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Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 Review

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Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 Closer Look:

Coming to the table with a good comprehensive set of utilities is pretty much the exception with the latest crop of motherboards. Adding value added tools like full versions of reputable anti-virus programs go a long way towards improving customer value. Gigabyte has integrated their entire application suite of tools into one front end package called APP Center. By doing so you have quick access to the full suite of applications from one small window. Let's dig a little deeper into what Gigabyte is offering since the last time I worked with a Gigabyte board.

 

3D OSD is a lightweight application that lets you choose a variety of settings to show on screen while gaming. You can use this tool to monitor things like the current FPS levels, GPU and CPU temperatures, GPU core loads, memory speeds, and more. The catch is that you will need to be in a 3D application or game to see the display. A pretty slick little tool. @BIOS is a tool that allows the user to bypass the Q-Flash feature in the BIOS to flash directly from a file or from one of Gigabyte's servers. I found that I did not get the latest BIOS from the servers since it only pulled up the F3 BIOS when F4 was the most recent.

 

 

Ambient LED is a tool that allows you to manage the LEDs on the board by changing colors, allowing them to change in varying intervals, and/or blink to the beat of your tunes. AutoGreen lets you put the computer into several different standby modes, while USB Blocker allows you to block specific types of USB functionality. It's one way to stop any malware due to unwanted access.

 

 

Gigabyte's Home Cloud Suite allows you to share files between your home computer and a mobile device. To do so requires downloading the application from your specific device's approved application store. Sharing files is only part of the application. Remote overclocking controls are built into the application and if you have a wireless card installed in the PC, you can use the app to create a Wi-Fi hotspot.

 

 

 

 

EasyTune has been around for a while in several different iterations and is Gigabyte's tool for overclocking your system from within the operating system environment. There are five different tabs to walk through, each with different layers of functionality. The first is Smart Boost. This section has four different options to manage the operating characteristics of the installed processor. ECO is used to minimize power consumption. Default is the Intel standard clock speed and Turbo Boost profiles. OC is is small bump to 4.4GHz and Auto Tuning runs an algorithm that maximizes clock speeds if the installed CPU. Advanced CPU OC lets you manage the voltages and clock speeds to further tune your system. Advanced DDR allows the clock speed, XMP profiles, and a limited timing set by channel to be manually set. Advanced Power has a limited selection of options, but Loadline Calibration is handled in this tab. Hotkey allows the user to assign a profile to a specific set of buttons that can be applied at will from within the OS.

 

 

 

EZ RAID is a utility that is helpful in setting up drive operating parameters and enabling Intel Smart Disk technologies. Disk Switch mode is used to change the operating mode of the disk from AHCI to RAID even after the OS has been installed. EZ Smart Response can be enabled, but is best managed before the OS is installed. XHD allows the user to add a disk to the system and create a RAID array.

 

 

Fast Boot is a utility that enables the user to shorten the boot cycle for a faster startup from a planned or unplanned power down. Platform Power Management allows you to implement power strategies for the system. Smart Backup is used to make images of a partition every hour to safeguard and back up your data. You can save the data to a file or off-system data storage device for a quick recovery. Smart TimeLock is useful if you want to limit the time that the system can be used. Options include limits by day, by up-time, and specific time blocks. Smart Keyboard allows the user to set up macros and commands, adjust mouse sensitivity, and more with hot keys. An interesting feature to improve your game or the usability of the system.

 

 

 

System Information Viewer is a tool that lets you monitor system specific voltages and temperatures as part of its feature set. Hidden in the application, actually in plain site, are some fan control options. Under Smart Fan Auto there are four separate fan profiles you can apply from low noise and higher temperatures to the full speed option that maximizes fan speed to the detriment of the noise produced. Depending on your choice of fans, even running full speed may be relatively quiet. Under the Smart Fan Advanced tab, fan speed profiles can be manually built and controlled. Under the System Alerts tab, alarms can be set to trigger at specific voltages, temperatures, and fan speed R.P.M. levels. The Record tab adds time-based monitoring of fan speeds, temperatures, and voltage. A useful tool that can help identify the root cause of a failed overclock.

 

 

 

A 30-day trial subscription to Symantec's Norton Security Suite is included with the Z170X-UD5. A full year subscription would be a nice added value item as part of the software bundle. But at least you can get through the first 30 days and the mass downloading that happens with a new system build.

 

I found that for the most part, Gigabyte's APP Center works well. It provides applications in an easy to locate and use software GUI. Click on the application you want to run and it opens right on up.




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