The ASUS M3A78-T motherboard uses American Megatrends BIOS Version 0903, which enabled the Advanced Clock Calibration option for all AM2+ and AM3 processors. This is the latest non-beta version available through Asus’s website.
Main menu screen with system date, time, IDE devices, SATA devices, and eSATA devices listed. Also has links to storage configuration and general system information.
Quick shot of the System Information screen
Advanced System Settings menu
AI Overclocking options menu – Manual, Auto, Standard, and Overclock Profile. We set it to manual to gain full access to every overclocking option available.
AI Overclocking menu options when set to Manual.
Front Side Bus Frequency can be set between 200 and 600MHz.
PCIE Frequency can be set between 100 and 150MHz.
“Processor Frequency Multiplier” or CPU Clock configuration options
Processor-Northbridge Frequency Multiplier configuration options
CPU-Northbridge Hyper Transport link speed settings can be set between 200MHz and 2.2GHz.
There are a variety of voltage options available under the manual setting under AI Overclocking. CPU voltages can be increased or decreased in .0125v increments.
The Southbridge voltage can also be configured to run between 1.2v and 1.35v.
DDR voltage on this motherboard can be pushed to 2.5v.
The Northbridge voltage section has two items underneath it — the Hyper Transport voltage and Core/PCIe voltage. Both of these options can be configured independently. The HT voltage can be bumped up from 1.2 to 1.4v.
The Core/PCIe voltage can handle between 1.1 and 1.6 volts. The standard voltage for the core and PCI/e is 1.3v.
Memory Configuration section under Advanced settings
DRAM timings can be configured manually under DRAM Timing in the Advanced menu. This includes setting the Memory Clock value, 2T mode, and DRAM timing mode.
Here’s a shot of the DRAM Timing Mode sub-menu expanded out to see all the available sections that can be tweaked with the memory.
CPU Configuration page under the Advanced menu. Includes options for setting AMD’s Cool n’ Quiet function, ACPI SRAT Table, CIE support, CPU prefetching, Processor downcore, Advanced Clock Calibration, and AMD Live!. The most important section to note here is the ACC sub-menu because this is where users can increase the upper overclocking spectrum of current Phenom processors.
The inclusion of an integrated graphics chip also requires an accompanying option in the BIOS. This is where the Internal Graphics Configuration sub-menu comes in under the Advanced menu. This is where users can overclock every aspect of the GPU, including SidePort memory, GPU clock, UMA frame buffer, and Internal Graphics mode.
Users can configure the GPU engine clock to run between 150 and 1500MHz. This should allow enough flexibility for enthusiasts to tweak the clock speeds any way they want to get a good and stable overclock.
Under the Onboard Devices and Configuration sub-menu, users can configure the Serial Port1 Address, HD audio, front panel audio, SPDIF out mode, Firewire, LAN, and primary display adapter.
The Power menu gives us some standard options for setting the suspend mode, Repost Video on S3 Resume, ACPI 2.0 and APIC support, and APM configuration and access to the hardware monitor.
Here’s a quick shot at the hardware monitor. This section has real-time information on the CPU temps, fan speeds, and voltages.
The Boot menu is pretty standard too. It lets users configure the boot device priority and other boot and security settings.
The Tools menu has ASUS-specific options that you will only find on this vendor’s motherboards. This is where users can configure the ASUS EZ Flash 2, Express Gate, and ASUS O.C. Profile.
The first option we are going to address is the Express Gate menu. There isn’t much to configure in this section other than enabling the program and setting the Boot Out timer and resetting user data.
Lastly, we come to the O.C. Profile configuration menu. This section allows users to create two separate profiles that they can use to set up different overclocking configurations. This is extremely handy if you want to play around with overclocking, but keep a separate profile of stable settings you can use over and over again.
Whew. That was a lot to take in, but this feature-rich BIOS has everything basic to intermediate users will need to tweak every aspect of this motherboard. I was especially happy about the available options for configuring the CPU and onboard graphics. The ability to create two separate O.C. profiles is also very useful and I’m sure will be heavily utilized by consumers. ASUS really seems to have a good handle on what consumers, enthusiasts, and overclockers want in BIOS options and the ASUS M3A78-T motherboard is no exception.