NVIDIA System Utility Preview
[for NVIDIA nForce2 and NVIDIA nForce3-based motherboards]

Here I am, my first review/article, and I’ve got to say, it has been kind of awkward, but I’ve been as fair as can be! Read on to find out more…

When I was asked to review the ‘NVIDIA System Utility’ I was really very excited, this is the app’ from nVidia that just kind of vanished. Lots of hype for it, and then nothing, but here it is, on my desktop, on my PC! =)

After having played with the ‘NVIDIA System Utility’ I decided to split the review into two parts, the first being ‘What it could do for me’ and the second being ‘What it should do’, I’ve got to say, this was a lot easier said than done. But on with the show!

What it could do for me:::...

Upon installing the ‘NVIDIA System Utility’, which was very smooth, I was presented with a very nice looking interface to work with, everything looks crisp, clear and well designed. The overall layout of the menus and option is good; the simplicity of use is outstanding, but not too simple to stop people wanting to use it.

This however came to an abrupt end when I could access only two of the screens and only had VERY minimal options to work with. I understand this to be a support issue with the OEMs at the moment, and should be rectified in the near future.

My test system is as follows:

 

  • AMD Athlon Barton 2500+
  • Abit nF7-S r2
  • 2x256Mb Corsair XMS3500
  • PNY GeForce4 Ti4600

The first problem arose when I found that right away, only the earlier revisions of my motherboard are supported right now, this was rather a large setback as it instantly restricted a lot of the options I could use. The problem is fixed with a bios flash, and possibly a driver update for the motherboard, but this wasn’t mentioned in any great detail.

The list of currently supported motherboards is:

  • Abit nF7 series, although only early revisions at time of reviewing
  • Asus A7N8X
  • Biostar M7NCG
  • Epox 8RDA+ and 8RDA3+
  • Gigabyte K8NNXP
  • Shuttle AN50R

Right, I think it’s time for some pictures and some explanations of what it does.

Here we have the ‘Basic’ overclocking page, as you can see, it has the controls for ram timings, FSB and AGP frequencies. But little more! =(

All the options on this page are totally configurable and can be set with a ‘Just this session’ or a ‘Reboot to take affect’ use.

At the bottom of the page are the buttons to take you to the other options (if available =s) along with the ‘Make changes’, ‘Makes changes permanent’, ‘Save settings’ and ‘Load settings’ buttons.

The one other button is the ‘Information’ page button. This shows practically EVERYTHING you could want to know about your system, it’s setup and drivers.

 

As you can see, there is a lot of information on this little page, and it still looks nice. It shows everything about your system from what driver you’re using for each part of your nForce motherboard to what ram you have. One of the best things on this page, without a doubt it the ability to tell you what revision Northbridge and Southbridge your motherboard has. Oh, and that isn’t an error there with my Barton clock speed! So don’t worry about that. =) Anything missing from this page, anything with the ‘Not reported’ message, is that way because it requires a bios update.

On clicking on the ‘More’ buttons for the CPU and ram you get a whole lot more information, mostly information about instruction sets and also default ram specs.

That is pretty much all I can say about the ‘NVIDIA System Utility’ in the ‘What it could do for me’ section. So on to the ‘What is should do’ section!


What it should do:::...

These pictures are actually from the user guide, as I couldn’t get them due to the previously mentioned current lack of support.

 

Here we have the complete ‘Basic’ overclocking page, with the complete set of options, including voltage and even fan speed settings. The voltage options should be the same as those in the bios, with the same values selectable.

 

Now this page I’m not too sure on, I can’t overly comment on it as I haven’t actually seen it in action but as can be seen, it has the options for AGP settings, and various CPU, memory timing and chipset related options, in fact pretty much all the main tweaks available through the BIOS are at your fingertips.

There is also another screen that gives you temperature and voltage charts so as to monitor them. But again, it wasn’t available to me.

 

Conclusion

After playing with the ‘NVIDIA System Utility’ for a good few days, and having tried various different methods to get it to support my motherboard, I gave up, and decided to actually write the review anyway, which proved harder than I first thought due to the lack of support.

With updated BIOSes for the various unsupported motherboards this little the ‘NVIDIA System Utility’ will really really shine, but until then, it doesn’t!

Overall, this has the potential to be a valuable tool and a generally useful program, but until we see BIOS support for a bigger range of motherboards it is of only limited use. Let's hope we see some BIOS updates coming through soon!


Charlie ‘kup’ Brealey

 

 


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