All of today's new motherboards have tons of features, many are manufacturer-specific that are on most of the manufacturer's motherboards, and the number of these features is constantly growing. In a recent Gigabyte motherboard review, there were 11 Gigabyte-specific features listed on the board, and that were in addition to features specific to that motherboard.
One of the hardest things about a motherboard review is trying to decide which of these features to mention, if any. Many of these features require explanation of how they work, and mentioning them all could easily double the length of the review. Personally, I have a hard time staying interested reading a review that is more than 8 or so pages, I just get bogged down in pages of details about features that I may or may not use.
Our friends at Gigabyte feel that a few of their new motherboard features presently on their Intel P45 motherboards are important enough to give special mention, that our readers should be educated about these features to make informed decisions when choosing their new motherboard. Rather than try to cram this information in an already too-long motherboard review, I thought that I'd describe Gigabyte's Smart Backup, Ultra TPM, and DES Advanced in an article, and refer to the article when needed in motherboard reviews. Read on to find out about these cool features!
Gigabyte Ultra TPM (Trust Platform Module)
Many people have information on their computer that they'd prefer not to share with others. Whether it be something simple like music or photos, or something special like important documents, research work, or whatever, they'd like some way to protect this information from prying eyes. To be effective, it must not only be secure, but also easy to use. From my experience, including having spent over seven years in US Army Military Intelligence, regardless of how well any security device or system works, if it is inconvenient or complicated, it won't be used, or won't be used correctly, which makes it pretty much worthless.
A TPM is an onboard secure microprocessor that stores cryptographic keys, and is often used along with software to protect information stored on a computer. The concept isn't particularly new or unique, they have been around a while, even Dell has installed them in some of their computers.
Traditionally, you key your password into the software to open the secured drive. As we all know, this isn't particularly secure, because most people either use something easy to remember like birthdates, addresses, pets' names, or whatever, as a password, or come up with something a little more complicated, and write it down somewhere. And this information is stored somewhere in the hard drive once it is keyed in.
Gigabyte's Ultra TPM allows the user to store their password on a thumb drive. The key can be as complicated as you'd like, it really doesn't matter since you don't have to remember it. Gigabyte uses Infineon's TPM Controller, sporting 2048-bit encryption, the industry's highest level of data encryption.
Ultra TPM is very easy to set up and use, it just has to be enabled in the BIOS, and installed from the driver disk. Once Ultra TPM is launched, you set up your "secure drive", and create your password. You then install the password on one or two thumb drives (you are allowed backups). The password is then erased from your hard drive. You may also choose to save the password in the motherboard's backup BIOS.
To use, just insert your thumb drive, and your "secure drive" is opened. Remove your thumb drive and the session is terminated. How much easier can it be?