Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Speed Up PC Performance - BIOS Optimization

What is the BIOS?

The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is a small memory chip located on the motherboard containing data that define the system parameters. As some BIOS data are written in a ROM, it is not possible to change them, however, certain parameters are accessible from the BIOS setup, which can be enabled right after start-up, usually by pressing the <F1> or <DEL> key (it may be another key, in which case at start-up you will see a message like "HIT 'DEL' TO ENTER SETUP"). BIOS setup is a sort of "BIOS configuration panel".

Why Optimise your BIOS?

As we have seen, BIOS configuration allows you to adjust the behaviour of the chipset. For example, you can modify parameters such as the data transfer speed between the different components of the motherboard, and the way in which the transfers occur.

However, all the default parameters (i.e. the parameter settings at the time the manufacturer delivered the BIOS) are configured so that any computer using this BIOS will operate correctly without modifying the parameters. In addition, when assemblers (a person or company who assembles PCs) supply a PC, they do not generally optimise the BIOS for you. In fact, for such a company, a PC that is assembled quickly is generally a large amount of money saved, as demand is high. However, these standard parameters are also the least advantageous settings for your configuration.

By optimising your BIOS you can gain up to 50% more power!

Disable unneeded options:

Some BIOS options are unneeded for recent PCs or the use that you make of them (e.g. network options, ...), so it is possible to accelerate start-up by disabling them.


The BIOS has a small anti-virus which prevents any writes to the Boot sector of your hard drive. Only the installation of a new operating system requires access to this (very sensitive) part of the disk. It is sufficient to enable the Virus Warning option.

Recalibration of the floppy disk drive

At each start-up, the BIOS recalibrates the floppy disk drive, which means that it determines if the floppy disk drive is of the 40- or 80-track type. This can be avoided by disabling the Boot Up Floppy Seek option. 

Cache memory

By correctly configuring the cache memory, the computer performance can be considerably improved. Depending on the machine, it is often helpful to enable the CPU Internal Cache and CPU External Cache options. It is therefore recommended that you run tests with these options enabled and disabled to see which settings yield the best results.

Disable the start-up tests to save time

The RAM tests performed by the BIOS are completely useless. If these options exist, disable them:

Above 1 MB Memory Test

Memory Parity Check Error

Memory Test Tick Sound

On the other hand, you should enable the Quick Power On Self Test option which will accelerate the start-up of your PC.

Hard drive block mode

Block mode lets the system transfer several sectors at once. Enable the IDE HDD Block Mode option if your disk supports this.

Keyboard repeat speed

By enabling the Typematic Rate Setting setting (speed at which the keyboard repeats a character when you hold a key down). The Typematic Rate and Typematic Delay options define the key repetition frequency and the time interval before repetition starts. The values 30 and 250 are optimal values.

Memory access speed

The DMA Clock option defines the direct memory access speed. The higher the value, the better the results. This value must be increased slowly until you find the optimal setting (which will depend on your motherboard).

Memory performance

Enable the DRAM Fast Leadoff and DRAM Posted Write Buffer options Set DRAM Read Burst to the lowest value supported by your PC.

PCI performance

Enable the CPU to PCI Posting, PCI Burst and PCI to CPU Posting options which allow you, respectively, to create buffer systems for the data sent by the CPU to the PCI bus, transfer more data simultaneously and manage a PCI to CPU buffer.

AGP performance

The AGP Aperture Size option lets you define the memory assigned to textures. The higher this value, the faster the memory access. Increase this value step by step until you find the optimal setting.

Boot sequence

The Boot sequence option lets you define the order in which the system chooses the drives from which it will boot up. The boot sequence generally starts with the floppy disk drive (sequence A, C), which means that if the system detects a floppy disk in the drive it will verify that it contains a boot sector and then boot from if it finds one, otherwise it will send an error message indicating that the floppy disk is not bootable, or is not a system disk (sample message:
"Non-system disk or disk error, Replace and strike any key when ready").
This option is useless if you have no intention of booting from a system disk. In fact, this option slows computer startup considerably and is very annoying if you are like me and tend to forget floppy disks in the drive. To disable this option, you need to modify the boot sequence (using the PgUp and Pgdown keys), until it is something like 'C, A'. Don't forget to reset the sequence to 'A, C' the day you need to boot from a system disk.

Auto-detection of disks

Detection of hard drives can take time if you have several hard drives. To save time at start-up, it is recommended that you fix the parameters of your hard drives in the STANDARD CMOS SETUP. If you know the number of cylinders, tracks and sectors per track of your hard drive (these values are generally written on the disk) you can enter them manually, otherwise, you can run automatic hard drive detection (IDE HDD AUTO DETECTION) which will determine these values for you.


It will speed up startup process which will inturn increase system performance.

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