Lesson 1: BIOS Setup – build your own PC


In lesson 1 we will setup the computers BIOS or Basic Input Output System. This is where the computer sees the hardware components at a very basic, low level. We will cover all of the functions and settings you need to know in order to build your own PC.

We’ll power the computer on and this is called the Logo screen. Most computers show this instead of a list of hardware information. It goes by very quickly so we’ve pressed the Pause/Break key to stop it so we can take a look. There are options to enter the setup, change the boot order or Flash the BIOS. BIOS stands for Basic Input Output System. This is where the computer sees the hardware components at a very basic, low level. Along with the BIOS most motherboards also have UEFI which stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface which provides more features like booting to drives larger than 2.2TB and faster startup times.

To enter the BIOS or UEFI setup on this computer we’ll press the Delete key on the keyboard. On some motherboards it is the F1, F2 or F10 key. The first thing you’ll want to do is switch to the advanced mode which offers far more options for making changes. On a UEFI enabled BIOS there is usually the option to use the mouse to navigate around though you might find it easier to use the keyboard. Use the arrow keys to move around, Enter to make a selection and Escape to back up.

On a Gigabyte made motherboard like this one there is a MIT section, short for Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker. This mostly has to do with overclocking which we don’t go into in this video. See the website for overclocking instructions. There are a few things that may need to be changed. The first is under Advanced Memory Timings and Channel Timing Settings. The default CAS settings here are 11,11,11 and 28. The RAM I have installed is capable of running at 9, 9, 9 and 24. On some motherboards, like this one, you can set the CAS timings separately for each channel so I’ll set them for channel B as well. I’ll press Escape to back out.

The other place under the MIT that could use some changing is under PC Health Status. Here you can set up a warning in case the CPU temperature gets above a certain point or if one of the fans connected to the motherboard stops spinning. You can also set the speed of the fans that are connected to the motherboard. We recommend setting them to Silent which will keep the computer as quiet as possible. As the temperature in the case and on the CPU rises the fans will automatically be spun faster to keep the system cool. The rest of the settings are fine at their defaults so we’ll hit escape to back out.

Under System you can set the date and time or leave it unchanged and then set it once Windows is installed. Here you can also see a list of drives connected to the SATA controllers.

Under BIOS Features you’ll find Boot Options which you can set to DVD or Blu-ray first and HDD or SSD second. This means the DVD or Blu-ray drive will be looked to first to find an operating system and allow you to install Windows from a disk. If you have multiple HDD’s and SSD’s you can set their boot priority below. We’ll set the SSD as the first drive. The rest of the settings are fine at default so I’ll hit escape.

Under Peripherals you can enable and disable or change the options for the components on the motherboard. We installed an add-on sound card so we will disable the audio controller on the motherboard. I’ll hit escape to back out.

There is nothing that needs changing under Power Management.

Under Save and Exit you can save and exit or exit without saving any of the settings we just chose. There is also an option to Load Optimized Defaults which will set the BIOS back to all default settings. Boot Override will immediately boot to the option you choose here and there are also options to save the current BIOS profile. This lets you keep settings you know are currently working and then try a different set of options. This is useful when you are overclocking.

Q-Flash allows you to update the motherboard’s BIOS to the latest version. You can download the latest version from the motherboard makers website and copy it to a USB thumb drive. You then select the drive in Q Flash and then select the BIOS update file and it will update the BIOS to the latest version. BIOS updates are very useful as they can fix problems with the motherboard and add new features.

We will go back to Save and Exit and Save and Exit. The computer is rebooting and it’s saying that there’s no medium in the DVD drive which is true. We don’t have the Windows install disk in. Going along with our boot priority, it then tried to boot to the SSD which of course is blank.
In the next lesson we’re going to show how to install Windows 7 or 8 onto a HDD or SSD.