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Last Updated December 10, 2003

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Motherboards, Chipsets and BIOS Resources

Sometimes it's hard to admit, but not every IT Professional is a hardware guru. There is just simply too much to know to be proficient at everything related to IT. So, if you need a little help making a hardware buying decision, or just want to know more about how it works "under the hood", you've come to the right place.
Articles and other Links
Chipsets and Motherboards

Beep Codes
Demystifying the cryptic System beep codes on startup. Learn exactly what your computer is trying to tell you when it starts up in this document. Source:

The chipset controls the system and its capabilities. It is the hub of all data transfer. It is a series of chips on the motherboard, easily identified as the largest chips on the board with the exception of the CPU. And they are integrated which means they are soldered onto the board and are not upgradeable without buying a whole new motherboard. Source:

Installing Motherboards
How to install your new motherboard, a step by step guide. Source:

Motherboard Basics
Covers all the essential components and their related pieces on a typical motherboard. Source:

Motherboard Buying Tips
Some general things to look for when buying a motherboard. Source:

Motherboard Form Factors
Motherboards come in different styles: AT and ATX. This article describes both what they mean, and how they influence performance and price. Source:

Tom's MainBoard Guide
A great overview that outlines the basics, Tom's testing procedures, stability, add-ons, overclocking, etc., Source: Tom's Hardware Guide.

Tom's Chipset Guide
If the CPU is the brain of your PC, the chipset is its heart. It controls the flow of bits that travel between the CPU, system memory, and the motherboard bus.  It controls efficient data transfers, fast expansion bus support, and advanced power management features. Get all the facts on a variety of chipsets here. Source: Tom's Hardware Guide.


Bypassing and Resetting BIOS passwords
Our guide to bypassing, resetting, and cracking BIOS passwords in the event the password has been lost or forgotten.

Computer Randomly Plays Classical Music
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 261186 - During normal operation or in Safe mode, your computer may play "Fur Elise" or "It's a Small, Small World" seemingly at random. This is an indication sent to the PC speaker from the computer's BIOS that the CPU fan is failing or has failed, or that the power supply voltages have drifted out of tolerance. This is a design feature of a detection circuit and system BIOSes developed by Award/Unicore from 1997 on. (updated 12/14/2000)

The BIOS Survival Guide
A must read and an excellent resource for those unfamiliar with the BIOS.

How to Determine BIOS Date on a Computer Running Windows 2000
Microsoft Knowledge Base Article: 267563 - This article describes how to determine the BIOS date on a computer that is running Windows 2000. (updated 10/26/2000)

Installing BIOS
If you have an old computer that needs an upgrade, such as a CD-ROM drive or 3© floppy drive, you need to know how to change your BIOS. Source:

Performance Tweaking Through BIOS Settings
There are a number of BIOS settings in your system which affect the overall performance of the machine. When these are tweaked correctly, performance can increase quite a bit. Source:

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