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Before I proceed on, given below is a brief feature list of the P3B-F :
- JumperFree BIOS (Award BIOS 6.0).
- Multi-device Wake-Up.
- PC Health Monitoring.
- UltraDMA/33 Bus Master IDE.
- IrDA Support.
- Onboard LED.
In addition to easy selection of frequency and core voltages, the BIOS offers a bootup block write protection against virus infection, a Suspend-To-RAM (STR) function and IDE/SCSI HD/MO/ZIP/CD-ROM/Floppy bootup options. STR provides a function akin to notebook suspend modes and causes the computer to be in a state of suspension after a period of inactivity. To give the machine a rude awakening, a nudge of the mouse or a key tap will suffice. The constraint here is that the maximum suspension period is only 40 minutes. A duration longer than that means that you will have to rely on OS suspend options like the one available in Win95/98/NT. In addition, STR requires an OS which supports it (Win95/98/NT again) and does not support ISA cards, reason being that they may fail to work coming out of STR mode. Another point to mention is the board uses the new Award 6.0 BIOS which packs a windowed and context-menu driven interface which really is an improvement over the former 4.51PG that we are familiar with. The BIOS interface is intuitive and has a text-box at the right of the display giving information about each option in the menu.
Multi-device Wake-Up a describes the P3B-F's ability to "un-STR" the machine through a modem and supported LAN cards in addition to the keyboard and PS/2 mouse. So far, only the ASUS-made PCI-L101 Fast Ethernet card is supported.
PC Health Monitoring
PC Health Monitoring allows an easier way to examine and manage system status information such as CPU and system voltage, temperature and fan status through the bundled software. I will touch on the software later.
UltraDMA/33 Bus Master IDE
Something's missing here all right. It was disappointing to see that there wasn't any onboard UDMA/66 support. Users wishing to squeeze the juice out of their UDMA/66 drives would have to pay good money for an Ultra ATA/66 controller. Bummer.
Yup, you guessed it. This means that the board supports an optional infrared port module for a wireless interface.
The onboard LED acts as a reminder for the user to turn off the power before plugging and unplugging devices so as not to damage the motherboard, peripherals and components. It lights up when there is standby power to the PCI bus and thus warns the forgetful user trying to fiddle around with the internals when the machine is in suspension.
Power Management Options in the BIOS
The Various Wake-On Options in the BIOS
Other BIOS Options such as Bootup Options and Virus Protection