HARDWARE AND PHYSICAL CONNECTIVITY
CHECK FOR ULTRA FAST COMPATIBILITY
See if your UEFI motherboard has an Ultra Fast boot option. Sometimes it is called Hardware Fast Boot or Windows 8 Feature, or something similar in the UEFI.
This option appears in Intel 7-series chipset motherboards and newer, such as Z77, X79, Z87, H87, Z97, etc. Some Z68 motherboards also support it. On the AMD side of things, normally the newer motherboards should support it. Overall, it really depends on the manufacturer adding support for this mode. As long as your motherboard has the Ultra Fast boot option in the UEFI you should be set for some of the fastest boots ever.
UEFI GOP COMPLIANT GRAPHICS
If you have this Ultra Fast boot mode, make sure your graphics card is UEFI GOP compliant. Just as with motherboard support, the manufacturer needs to add support.
Most Nvidia 7 series graphics cards and newer are GOP compliant, however, 6 series cards can support it with an updated VBIOS from the manufacturer. Most manufacturers offer UEFI VBIOS update support through their online forums. For AMD cards, the cards after the 7 series usually support it, some 7 series cards support it with update VBIOS. Intel HD and AMD on-chip graphics support it as well. Be sure to double check with your manufacturer for your specific hardware.
CONNECT OS DRIVE TO NATIVE SATA CHIPSET SATA PORT IF USING A SATA DRIVE
Typically when installing a system, most people will just plugged their hard drive or SSD data cable into the first SATA port they see. This is a bad habit that we need to break! Typically, most find Marvell and ASMedia SATA 6Gb/s controllers on motherboards to help boost the total number of SATA 6Gb/s ports for marketing, however, they can cause longer boot times and even system instability. We know of builders running into BSODs, system freezes, and slower performance because they had their OS drive connected to a non-native SATA controller. Once they switch over to a native Intel or AMD chipset SATA port, their issues disappear and boot times are better. Some manufacturers even state that those ports are for HDDs or non-system drives!
Don’t worry about using a SATA 6Gb/s vs a SATA 3Gb/s port. After testing it out on a Z68 system with both native SATA 6Gb/s and SATA 3Gb/s ports, boot times were practically the same, so, just keep it native! If you have the option to use a native chipset SATA 6Gb/s port on a board, however, please do as sequential performance doubles when using a SATA 6Gb/s SSD.
Also, your motherboard manual will usually tell you which ports are which and when plugging the drive in we usually like to keep the OS drive connected to SATA port 0 on our motherboards out of habit.
DISCONNECT ALL DRIVES OTHER THAN THE BOOT DRIVE
We want all other drives disconnected from the system for two reasons. Firstly, we want to prevent data loss. We are doing a clean install onto the drive we are going to use for boot. That means we are going to first wipe it clean of its partitions. If you had a data drive connected and didn’t know what drive number it was when we go over how to wipe the drive, you could accidentally delete all your data!
The second reason to disconnect all other drives is that Windows doesn’t necessarily understand which drive takes priority. In the past we, and several other PC enthusiasts we know, have experienced Windows 7 creating the system reserve partition onto a secondary drive when installing on an MBR drive. The reason Windows does is that, if there is an issue with the OS drive and the secondary drive is fine, you can fix/recover the OS on the primary drive. There is one little issue with this set up; the boot loader is also put onto the secondary drive! That means that if you disconnect the secondary drive from your system Windows will not be able to boot and you would have to repair it. By disconnecting the secondary drives during install the boot loader will stay on the OS drive.
Continue on to the next page for the Motherboard UEFI/BIOS Settings section.