Mailbag 11th October 2010

Accessing RAM & CPU Information in the BIOS

Dirk asks:

How do I check my BIOS to see that it recognizes my RAM? How do I check the speed of the RAM? If needs be, how do I change it? Also how do I check if my BIOS is reading the 2 cores on my processor?

There are a few different types of BIOS with varying ways of accessing certain parts of information, unfortunately if your machine is an OEM machine such as Dell, HP, Acer or any other branded machine, chances are you aren’t going to be able to access the most part of this information.

Firstly to enter the BIOS within a few seconds of you have turning on your machine you should see information depending on the BIOS manufacturer of how to access it, such as Enter BIOS/System Information followed by pressing either an F2, F10 key or the delete key.

NOTE:
DO NOT GET THIS MIXED UP WITH SOME MACHINES SUCH DELL’S OR HP’S WHERE SOME MODELS HAVE AN F4 KEY FOR EMERGENCY BOOT WHICH WILL COMPLETELY WIPE YOUR MACHINE AS IF YOU JUST TOOK IT OUT OF THE BOX.

Once in the BIOS you are looking for something that says Standard CMOS features or advanced settings, in here you should find system information, you should be able to see Physical Memory and/or Usage Memory, and these don’t always necessarily match, you should also be able to find that your processor information is displayed around here, although it would be unusual to see the processor displayed with how many cores it has but again this depends on the BIOS itself.

Task Manager

The best way to actually check whether your machine is seeing both cores of your processor is to open up Task Manager and click on performance, under CPU History there should be multiple graphs to as many cores on your CPU, the likely hood is that if your machine wasn’t seeing all the cores on your processor it probably wouldn’t be working.

In order to check/change memory speeds, you need to be looking in the BIOS for frequency’s and voltages. Here you will be able to change the CPU, FSB (Front Side Bus Controller) and DRAM Frequency. Mostly you will need to change the system clock mode to manual/linked and then you will be able to go on and change the Memory clock speed and/or timings, you will need to refer to the RAM manufacturer and motherboard manual for exact settings.

WARNING:
UNDERTAKING ANY OF THE ADVICE ABOVE COULD SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HARDWARE SUCH AS MOTHERBOARD, RAM AND CPU IF THE SETTINGS ARE NOT CORRECT. ONLY UNDERTAKE ABOVE ADVICE WITH MANUFACTURE’S CORRECT SETTINGS AT HAND, I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY FAILURES FROM FOLLOWING OF THIS ADVICE.

Written by

Matthew Glover
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