ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Reviewccokeman - April 12, 2012
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ASUS is using a UEFI BIOS implementation with the same user interface seen on the P67 and Z68 socket 1155 Sandy Bridge offerings. While the interface hasn't changed, what's under the skin is an upgrade to what ASUS has given the end user in the past. For instance, there is a "shorcut" menu to quickly access commonly used functions or areas without having to search the BIOS for them accessed by pressing the F3 key. There is an EZ Mode and an Advanced Mode to accommodate any and all users from the, dare I say it, noob to the extreme overclocker looking for that last MHz. There are a pair of 64MB Flash ROMs on board in case a BIOS flash goes bad or you just want to switch between BIOSs, if the eight programmable file presets are not enough. ASUS offers BIOS Flash protection via its Crash Free BIOS 3, USB BIOS Flashback, so that the BIOS can be flashed without a CPU or DRAM being installed in the system, 2.2TB+ HDD support, and GPT Boot. Overclocking recovery via CPR (CPU Parameter Recall) makes a failed boot a one-time occurrence. While the BIOS on the ASUS P9X79 is not as feature rich as the implementation on the ROG Rampage IV Extreme, it is nevertheless full of options to get the highest stable overclock you can, as well as take advantage of the feature set for maximum usability. It used to take a camera and some time transferring images over to the computer to share settings for either diagnostics or just to share an overclock. ASUS has a screenshot feature called BIOS Print to allow screenshots of the BIOS to be saved to a flash drive. Add in so many other features and you can understand why this board is for the extreme or power user. Let's take a tour through this implementation of ASUS' UEFI BIOS.
EZ and Advanced Mode:
The EZ Mode allows the user to make a limited amount of changes and is more to show what the time, date, and what the installed devices are. Advanced Mode gives the user the entire shooting match, with access to every setting and feature allowed in the BIOS. Advanced Mode consists of six sub-menus to take advantage of the installed hardware.
This section is sparse by comparison to many sections of ASUS' UEFI BIOS. In this section, you'll be able to access the time, date, BIOS revision, CPU information, amount of installed memory, system language, and security features, such as admin passwords.
Advanced Mode: AI Tweaker:
This section of the BIOS contains the settings used to adjust CPU and memory frequencies, timingm and the voltages needed to run the system. Up top is the option to overclock the system with AI Overclock tool, which sets a specific set of parameters to boot at enhanced clock speeds. The OC Tuner tool is much like what we have in the AI Suite tools. Voltage adjustments are granular enough that the user does not have to apply much more voltage than is needed to reach the clock speed goals. The DRAM timing section is almost as complex as the ROG Rampage IV in that it has most of the functionality of this section.
Under this tab, one can set the CPU configuration parameters, such as the bclock multiplier, enable Turbo Boost and Intel Speed step, C-states , SATA, USB, and have the ability to enable or disable the onboard device functionality. Under the SATA configuration, you can set the connection type for disk drives to AHCI, RAID or IDE, and turn on or off the hot swap feature. Under the USB sub-menu is the ability to configure how the USB interface is managed. Last but not least, the onboard device configuration allows the user to enable or disable the sound, Bluetooth, USB 3.0, LAN, and Boot Rom, as well as the USB 3.0 controller.
Under this tab is the monitoring functionality for the board. The voltages, fan speeds, and temperatures can be checked and verified against the set parameters.
The Boot menu is where you set the sequence that the drives are polled for bootable media. The primary drive can be identified when more than one is installed. The full screen ROG logo can be enabled or disabled at POST, Wait for F1 if Errors can be enabled or disabled, the length of time the POST report shows can be altered, and the setup mode that the BIOS will open into can be set to EZ or Advanced.
This section comes in real handy. ASUS' EZ Flash 2 utility is hands down one of the easiest ways to flash a BIOS. It has been imitated, but not duplicated. Search for the BIOS file on any installed media, choose the BIOS file, choose to flash the BIOS, and the process is automated from that point on. SPD Information shows the SPD profile on the memory DIMMs. Under ASUS OC Profile, the end user can save up to eight distinct profiles. BIOS Flashback is used to force the system to boot from either of the BIOS chips or copy the data from one to the other. Drive Expert is a utility that allows the user to choose from three different settings to maximize drive performance and usage.
The Exit tab at the top right allows you to load optimized or safe default settings, save or discard changes made to the BIOS settings, launch the BIOS in EZ or Advanced mode, or launch the EFI shell.
The BIOS just continues to be one of pure fun to work through, with all the options spread out in areas that make sense. The shortcut feature accessed by pushing F3 from the BIOS screen allows for quick and easy access to the most used feature sets in the UEFI BIOS.