Intel DG33TL G33 Express chipset mATX motherboard

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BIOS & FAN CONTROL

Intel has traditionally locked down their BIOSs to prevent frequency and voltage manipulation (with their "Bad Axe" series being a notable exception), and the DG33TL follows this tradition. The BIOS is simply crippled. Aside from memory frequency, video memory, and fan control settings, it's a strictly a "look and don't touch" experience. Voltages, CPU frequency and multiplier, and memory timings are not just grayed out — they are not even listed.

Video memory can be assigned or 128MB/256MB in a fixed or dynamic setting. The latter option sets it as the maximum amount that can be assigned by the DVMT (dynamic video memory technology), which varies the amount of memory used depending on the application.


Fan Control menu.

The wording in the Fan Control section was cryptic. We tested how the "Processor Zone Response" setting altered the automatic fan control on the system. Using both the 'Aggressive' and 'Normal' settings, the fan on our Zerotherm heatsink spun between 850 and 900RPM until the CPU temperature was pushed past 62°C, at which point the fan ramped up suddenly to 1700RPM. With the 'Slow' setting the same drastic increase in fan speed was observed, only this time it warmed up to about 72°C before the fan kicked it into gear. The fan's maximum speed is around 2500RPM.


Hardware Monitoring section of the BIOS.

The Hardware Monitoring section of the BIOS reports CPU, motherboard, and both chipset temperatures. Though there are three figures for fan speed reporting, the two 3-pin fan headers would not report the RPM of any fans connected to them, only the 4-pin CPU fan header supported this function.

Hardware Monitoring Software

When we loaded up SpeedFan, we were met with a mainly blank screen. Only the core temperatures of the CPU were reported. SpeedFan 4.33 obviously does not supports the DG33TL at the time of this review.

We decided to try Intel's Desktop Utilities software. Surprisingly, the functionality was quite good. All the available information from the BIOS was presented in a simple and pleasing fashion. A small green circle indicated that everything was nominal. There were also thresholds which could be selected for monitoring various temperatures and voltages. When a threshold is exceeded you have the choice of a blinking tray icon, a pop-up message, or an audio alert.


Intel's hardware monitoring software.



Thresholds for sensor alerts are customizable.

Unfortunately, this utility turned out to be a pain in use. When it loaded for the first time after reboot, the system basically stalled for over a minute. It placed a small icon on the system tray, which when clicked, resulted in another long pause before the program would actually display. Exiting Desktop Utilities resulted in more of the same. It may have been a Vista-related issue; whatever, it was unpleasant.

In the end we found that fan control was only available for 4-pin fans connected to the CPU fan header, and only adjustable via the BIOS. There isn't a whole lot you can do when it comes to fan control, just play with the settings and pray.



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