Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 Rev 1.1 Reviewformerstaff - September 24, 2012
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Gigabyte offers a laundry list of software utilities to help you get the most out of the flagship UD7. I will cover a few of the more prominent ones here for you.
To be honest, Gigabyte's Touch BIOS has me scratching my head a bit. I understand that in this day of motherboard design, one of the biggest selling points are features that make it easier to push performance beyond warranty covering specifications. With this trend and overclocking becoming a competitive sport as well as getting something for nothing, the UEFI BIOS was inevitable. A more friendly looking Windows-based overclocking screen invites more people to get involved in the overclocking craze than does a serious looking blue "DOS" environment that screams "if you enter the wrong HEX, the machine will blow up." I personally prefer the old style BIOS that I know will input the value I choose, rather than relying on a software middleman that may or may not translate correctly, but that's just me. Enter Gigabyte's Touch BIOS; its enterpretation of the UEFI that is billed as a "Hybrid EFI technology". The idea behind it is that it is "more intuitive" because with only a touch screen monitor, you can make changes to your BIOS. Touch BIOS seems to have its priorities out of order. Besides not working well I am not sure why Gigabyte believes that a touch screen is more "intuitive" than a mouse click, or for that matter that a large percentage of the population has touch screens being used with their PCs.
Upon opening Touch BIOS you are met with a small 900x600 window that presents you with nine catagories you can make changes in. These are Overclock, Boot Disk, Quick Boost, PC Status, @ BIOS, Integrated Hardware, Load Optimized Defaults, and Set Supervisor Password. Inside each of these you will find a subset of categories. For example in Overclock you will find "advanced frequency setting", ''advanced memory settings'' and "advanced voltage settings". The problem I found with Touch BIOS is that it is limited in the changes you can make, and more often than not when you apply the changes with "save to CMOS", the changes are not applied and it reports the incorrect values to begin with. if you do prefer a software-based solution to overclocking, or at least trying out settings before commiting them to the BIOS, Gigabyte's UD7 officially supports the very mature and option rich AMD Overdrive.
@ BIOS is a simple utility that gives you options to update your BIOS from a file or the Gigabyte server. It will also save a copy of your BIOS file with a click. Now I am extremely anti-updating the BIOS in real time from a server, however most people are made to feel nervous about BIOS flashing (as they should) and will opt for the update from the server. I have tried the live update option a few times against my better judgment and it works extremely well. It removes and rewrites very quickly, so while I never recommend updating from a server, if you must, this is the best option within a Windows environment. The second and more desirable option here is to update the BIOS from Gigabyte's website and save to a flash drive.
Easy Tune 6
Easy Tune 6 is Gigabyte's overclocking, fan control, and monitoring program. It is designed for enthusiasts to tweak their system for maximum performance, but unfortunately it suffers from the same ailments as Touch BIOS. Easy Tune has six tabs that are CPU, Memory, Tuner, Graphics, Smart, and HW Monitor.
I have reloaded every update of it over the last year to give new revisions a try only to continue to find the problems with settings detection and reporting to go unresolved, as you can see in the screenshots below. The memory speed is misreported and the graphics tab is not even active. I think that Gigabyte needs to go back to the drawing board and develop software for AMD motherboards from scratch. The look of Easy Tune is really a symbol of the problem as it looks more like a program from around 1999. Again here I have to say that AMD Overdrive is again a more mature and feature rich option with better system and hardware settings detection.