MOTHERBOARD BIOS/UEFI SETTINGS
UPDATE YOUR FIRMWARE
At this point I would normally check to see if all my hardware’s firmware is up to date and if it isn’t, update it. For example, HDDs, SSDs, motherboard, RAID card, etc. Others, however, like to stick with the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality so this part is optional. If something goes wrong during a firmware update, you could potentially brick your hardware, which is never fun.
SET YOUR SATA MODE
Make sure your SATA mode is set to AHCI or RAID. This will enable your SATA drives to perform at their best.
Advanced Host Controller Interface or AHCI enables Native Command Queuing (NCQ) and hot-plugging/hot swapping support as well as the ability to enable Aggressive Link Power Management or ALPM for power savings. NCQ allows the drive optimize it’s read and writes order to complete up to 32 commands concurrently, which increases performance.
Redundant Array of Independent Disks or RAID has all the benefit of AHCI as well as allowing you to create striped or parity storage volumes with the onboard SATA controller.
DISABLE EXTRA IO CONTROLLERS THAT GO UNUSED
Some, if not all motherboards will have a few extra compatibility and connectivity devices and controllers onboard. Their enable/disable options are usually found in the Advanced menu tab of the UEFI.
For example, our consumer test system has an extra ASMedia controller for extra SATA 6Gb/s ports. Since we do not use it, as it allocates lower performance over the native chipset, we disable it. Same goes for any serial controller, network controllers, Bluetooth, onboard audio, etc. Look around in your BIOS or UEFI and see what you can disable. A quick Google helps to figure out what some of the settings do if you don’t know what they are.
DISABLE ALL OTHER BOOT OPTIONS
This one is pretty straight forward, just disable any other boot option other than the boot drive (after you install the OS).
For a BIOS/MBR configured install the only boot device should be the OS drive. For a UEFI/GPT install the only boot option should be the Windows Boot Loader.
IF UEFI BOOTING, DISABLE CSM OPTIONS
Compatibility Support Module or CSM provides BIOS compatibility in a UEFI system. By disabling CSM support you can ensure your install will be a native UEFI install and at times it will even disable all other boot options other than the UEFI: and Windows Boot Manager.
This setting is usually found somewhere in the Boot tab of the UEFI. You can see in ours we have different options to enable and disable for legacy compatibility. Some hardware may need this enabled, however, to enter its OPROM and change settings such as a RAID card. If you have hardware and need to change an OPROM setting you can always temporarily enable CSM to do so.
SETUP PROMPT TIME
There is usually an option that you can change the time for how long the BIOS or UEFI set up message/splash screen will appear for. Set it to 0 seconds or 1 second to ensure the fastest boot time.
Continue on to the next page for the Windows Installation section.