BIOS from A to Z

23. Turn On APIC

The motherboard chipsets generally contain two main components usually called the north bridge and south bridge. These drive data signals between the CPU, system RAM, and expansion cards and other peripheral devices. The following configuration lets the computer handle more interrupts and thus, more devices. The total number of usable interrupts climbs from 16 to 24. In addition, interrupt handling becomes noticeably more flexible, while also leading to time savings in data management.

All you have to do is go to the "Advanced BIOS Features" menu and make sure the "APIC Mode" function is set to "Enabled".

24. Turn On Burst Mode

Access to hard disks, PCI cards and RAM all work faster in "Burst Mode". In this mode of operation, pairs of devices can exchange data especially quickly, because multiple data transfers can be initiated or acknowledged with a single signal instead of requiring each individual item to be handled or acknowledged separately.

In your travels through the BIOS setup program, whenever the "Burst Mode" option appears, make sure it's set to "Enabled". You should also test the system thoroughly for stability after making such a change.

Warning: Many PCI cards won't work properly if the "PCI Dynamic Bursting" option is set to "Enabled".

25. Activate Bus Mastering

Activate Bus Mastering: This setting speeds hard disk access (see Screenshot J.)

This BIOS setting instructs Windows to use the faster DMA (Direct Memory Access) mode when reading from or writing to a hard disk. DMA mode permits disk drives to access system RAM directly without involving the CPU. This speeds access to data on the hard disk, for example, and saves valuable CPU resources.

When the "Integrated Peripherals" menu includes an option named "PCI IDE BusMaster", set its value to "Enabled" as shown in screenshot J. Once this setting has been activated, go to "Start, Control Panel, System" and click on the Device Manager button from its Hardware tab. Look for a subordinate entry that reads something like "IDE ATA/ATAPI Controller" - the designation may vary from motherboard to motherboard. Double click the entry that reads "Primary IDE Channel" and then select the "Advanced Settings" tab. In the device entry pane(s), you should see an entry labeled "Current Transfer Mode". Inside its data field, make sure the entry reads something like "Ultra DMA Mode". Hard disks usually offer a value that reads "Ultra DMA Mode 5 (Ultra 100)", while CD and DVD drives or burners typically operate in Mode 2 (Ultra 33).

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