Choice of System and BIOS options
With AMD and Intel providing similar priced models all over the performance spectrum it was interesting to see an AMD CPU inside this system. Price wise the Intel Pentium E2140 will surely give this AMD a run for its money, at a similar budget. We hope Dollarshops will provide an Intel based budget system in the future to give the end user more choice.
The AMD AM2 system comes with a Jetway motherboard featuring onboard VGA based on the NVIDIA 6150 GPU, a 6 series video card at a time where we are waiting for the 9 series and are enjoying the 8 series does mean we have low expectations when it comes down to gaming. For office usage however the GPU does meet requirements for running Windows Vista with Aero enabled, and in our tests the system could handle HD content up to 720p (x264 codec) without issue.
Before we start our performance benchmarks, let’s dive into the BIOS to see if this budget board offers any tweaking options. Scanning the Phoenix Award bios we notice an interesting menu choice in the right column, the “Power User Overclock Settings”
Seeing such a menu in the BIOS of a budget motherboard is quite surprising, the amount of available adjustments is almost on par with that of more expensive AMD enthusiast motherboards. You can separate control PCIE clock, select negative memory dividers, change CPU ratio and vcore, adjust LDT, Northbridge and DRAM voltage.PCIE clock up to 150Mhz
FSB up to 400
DRAM at 400/533/667/800
Vcore up to 1.5v and possibility to add another 14.5%
LDT voltage up to 1.23v
NB voltage 1.37v
DRAM voltage up to an impressive 2.42v
Detailed options for the memory timings can be found under another submenu:
DRAM configuration screen is quite complete, at the bottom (not shown in in photo) you can set Command rate 1/2T
The VGA settings menu displayed an interesting option:
The default speed of the 6150 GPU is 525Mhz, the BIOS allows you to change it from 400~625 in 1Mhz steps!
Last section of the BIOS worth mentioning is the PC Health sub menu, where you can control the CPU fan, allowing you to let the fan spin slower when the CPU is idle and thereby reducing overall noise.
Setting it to Idle Temp 50°C and Full Speed 65°C had favorable results. Speaking of which, time for some performance tests ->