Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 Reviewgotdamojo06 - January 30, 2011
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Easy Tune 6:
Gigabyte's Easy Tune 6 software is the application that you are going to be given from Gigabyte to tweak your system's settings to get the most performance that you possibly can. The software is setup so that just about anyone who is familiar with overclocking should be able to jump in and get started and learn a few tricks. The CPU tab is setup very similar to the look of the main screen for CPU-Z: you are going to get your CPU clock settings, your motherboard model and BIOS version, as well as all of your CPU specific features such as L2 and L3 cache, manufacturing technology, core name, CPU name, and your voltages. The memory tab is once again very similar looking to the memory tab of CPU-Z, here you are going to be able to view the settings for all of the memory sticks you have installed in any of the six slots. You are going to be able to see the manufacturer, the module size, the maximum bandwidth, what type of memory it is, as well as a very handy Timings Table. The tuner screen is the first screen that shows up when you launch the software once it is installed on your computer. There are three large circles in the center that have preset overclocked settings for your processor, they give you names for each of them in terms of what processor they are similar to. For the i7 920, preset one is named i7-920+, giving you a clock speed of 2.8 GHz with a BCLK of 140 MHz. Preset two is nicknamed i7-940+ with a clock speed of 3.0 GHz and a BCLK of 150 MHz, while preset three is named i7-965+ with a BCLK of 160MHz and a clock speed of 3.20 GHz.
On the Tuner tab, if you click the Easy mode at the top of the screen, you are going to get a screen that shows you what your CPU is currently clocked at, your current BCLK, memory speeds, PCI-E, and PCI speeds are set at. You only have a slider next to the BCLK section to be able to adjust your CPU clock speed. At the top of the screen, are three tabs: Ratio, Voltage I, and Voltage II; however, they are currently locked under the easy mode. When you select the Advance mode you are going to be able to select into those other tabs. Under the advance mode and under the Frequency tab, you can change your BCLK setting, but now you get a slider for your Memory speeds as well as your PCIe settings. The ratio tab is where you are going to see all eight of the cores for the i7 920 listed with a slider allowing you to change your multiplier anywhere from 12x to 21x. The Voltage I tab is where you are going to be able to change your voltages for just about everything you can think of on the motherboard. You have access to your CPU PLL, QPI/Vtt Voltage, CPU Vcore, DRAM Voltage, DRAM Termination, Channels A to C Data VRef and Address VRef, PCIE, QPI PLL, IOH Core and ICH I/O. The Voltage II tab is where you are able to change the voltage for your ICH Core. When you have the settings how you want to keep them, you much click the blue Set button at the bottom of the screen. At the top of the screen, you are going to see a Set Profile Hot Keys... button, this is where you are going to be able to save a certain overclocking profile to your hard drive, then set a hot key combination to load that overclocking profile. You are allowed to have four overclocking profiles active on your computer through the Easy Tune 6 software.
On the graphics tab, you are going to be able to overclock your graphics card. There are three sliders on this screen: one being for the Core, one for the Memory, and a third for the Fan speed. Gigabyte also included a temperature display on this page so you know what your current graphics card temperature is. The Smart tab is where you are going to be able to set your smart fan settings, you can set it to disabled, automatic, or advanced. The advanced mode brings up two bars that show you what CPU temperatures are going to set what fan speeds and you can adjust them all if you wish to. the HW Monitor screen is where you are going to find some of your current voltage settings, your Alert settings, as well as your System and CPU temperatures.
The Gigabyte Smart 6 software suite is going to give you six different applications that are going to give you the ability to manage your system in a very user-friendly way. First up is the Smart QuickBoot, under this application you can set your computer to have a quicker BIOS boot and a quicker OS boot. The SMART QuickBoost application uses the three preset overclocking profiles that you get under Easy Tune 6: 2.80GHz, 3.0GHz, and 3.20GHz. Smart TimeLock is where different settings can be used of determining how much your computer is allowed to be on - maybe the computer is going to be set up for your children to access it and you want them to have limited access. You can set how many hours during the week the computer is allowed to be on as well as the weekend as a separate time frame. You can also set the time of day that your computer is allowed to be on for the weekday as well as for the weekend.
SMART Recovery is an application that is going to allow you to recover files that you may have deleted accidentally or thought that you needed to get rid of, but later down the line you found out that you needed them. The configuration is going to allow you to enable this feature, when it is enabled it will create an automatic backup of your system when your computer is first turned on,you can set the maximum percentage of disk space for each hard drive you have installed and that is being backed up from 15% to 50% of the total space allocated to backup storage. SMART DualBIOS is an application that is going to save up to 12 different passwords with a description and keep them locked away by a master password and keep them stored on your BIOS chip, you are also going to be able to set up different important reminders and have alerts popup on your screen when they are getting close.
SMART Recorder is the final application that is in the Smart 6 suite, this is an application that is going to allow you to monitor the activities in your system such as the time the computer was turned on/off or even when large data files were moved within the hard drive or copied to an external storage device.
Norton Internet Security
With your new motherboard, you get a 90 day trial version of Norton Internet Security, this application is going to monitor the websites that you visit while you are browsing the web letting you know if they are safe and should be trusted or if they should be avoided. You are also able to save website login information with Norton instead of keeping them saved inside Internet Explorer, FireFox, or what ever web browser you use. You are able to see on the home page what your CPU usage percentage is currently at as well as how much of it Norton is using. You can also scan your computer from this page, view your network settings and website settings. You can turn features on and off from this page as well such as: Insight Protection, Antivirus, Antispyware, SONAR Protection, Smart Firewall, Intrusion Prevention, Email Protection, Identity Safe, Browser Protection, Safe Surfing, and Download Intelligence.
Realtek - Ethernet Diagnostic Utility
Since the Gigabyte motherboard uses the Realtek RTL8111E chip to power the RJ-45 port onboard, you are equip with a Diagnostic utility that is going to give you insight into what you have going on with your network cable. You can view your MAC Address, IP Address, Connection name, Link Status, etc. from the General screen. From the Statistics screen you can see how many packets are being sent and received as well as your Throughput speeds in bps.
The final application that the GA-X58-USB3 supports that I wanted to take a look at is the Cloud OC program from Gigabyte, this is a free overclocking application that facilitates PC overclocking though any web browsing capable devices such as a smart phone, iPad, iPhone, Netbooks, or notebook PC. All you need to do is install the application and get it up and going. The main screen that you come up to on your computer is going to be the Server settings screen, this is where you are able to set the way of connection, be it LAN/WLAN or Bluetooth PAN. You are going to get two different URLs to type into your browser that allow you a connection to your computer for remote overclocking. When you type in one of the URLs, you get the Gigabyte Cloud OC login page, click the button in the lower left hand corner of the screen and type your password and you will be in the system.
The first screen that you are going to see is the Tuner screen, this is where you are going to be able to change your BCLK, System DRAM, CPU Ratio, System PCI-E, CPU Vcore, DRAM Voltage, DRAM Termination, Channels A and B Data and Address VRef., QPI/Vtt Voltage, PCH Core, CPU PLL, and CPU VAXG Voltage.
The system Info tab is where you are going to be able to view your CPU Fan speed, Temperature, and VCore, the System Temperature, the System BCLK, DRAM Frequency, CPU Ratio, PCIE, PCI, and GFX Frequencies. Remote computer information is displayed at the bottom of the screen with the Machine name, user Name, OS Version, and what time the machine was booted up. The control tab is where you are going to be able to restart, power off, suspend, or hibernate your machine.