Skyhawk echo-Q IMC6375 SFF PC - HotHardware

Skyhawk echo-Q IMC6375 SFF PC

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The BIOS of the SkyHawk IMC6375
Still so similar

       

      

The AWARD BIOS that Acorp utilizes on the 4865GQET didn't have many options that were new to us.  We checked through the usual sections such as Advanced BIOS Settings and Advanced Chipset Features and set the system much the same as any other we have tested.  We manually set the GEIL DDR to 2-2-2-5 timings in the Advanced Chipset Features while leaving the speed set to AUTO (DDR400).  Since we planned on using the GeForce 5900XT, we disabled on-board graphics and set the AGP Aperture to 256MB.  We moved on through the remaining sections, such as Power Management and PC Health, but left most of these sections as is.  PC Health actually doesn't have any modifications allowed to it, and is used strictly for monitoring temperatures, fan speeds, and voltages.

While on the Integrated Peripherals menu we didn't find anything else new, but in this case that was unexpected.  According to the manual, the ETBIOS settings were supposed to be found here.  Enabling ETBIOS allows the system to boot directly into this mini-OS, and play not only CD audio but DVD videos as well.  We could not find these settings anywhere in the BIOS, even after downloading Version 1.4 from Acorp's website.  Finally, after some repeated head-banging, we acted on a hunch.  Our thought was that the ETBIOS DVD player wouldn't be able to function on every single video card that was installed.  It would, however, know how to use the integrated video.  Following this hunch, we removed the 5900XT, rebooted, and sure enough the ETBIOS settings appeared where they should have been.  This was not covered anywhere in the literature, and it's hardly likely that PC enthusiasts will settle for Intel's Extreme Graphics to suit their needs.  One other hiccup we ran into was the drive format.  We originally had a Samsung CD-ROM drive installed, but could not play an audio CD through the ETBIOS' player.  Only after installing a Lite-On DVD-ROM were we able to play not only DVD movies (obviously) but CD audio as well.  Again, this is not covered in any of the manuals and caused unnecessary confusion.

Overclocking Tools
Not much to work with

       

After experimenting with the ETBIOS, we got around to overclocking the IMC6375.  Our options were very slim in this department.  Under Frequency/Voltage Control, we found choices for disabling Spread Spectrum, CPU Clock settings, and DDR voltages choices.  The front side bus was entered in directly from the CPU Clock menu, with a range from 200MHz to 233MHz.  The choice seems rather limited, but without any CPU Voltage options we probably wouldn't be able to get much further that 233MHz anyway.  Our only voltage options were limited to the RAM, where we could raise the voltage from 2.5V to a max of 3.0V.  One thing that might get overlooked was the DDR speeds, however.  After raising the FSB, you may need to go back and change the CPU:DDR ratio so that the memory doesn't flake out.  But we found the Memory Frequency setting way back in Advanced Chipset menu, and choices for DDR400 (1:1), DDR320 (5:4) and DDR266 (3:2) can be used.



SANDRA CPU Benchmark


PCMark04 Benchmark



We knew full well that Springdale motherboards and the 2.4GHz P4 we use for testing are very capable of superb overclocked speeds, but with our hands tied by the BIOS we couldn't set our sights too high.  In our initial attempt, we set the front side bus speed up directly up to 233MHz, the maximum speed possible, but couldn't boot the system.  After two failed attempts, the CMOS reset back to fail-safe settings and we could try again.  This time, remembering the CPU/DDR dividers, we used the DDR320 setting to bring down the RAM speed to 188MHz (372MHz effective) which was well under the DDR400 the DIMMS were rated at.  This proved to be the trick, and we were able to complete some benchmarks at the maximum speed the BIOS would allow.

As seen in the SANDRA and PCMark04 screen captures, we were now running our 2.4GHz Pentium 4 at 2.81GHz, which actually comes out higher than the expected 2.79GHz (233MHzx12).  As expected, we got some immediate improvement in performance, not only with the CPU, but with relative memory performance as well.  Our new score in SANDRA was well beyond our original results, and bettered the other CPUs used for comparison.  Additionally, the PCMARK04 results we got while overclocked were 16% better for CPU performance and 10% better for the memory.  The jump in CPU performance was right on the money, since the 33MHz bump is just over 16% higher than stock speed.

 

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