Intel ATOM 230 versus VIA Nano L2100 – Battle of the Mini-ITX Platforms

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Intel BOXD945GCLF BIOS

The BIOS on the Intel D945GCLF motherboard is now on its third revision and a ton of changes have been made. The original release was version 038, followed by 067 and now 095. If you purchased or plan on purchasing one of these motherboards I highly suggest that you update the BIOS as ours came with version 038 and updating to version 095 fixes a ton of issues we had when we worked on this review.

Intel Mini-ITX BOXD945GCLF BIOS

This is the main menu of the Intel D945GCLF motherboard BIOS and as you can see the version pictured above is 067, which is the second version for this board. The BIOS found on the D945GCLF motherboard is very basic as you can’t change the processor.  Intel doesn’t even allow any voltage adjustments or overclocking settings, so this will be a quick glance.

Intel Mini-ITX BOXD945GCLF BIOS

Our biggest complaint with the version 067 BIOS is that the motherboard has the option to run at 667MHz on the memory, but the system would fail to boot with this setting enabled.  We ran all the testing in the article at 533MHz at 4-4-4-12 timings as a result.  It is nice to be able to adjust the memory timings, but remember the board has no Voltage adjustment for the memory.  We were unable to get any of our kits to run at 533MHz with CL3 timings at the default voltage of 1.8V. I contacted Intel about the 667MHz memory setting and how the board wouldn’t post and they responded with this:

The 667 MHz memory option was in the bios because it is the same bios core used in 945GC platforms which includes other motherboards that support regular 775 socket processors which could support 667. The Atom processor only has a 533 FSB so 667 MHz memory won’t really get you anything extra. That 667 option in the bios was not meant for this specific 945GCLF board model and will be removed in the next bios release for the board.

Intel Mini-ITX BOXD945GCLF BIOS

The hardware monitoring menu shows critical things like temperaturs and a number of voltages on the motherboard.  Our motherboard had a really high +12V reading, but the Corsair HX620W power supply is known to have a really strong +12V rail and this board harldy consumes any of it.

Intel Mini-ITX BOXD945GCLF BIOS

Under the Advanced menu you can set the integrated video aperature size and you have the ability to go up to 256MB, which is what setting we used for this article.

Intel Mini-ITX BOXD945GCLF BIOS

It should be noted that just before we began testing for this article BIOS version 095 was released and it fixes a ton of issues users were having with version 067. We updated our board to this version for testing and the changes can be seen below. Grab the latest BIOS version for the D945GCLF motherboard if you need it.

New Fixes/Features:

  • Removed support for the PNP DMI interface.
  • Fixed SMBios data mismatched.
  • Fixed issue where front panel LED remains yellow instead of green after system wake from S1 with USB devices.
  • Fixed issue where “Memory Size Decrease” event has incorrect event count.
  • Fixed S3 resume time more than 2 seconds when accessing verb table 2.
  • Fixed issue with Wake on LAN.
  • Hid 667MHz option in Memory Configuration page.
  • Fixed issue where keys pressed in POST are visible after boot in the BIOS Data Area (BDA) keyboard buffer.
  • Updated processor support.
  • Added workaround for issue where “Power surge on hub port” message appears intermittently.
  • Updated Chassis Type SMBIOS structure.
  • Fixed issue where Express BIOS Update allowed custom BIOS to be loaded over standard BIOS and vice versa.
  • Fixed an issue where an error would occur when running Express BIOS Update after running iflashwin.
  • Fixed issue where language display in BIOS setup does not change as per language selected.
  • Added 800×480 video resolution support.
  • Updated Realtek* PXE ROM for 8111C Gigabit LAN support.
  • Fixed BIOS setup page showing wrong LAN MAC address.
  • Changed BIOS to check the first 12 characters of the old and new BIOS ID in recovery path instead of 8 characters.
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