/16/32/64/128/256 MB SDRAM DIMM Module
Supports ECC Type DIMM Module (72 bits)
1 x AGP Slot Supports 66/133 MHz speeds
5 x PCI Slot Supports 33MHz & PCI 2.2 compliant
2 x ISA Slot
2 x Ultra DMA/33 Bus Master IDE ports on board
1 x FDD, 2 x COM, 1 x LPT, PS/2 Keyboard, PS/2 Mouse on board
2 x USB ports on board
IrDA TX / RX Header (optional)
ATX Power connector
Power-on by K/B, PS/2 Mouse, LAN, RTC, Modem (COM A or B) & Switch
Power-off by Windows® 98 Shut down & Switch
AC Recovery ON/OFF control
Stop CPU Fan during entering suspend mode
3 Level ACPI LED Support
ATX , 4 layer PCB (30.7*19.2cm)
Flexible Temperature sensor under processor Heatsink
Auto speed down and Alarm when CPU overheat or Fan failure
(OS independent & Driverless)
System Health status detect & report by BIOS, LDCM®, SIV.
Hardware Detects +/- 5v, +/-12v, CPU Voltage & CMOS battery Status
Includes DualBIOS Technology; 2Mbit Flash RAM
AWARD BIOS with Enhanced ACPI Feature for PC98 / Win98 Compliance, Green, PnP, DMI,
INT13 (>8.4GB) & Anti-Virus functions
IDE#1~#4, SCSI, LS120, ZIP & CD-ROM bootable
Auto-detect & report system health status
Includes Wake On LAN Header (WOL) & SB-LINKTM connector
On board PC speaker; Supports Internal / External modem wake on
3 Fan Power & Speed Detection Connectors; Case open Detection
Poly fuse for keyboard overcurrent protection
Intel® LDCM® utility, SIV utility
Ultra DMA/33 Bus Master IDE Driver (Xstore Pro, Triones & Intel® )
Intel® PIIX4e Patch Utility for Windows® 95
TREND MICRO PC-cillin 98 Anti-Virus utility (scan only)