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BIOS options on mATX boards are typically very spartan. The
presence of an IGP and the more limited cooling associated with an mATX platform
makes manufacturers nervous about allowing users the ability to customize
their clock/voltage settings. ATX boards are usually more tweaker-friendly
and the M3A78 Pro is no exception.
Compared to the M3N78 Pro, Asus provides a few more options
in the M3A78 Pro's BIOS. All the typical voltage and frequency controls
you'd see on a budget enthusiast mainboard are present.
Notable Available BIOS Adjustments
||200Mhz to 600Mhz in 1Mhz increments
||100Mhz to 150Mhz in 1Mhz increments
||533/667/800Mhz (may depend on CPU)
||0.8000V to 1.7000V in 0.025V increments
||1.90V to 2.25V in 0.05V increments
||1.10V to 1.40V in 0.10V increments
|Video Memory Size
||32MB, 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB
Wide ranges are given for CPU frequency and voltage, but memory
settings are more restricted. Unlike the M3N78, The M3A78 offers full memory
timing control for those of you who are into that kind of thing.
The Hardware Monitor section is fairly spartan. CPU and MB temperatures
are reported as well as fan speeds from all three fan headers. The Q-FAN feature
is available with three different settings: Performance, Optimal, and Silent.
There is no separate option for CPU and Chassis fans meaning one of two things:
only the CPU fan can be controlled, or all the fans that can be controlled
use the same profile.
We should also note that almost every time we changed a major
setting in the BIOS, such as voltage, frequency, or Q-FAN profile, the system
failed to POST afterwards. The system had to be powered off and on again,
which as you can imagine can be very annoying. A BIOS update failed to resolve
this issue. While it isn't a game-breaker, it certainly be a deciding factor
if you do enjoy tweaking the BIOS frequently.
Asus Express Gate is a recently added feature that allows users
almost instant access to a web browser, photo viewer, chat client (Pidgin)
and VOIP (Skype). It is powered by Splashtop, an instant-on Linux desktop
developed by DeviceVM. Instead of waiting for up to a minute for the main
operating system to boot-up, Express Gate is available as soon as the system
POSTs. On budget models like the M3A78 and M3N78, Express Gate requires installation
on your primary hard drive (it creates a hidden folder to house itself) prior
to use. On premium models, Express Gate is available right out of the box.
The SlashTop desktop.
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