Following our first preview article, we continue today with article focusing on the BIOS options, as well as the initial Vista 64 findings on this huge 48 GB machine before going into the benchmark realm in the Tuesday's Part 3.
Naturally, this being a workstation machine which can also be used as a departmental server or visual supercomputer cluster node, Super Micro has included a whole range of BIOS options that you'd never, and I mean never, expect to see on any desktop motherboard, no matter how high end. We included some of the BIOS screenshots in the first part of our article, and we'll go into more advanced options of the BIOS here.
DIMM Distance pitch... 425 (?) between two DIMMs
Just look at some of them, such as DIMM socket distance pitch, which is useful if you also have the ability to fine tune the RAM timings (well OK, that pitch would be fixed at the motherboard design stage - you can't exactly move the DIMM sockets around!). I have not yet tried to manually adjust the altitude and temperature sensitivity settings for the DIMMs to see what impact, if any, they have.
Advanced options for enabling Virtualization...and PCIe Gen1 compatibility selector.
The usual choice of managing so many memory channels is there, by either interleaving them for maximum bandwidth – which is always the choice on a workstation or extreme desktop - or instead creating memory mirroring; or even lock-stepping the two CPU's memory arrays for selected mission critical use. There are also more CPU and North Bridge options than usual, including added virtualization settings including virtualized I/O support.
Advanced BIOS options... workstation owners rejoice, enthusiasts - demand that Intel comes out with V16
Super Micro is known for its very conservative performance settings, as there are practically no adjustments possible here: no changes in CPU multiplier [even if you had an unlocked processor], no voltage or even fan speed control changes, no base system clock adjustments, and of course no memory latency or voltage controls. As mentioned before, the option to force the memory speed to a higher clock than the default can be selected, but doesn't work. Also, since the system clock here is 133 MHz and not 133.3 MHz, the CPUs end up working at 3,192 MHz instead of 3,200 [or probably 3,208 on an ASUS] so the benchmark results may end up this little bit slower than some other 3.2 GHz W5580 systems - more about that on Tuesday.
Continued on the next page...
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