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How To Optimize BIOS For Competitive Gaming

In this ultimate guide you will learn what BIOS optimization is, why it’s essential for gaming performance and how to configure your setup.

The BIOS is the underlying software controlling all the hardware at the lowest level.

With millions of possible hardware configurations, the BIOS needs to be very general in its approach.

Hence there is a lot of room for optimizations in dedicated gaming systems.

  1. What is the BIOS?
    1. Why is the BIOS optimzation important?
    2. What is BIOS optimization?
    3. Reset the BIOS settings
    4. Why it’s important to update BIOS
  2. How to optimize the BIOS
    1. Update to the latest version
    2. Load BIOS to optimized defaults
    3. Enable XMP
    4. Disable Virtualizations
    5. Disable Hyper-V
    6. Disable Hyper-Threading
    7. Legacy boot
    8. Disable Fast Boot Settings
    9. Disable Intel Speed Shift Technology
    10. Disable CPU C-states
    11. Disable CPU Enhanced Halt
    12. Set SATA mode
    13. Secondary ATA controllers.
    14. Disable on-board Graphics
    15. Set preferred display output to your dedicated graphics card
    16. Disable onboard Audio
    17. Enable High Precision Event Timer (HPET)
    18. Set PCI-E to Gen3
    19. Disable Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX)
    20. Disable all forms of RGB
    21. Disable ASPM & ALPM
    22. Disable Platform Power Management
    23. Legacy USB Support
  3. Optimize BIOS Results

The Ultimate BIOS Optimization Guide

  • What is the BIOS & What can be optimized
  • Why is it important to optimize the BIOS
  • How to set up the BIOS for performance

What is the BIOS?

The BIOS is the underlying software controlling the various components inside a computer.

The BIOS is running inside the Motherboard and works independently from the OS.

Its memory is stored on a battery located on the motherboard in order to save the BIOS configuration in case of power and hardware failure.

Why is the BIOS optimzation important?

Since the BIOS controls everything on the hardware level it is generally recommended to configure it properly.

What is BIOS optimization?

Since the BIOS controls performance settings for the CPU and RAM, there is a lot that may be tuned here.

Enable/Disable devices on the Motherboard, allows you to overclock the CPU

Reset the BIOS settings

If your computer refuses to start, or if you are unable to access the BIOS during startup, you might need to reset the CMOS battery.

Carefully remove the physical battery from the motherboard to reset the onboard memory.

Place it back inside its socket to start over.

Wait 10 seconds before inserting the battery again and start up the system.

Why it’s important to update BIOS

All the major Motherboard brands release BIOS updates regularly.

Updates are primarily released to improve compatibility with newer hardware such as CPUs and RAM.

Other improvements may include bug fixes and general enhancements.

How to optimize the BIOS

Always be careful when configuring the BIOS, its settings may prevent the PC from starting correctly.

Update to the latest version

It may be recommended to update the BIOS version to guarantee maximum performance out of the system.

Download from the manufacturer’s website and install using a USB stick during system boot.

Could be important to secure the best possible compatibility with new hardware.

Load BIOS to optimized defaults

Usually, F10 brings up the toggle for restoring the factory default settings.

Always recommended to do before making any changes.

Enable XMP

Sets the RAM to its optimal performance settings by regulating Voltage and Frequency.

Disable Virtualizations

Used for advanced workstation tasks and will impact gaming performance in a negative way.

Disable Hyper-V

Hyper-V and similar virtualization technologies should generally be disabled.

Such features are used for virtual machines in workstations and have no use in games.

Disable Hyper-Threading

Somewhat controversial since it basically disables a large selling point of many CPUs.

Lowers temperatures which allow for better latency thanks to less risk of throttling.

Usually not well utilized in games and is usually better for content creation apps that are optimized for more threads.

Only recommended for people with 6 or more CPU cores.

Legacy boot

Disable Fast Boot Settings

“Fast boot” will postpone crucial desktop checks until later and it’s recommended to disable it.

Let the computer do a proper check during startup to guarantee perfect operations.

Disable Intel Speed Shift Technology

Technology from Intel controls the CPU by changing the clock speed to save power whenever possible.

While it’s good for saving energy it may introduce Frame-timing spikes as a result.

Disable to avoid spikes in FPS from changes in CPU frequency.

Disable CPU C-states

Set package C-State Limit if possible to a lower C-state value in order to avoid latency from the CPU going in and out of energy-saving states.

Avoid power management options that put your computer to various levels of sleep which affects the performance and spikes in frequency.

Disable CPU Enhanced Halt

Set SATA mode

Set SATA mode to AHCI

Secondary ATA controllers.

Disable if not needed as it will need to load Drivers and various tools that may interfere with performance.

Disable on-board Graphics

Always preferred to use a discrete graphics card for gaming.

Avoid loading additional (Intel) drivers inside Windows

On-board graphics may help with some media encoding features.

Set preferred display output to your dedicated graphics card

Disable onboard Audio

Unnecessary devices will require additional drivers which will add additional load to the system.

Avoid onboard audio if you are using a wireless headset or a dedicated DAC.

Enable High Precision Event Timer (HPET)

It’s usually enabled by default and it is currently recommended to leave enabled on modern systems.

Set PCI-E to Gen3

Ensures the latest and fastest communication between your Graphics card and the rest of your components.

The system itself can adjust to lower settings if necessary.

Disable Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX)

Barely any benefits from using it and may slightly interfere with the CPU performance.

Disable all forms of RGB

RGB functionality and similar technologies are known for introducing input lag and various problems.

(Sorry, not sorry)

Disable ASPM & ALPM

Disable any Active State Power Management (ASPM)/Aggressive Link Power Management (ALPM) settings

Disable Platform Power Management

Legacy USB Support

It May not be enabled by default depending on your specific setup.

Disable to force the CPU out of System Management Mode (SMM) which may cause system latency.

This happens because of System Management Interrupt (SMI).

Optimize BIOS Results

If set correctly the BIOS will work for you to make your system more responsive and faster.

By Linus Feldt

I wish I was a professional gamer, but I love marketing.

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