Foxconn NF4UK8AA-8EKRS - Page 6

..:: NF4UK8AA-8EKRS System BIOS ::..

The NF4UK8AA-8EKRS’ BIOS is nearly identical to that of the NF4K8MC-ERS. When you enter the BIOS, you’ll come across all of those usual 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.

The first menu that we’ll be diving into is labeled as “BIOS Feature”. This menu houses all four of the features / technologies that Foxconn has implemented into their NF4UK8AA-8EKRS. If you’re familiar with Foxconn motherboards, then you can just skip ahead a few paragraphs as you’re likely already familiar with the SuperBoot and SuperSpeed selections that I’ll now be covering.

For those of you whom aren’t familiar with Foxconn products, first we have SuperBoot. All this feature does is store boot data in the CMOS so that when the system is booted up again later, the boot process takes less time and yields a faster start up. This isn’t much of a special feature as this is common on nearly all motherboards. Next up, we have the SuperBIOS-Protect option, which seems to be a glorified capability to prevent a virus from corrupting the system BIOS, again a fairly standard feature on most modern motherboards. SuperRecovery is meant for data protection should something happen with the HDD.

Now, we have SuperSpeed, the most useful of these items. SuperSpeed usually features a submenu that usually allows for control over such items as the multiplier, memory frequency, FSB, and voltage adjustments. As can be seen in the image above, the only two options that Foxconn has made available are for selection of the PCI-Express clock, as well as the FSB. The FSB selections go as high as 300.0MHz. It turns out that the main overclocking settings have been moved to their own menu in this BIOS incarnation.

The Advanced Chipset Features submenu houses all of the memory timing selections as well as the HT configurations. Foxconn allows for adjustment of the HT Frequency and Width. The Frequency goes to a maximum of x5, while 16 up 16 down is the maximum width. The DRAM configuration submenu houses the memory tweaking selections. Foxconn offers the standard CAS, RAS to CAS, RAS to Precharge, and Precharge timing selections. As with the NF4K8MC-ERS, Foxconn has implemented a Maximum Memclock setting to limit the memory frequency. Other capabilities here include spread spectrum options, as well as thermal-throttling.

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 NVIDIA RAID, USB 2.0, AC 97’Audio, Integrated LAN, Serial Port, Parallel Port, and more. The USB 2.0 settings can be configured with options for controlling the TD Reads, Periodic Reads, and 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 the proper VCore at roughly 1.42V. Foxconn also adds an option to select a shutdown temperature for the system. Unlike the NF4K8MC-ERS, however, there is no option for controlling the fan RPM’s. This thermal fan throttling feature was present on the uATX board, yet not the more advanced nForce4 Ultra motherboard. I would’ve liked to see this feature implemented into the NF4UK8AA-8EKRS as well.

Finally, we have the X-BIOS II Overclocking menu. Given that Foxconn ha snow progressed to a full menu for overclcoking options, they should do away with the “SuperSpeed” portion of the BIOS and simply put the CPU Frequency selection in this menu. Within the X-BIOS II menu, the user can adjust the chipset VCore from 1.60V to 1.80V, the VDIMM from 2.50V to 2.80V, the HTT voltage from 1.30V to 1.60V, and finally the CPU voltage from 1.200V to 1.800V in the typical 25mV range.

The Foxconn Winfast NF4UK8AA-8EKRS ships with a much better BIOS, given the price and audience target, than did the NF4K8MC-ERS. However, it also falls short of what we had hoped for. Foxconn has upped the FSB Frequency capability, as well as added additional settings for control over the most important voltages within the system. If we remember back, the NF4K8MC-ERS featured zero voltage adjustments, so this is obviously a big and expected improvement given the nForce4 Ultra chipset. The main improvement would be an increased VDIMM past 2.80V. This is okay for some RAM, but for real overclocking 2.80V is nothing. A clock multiplier adjustment would’ve also been an excellent inclusion.

..:: Overclocking Capabilities ::..

Well, top FSB setting for the NF4UK8AA-8EKRS is a solid 300.0MHz. Throughout testing, I found that the highest stable FSB that was achievable was again just shy of 230.0MHz. As the FSB was raised from this point on, some stability problems began to appear and become more frequent. At 230.0MHz 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 board didn’t corrupt my Windows XP install when it went too far though, so that’d definitely an up against the NF4K8MC-ERS. A multiplier adjustment would help greatly with overclocking, so with luck Foxconn might include an option in the future for this. Overclocking wise, this isn’t what you want from an nForce4 Ultra motherboard, so stay away unless you’re only looking for mild overclocks.