How do I Choose the Best BIOS Software?

G. Wiesen

Choosing the best basic input/output system (BIOS) software is actually quite easy: you should use the BIOS software provided by the motherboard or chipset manufacturer of the hardware you are using. While BIOS made by a third party developer, or from another company, could potentially work with your hardware, using the BIOS software developed by the company that made your motherboard is typically the best way to go. By using software from the manufacturer of your motherboard you are less likely to have compatibility issues, and you may be better able to access certain features of your motherboard.

A screenshot of a BIOS configuration screen.
A screenshot of a BIOS configuration screen.

The BIOS is a simple program that is run by a computer when the computer is started up during booting or bootstrapping. This program ensures that the computer is able to interface with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and any other basic input and output devices. Once the initial booting is complete and the system hands over most controls to the operating system (OS) on a computer, the BIOS may not be used much afterward. During the initial boot-up, however, the BIOS software is very important in ensuring the computer starts properly.

A BIOS chip enables a computer to properly initialize the startup process.
A BIOS chip enables a computer to properly initialize the startup process.

You should typically only use the BIOS software provided by the manufacturer of the motherboard inside of your computer. The BIOS is stored on a small chip on the motherboard itself, so the motherboard manufacturer will typically provide you with a disk that includes the BIOS used on your computer. As long as you follow proper procedures while installing your motherboard and other devices, you should not need to worry about the BIOS software used with your motherboard.

There can be issues, however, where the BIOS software on a motherboard needs to be updated or reinstalled to correct problems on the computer. This is often referred to as “flashing” the BIOS and can be potentially complicated since any mistakes may make the BIOS no longer load properly and require that the motherboard be replaced. If you are trying to flash your BIOS, you should be sure to look for BIOS software from the maker of your motherboard.

Third party programs can sometimes be used, but the BIOS software developed by a motherboard maker will usually be tailored to the specific hardware used on the board. By using the software provided with the motherboard, or downloading new BIOS from the motherboard manufacturer’s website, you can better ensure proper compatibility with your board. The BIOS provided by another company might also not take full advantage of all your motherboard has to offer, and to utilize the full potential of your board you should find the latest BIOS developed by the maker of your motherboard.

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Discussion Comments

Good advice -- how many people really think about the BIOS, anyway? Most users simply go with whatever was installed on the computers they bought or what came with the motherboard and chipset if they happen to be building a computer. What are the purported advantages of going with a third party BIOS, anyway? Whatever advantages there are may be far outweighed by going with a BIOS used by the company that has intimate knowledge of the chipset in use.
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