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Breaking Through the BIOS Barrier: The Definitive BIOS Optimization Guide for PCs [Paperback]

Adrian Wong
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

27 Aug 2004
What is a BIOS? BIOS, pronounced "bye-ose," is an acronym that standsfor Basic Input Output System. The BIOS is built-in software that determineswhat a computer can do without accessing programs from a disk. On PCs, theBIOS contains all the code required to control the keyboard, display screen,disk drives, serial communications, and a number of miscellaneous functions.Furthermore, The BIOS is responsible for booting your PC by providing abasic set of instructions. The BIOS performs all the necessary tasks that needto be initiated at start-up time: POST(Power-On Self Test, booting anoperating system from FDD or HDD). In essence, it is necessary to upgradethe BIOS on your PC in order to maintain or inevitably obtain compatibilitywith the PC industries latest hardware, software and operating systems.

Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (27 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131455362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131455368
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 17.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,212,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the Back Cover

"Adrian Wong is one of the few really devoted scholars in the field of computer hardware. He applies a rare scientific rigorousness to his work that makes it stand out among the usual stuff on the net. He is a real asset to the PC enthusiast."

Jeremy Smith, ABIT Computer

"By far the best BIOS Guide there is."

Steven Lynch, HardOCP.com

"The BIOS Optimization Guide is a one-of-a-kind resource that I refer to anybody who wants to tweak their computers to run the best. And I wouldn't refer others to something I wouldn't use myself. I've referred to the BOG countless times as I upgrade my BIOS or get a new motherboard. The in-depth explanations really let you know what each BIOS option means, and which settings these options yield the highest performance and stability."

Brandom Hum, AllHardwareZone.com

"Adrian knows more about tweaking a BIOS than Bill Gates knows about Windows. Short and sweet: If you own a computer you need to know about the BIOS; and Adrian is flat-out the authority when it comes to understanding, configuring, or tweaking a computer's BIOS."

Digital Dave, WinOSCentral.com

"The BIOS is the basic input–output system of any computer that defines how the individual parts of the hardware are interacting with each other. Many of the parameters are completely transparent to the user; however, there are others that are user accessible and allow customizing the performance depending on the individual needs and the choice of components in the system. What was a myth-surrounded part of any computer only some 5 years ago has been largely decrypted by now, mostly due to efforts coming from enthusiasts. Any guide like this will offer invaluable help not only as a reference, but also for troubleshooting of personal computers."

Michael Schuette, LostCircuits.com

"If you ever wanted to know what you can do with your BIOS, Adrian has it covered. Being an admirer for more years than I can count, the BIOS Optimization Guide is a fantastic journey into the inner workings of a PC at the root level. It has taught me how to tweak my PC in a safe way and get the most out of my system. Period."

David Kroll, ExtensionTech.net

"It is the one piece of the system that is powered continually—even when the computer is unplugged. It is the first program that runs on start-up. Without it, no operating system would install. It is the first component that requires configuration. It is the first feature that requires your attention. It is... THE SYSTEM BIOS. The very first procedure to be performed on a newly assembled computer system is to ensure that the system BIOS is up-to-date. This procedure in itself can be clouded in mystery and present some trepidation for the average user. Then comes the Black Art of BIOS configuration. Has the BIOS detected the hardware correctly? Is there some hardware that should remain disabled? What do each of the BIOS settings mean, and more importantly, what do they do? Whether you are planning to build a new system or merely upgrade an old one, it is advisable to have some knowledge of the system BIOS. The Definitive BIOS Guide from Rojak Pot represents one of the most complete resources for BIOS configuration currently available. Check it out!"

Thomas Monk, Accelenation.com

"The BIOS Optimization Guide is a truly useful resource for those looking to get the most out of their systems. I often point people to the BOG to learn more about memory timings and what they mean."

Sean Sinha, OCZ Technology

"95% of all Bios optimizations that I now know I learned from Rojak Pot's guide. And so did everyone else. If they tell you different, they are not telling the you the truth or they read it on a site that stole the information from his."

Frank Trockel, Trainwrecker.com

"Whether you are an overclocking uber geek or a first-time computer user, Adrian's BIOS Optimization Guide is a must. I can truthfully say that 90% of what I have learned about BIOS optimization has been through the use of Adrian's guide. Why else would I refer to him as 'The King of the BIOS'?"

Kevin Elliot, Hi-TechReviews.com

"Adrian has done the tech community a great service by making this guide. It has personally saved me time on both repairs and evaluations. With BIOS options as numerous as they are today, it's wonderful to have a one-stop-source to decipher them all."

Nathan Warawa, GamingIn3D.com

"You know, I couldn't count the amount of times I've referred people to your BIOS Guideelit's very informative, and saves me the time of explaining why people should disable Video BIOS Shadowing, why Fast Writes isn't such a big deal for today's games, and much more." "Just wanted to say thanks for saving me time and also helping me out. (I learned a lot from it, too!) Keep up the most excellent work."

Matt Burris, 3DGPU.com

"...this isn't so much a Knowledge base but a labor of love. Not only has this guide had a place in both Titch's and My Favorites for many years, but I'm really excited to see it still going after many, many years. Well done, Adrian. Keep up the excellent work."

JohnL, The ModFathers.com

"Adrian Wong of Adrian's Rojak Pot has been building up his BIOS Guide since late 1999. Today, he hit version 6.0, and the guide is now comprehensive in its scope. It comes highly recommended from me due to the fact that BIOS optimizations can yield positive results in performance and compatibility for everyone. Adrian also goes into far greater detail than even your best motherboard manual and even debunks some "myths" that some manufacturers still propagate."

Ryu Connor, Tech-Report.com

"This is one of the most comprehensive and user-friendly guides I have found to date. I was able to do various tweaks with my mem/cpu that increased my overall system performance by about 15%. Many of the BIOS tweaks will depend on your mobo and whether certain options are even available in your BIOS menu. However, I do recommend that even ppl that aren't familiar with working with the BIOS give it a go with this guide... Really helps to answer all your questions."

James, TimSoft.com

"Some bookmarks occupy space in my Favorites folder just in case I need such a resource in the future, but others are frequent visits. I can easily see this one being a resource to which I refer often. This site contains very good explanations of the numerous configuration options you see in the BIOS. ...this truly is a link you'll want to keep around. This one is already sync'ed to my iPaq!"


"This is the most comprehensive BIOS Guide available. Just about every option in a modern BIOS is explained. The best performance setting is usually pointed out, and the explanations are easy to follow. A must for any overclocker wanna-be."

Tim B., OCWorkbench.com

"I'd like to congratulate the author of the BIOS Optimization Guide. This is absolutely marvelous. I was looking specifically for advanced information on the AGP Aperture Size setting, and you guys have got TEN paragraphs on it."

Sherman, Microsoft Support Services

The first authoritative guide to optimizing your PC's BIOS

Your PC's BIOS enables your software and hardware to work together. But they can work together better—way better. If you want the best possible PC performance and stability, this book shows you exactly what to tweak, and how to tweak it.

Until now, most BIOS information was terse, incomprehensible...practically useless. Not anymore! Breaking Through the BIOS Barrier: The Definitive BIOS Optimization Guide for PCs reveals the secrets behind 200 of today's most important BIOS settings. You won't just learn what they're for: You'll learn exactly how to use them in both optimization and troubleshooting.

Author Adrian Wong created the Web's #1 BIOS resource: the BIOS Optimization Guide at Adrian's Rojak Pot. Nobody knows more about your PC's BIOS... and no other book delivers this much accurate, usable information!

Learn about:

  • The BIOS—what it really is, what it does, and how to optimize it safely
  • All the different BIOS features and how to optimize them
  • Optimizing your system memory, CPU, PCI bus, AGP port, USB ports, hard disks, and more
  • Customizing the boot sequence and accelerating the bootup process
  • Maximizing system security and stability
  • Restoring your BIOS in any emergency, step by step
  • Myths and misconceptions surrounding the BIOS—and the truth

If you're a gamer, PC enthusiast, or tech support professional... if you care about PC performance and reliability... if you're passionate about what goes on under the hood... this is the book you've been searching for!

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

About the Author

About the Author

Adrian Wong has been part of the online hardware community since 1996 when he first set up Adrian's Rojak Pot. Since then, the author has written many authoritative articles and guides on computers.

Here's a short list of some of his previous works:

    The Motherboard BIOS Flashing Guide

    The Video BIOS Flashing Guide

    The Hot Flashing Guide

    Hard Disk Myths Debunked!

    The Definitive Swapfile Optimization Guide

    The Definitive Battery Extender Guide

    The Compression Comparison Guide

    The Definitive Maxtor Silent Store Guide

    The Windows 2000 Hints & Tips Guide

    The Definitive Disk Cache Optimization Guide

    The Definitive Chunksize Optimization Guide

    The Definitive IDE Block Mode Guide

    The Definitive Video RAM Caching Guide

Adrian's articles and guides are considered reference material by the computer hardware community. In fact, the author regularly receives accolades from both peers and members of the industry.

Adrian currently divides his time between medical school and Adrian's Rojak Pot in Melaka, Malaysia.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I always knew that the BIOS was important, and getting the settings right was essential for a stable system, but exactly what each setting meant and what its optimum value was I wasn't certain. This book has certainly helped me a great deal.
Chapter 1 explains simply but thoroughly what the BIOS is, and how it relates to the hardware and operating system. It also talks you through how to find the latest BIOS update for your motherboard and how to update (flash) it.
Chapter 2 is there for those moments when it all seems to have gone wrong and your PC won't boot due to a wrong overclocking value or a corrupted BIOS. I've been there and it's a scary place to be, but Adrian Wong's explanations, and 'hand-holding' directions are reassuringly simple. If only I'd had this book when my system wouldn't start!
The rest of the book (chapters 3 and 4) follow an A-Z of BIOS settings (from '8-bit I/O Recovery Time' to 'Write Recovery Time') -- so, more an '8-W' than an 'A-Z', I admit. Chapter 3 gives a Quick Review of each BIOS option, chapter 4 offers a detailed description of the same options.
This is the book's first weakness, I feel. I can see why the author has outlined the information this way, but I would have found the book much easier and quicker to use if the detailed information followed on immediately from the quick review. As it is there is a lot of flipping back and forth between sections, and an awful lot of repeated text.
I've just finished optimizing my BIOS and I couldn't have done it quick so quickly or knowledgeably without this book, but don't expect to look up each and every setting without a little detective work.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Outdated 12 Feb 2007
By G. Frank - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unimpressive. I bought this to help with overclocking an Asus P5B Deluxe motherboard (launched mid 2006) and it didn't even mention most of the BIOS options I wanted to know about. The book advertises that it gives you 3 months access to the online Bios guide that is supposedly updated, but when I went online to activate that, it said the "promotion had expired". It's a dictionary of bios terms, not a guide. And the items covered are more pertinent to motherboards of 2004, not those made in 2007. One could use google or wikipedia and get the same or better explanations as those in this book.
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explaining the Arcane 27 Sep 2004
By John Matlock - Published on Amazon.com
When you are starting your computer if you hold down F8, or the DELETE key or perhaps some other key, you get into the BIOS setup routines. When you look at these screens you are presented with a bewildering array of optional settings. They are all, of course, clearly identified with some kind of gibberish like AGP to DRAM Prefetch.

This book is organized so that inside the front and back covers are a listing of the BIOS options. Looking up AGP to DRAM Prefetch you are told that there is a Quick Review on Page 40 and a Detailed Description on Page 169. And after a little reading you will understand what this option does, and why you probably want it enabled. About 250 BIOS options are explained in this manner. There have been many times in the past when having such a book would have been invaluable. It is clearly written using words that will make sense to the computer literate and those maybe one step above novice.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Outdated Glossary with Some Recommendations. 19 Mar 2007
By J. Panepinto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is little more than a glossary of BIOS entries which may or may not match the ones in your computer. If you purchased a computer within the last year, this book will be of no help. It does not cover PCIE cards or dual video-card platforms. The terms rarely match up to specific BIOS terms, so you have to read through to find what you are looking for. What's worse this book is organized alphabetically. This is just the glossary to a book that was never written. There is no logical layout that will let you know what you need. For example, why not group all of the topics that affect RAM in one? Discuss RAM and how your BIOS interacts with it? No, instead you have to look through until you can find the entry for the BIOS menu. If I had the exact BIOS Mr. Wong had when he wrote this, it would be useful. However, I don't. I have a more recent BIOS and without a guide to how the thing works and why, this glossary is useless. I got more out of the guide posted on Tom's Hardware than this book.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is amazing 28 July 2005
By C. Enterprises - Published on Amazon.com
Inside it you will find everything you want and need to know about the BIOS. If you're an overclocker, it's indispensible. If you're just curious about what all those settings do, it's great. The author's website is well-known in the enthusiast community and for good reason. Buy it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bios Bonanza 28 July 2005
By Flopper - Published on Amazon.com
This guy knows his stuff. Plenty of information that can be practically applied. Recomended for anyone who is interested in tweaking or checking their Bios settings.
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