Gigabyte GA-P55 UD3R Reviewccokeman - November 1, 2009
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Gigabyte has included a comprehensive set of software tools and drivers on the included software disk. Of course, you have to load the drivers so that you can have the operating system know how to handle the installed hardware, so I will start off with the GUI that pops up when you insert the disk. You have a total of seven tabs to choose from, the first of which is the Chipset Drivers, which allows you to either install all of the drivers for the board with the Xpress Install option, or to pick and choose which ones you will install by using the Install Single Items tab.
Install Application Software is where you pick and choose the applications you want to install; Easy Tune 6 and more are found in here. The Technical Manual section gives you the ability to browse the manuals for the included utilities, browse the disk, and read the motherboard manual on the computer. The Contact page gives the corporate contact information, while the System tab gives a top level view on what processor is installed, as well as the amount of system memory and the Operating System version. This is much of the same information found on the system tab in the Windows control panel. The Download Center tab will take you to the download page for the GA-P55-UD3R so you can get the latest software updates for the installed utilities.
Easy Tune 6 is an overclocking and monitoring utility that is designed for use with Gigabyte motherboards. This utility gives you the ability to make your changes in the operating system - to test and tune to find out what works and what does not - before making the changes in the BIOS. The first tab on the GUI is the CPU tab. This tab gives you information about the CPU including clock speed, clock multiplier, bclock, QPI clock, motherboard model, and BIOS revision. The memory tab resembles the CPUz interface and tells you the SPD information as well as the make, model, and serial number of your memory modules.
Under the Tuner section you can make changes in several ways. You can use the three preset levels to get a quick and stable overclock at the touch of a button, while still being able to move to a more advanced hands-on type of interface under the Easy and Advance tabs. Of course, this requires a reboot to make the changes in the BIOS. Options to change are the bclock frequencies, the clock ratios, and voltages. As you move from Quick Boost to Easy, and then to Advanced you open up more options to tweak.
The Graphics tab allows clock speeds on the GPU core, memory, and Shader clock speeds to be adjusted, depending on what make of video card you have installed. The last tab is Hardware Monitor and as its name implies, you can monitor and set alert points for the fan speeds, monitor a select few voltages, and monitor the temperature of the CPU and System Temperatures. Case Open Status is monitored as well.
Smart 6 is a series of six utilities that increase the functionality of the GA-P55-UD6. The six utilities are Smart Quick Boot, Smart Quick Boost, Smart Recovery, Smart Dual BIOS, Smart Recorder and Smart Time Lock. Each one offers something that fits a need. Smart Quick Boot allows you chose to shorten boot times by one of two ways: shortening hardware detection times when going from a cold boot or going into an S3+S4 state after shutdown, so you can resume right where you shut down after a wake up call. Smart Dual BIOS is a way to make sure passwords and information can be copied to both BIOS chips, to prevent a loss of this data.
Smart Quick Boost is a way to overclock your system to one of three preset levels, much the same as in the Easy Tune 6 software. You have Faster, Turbo, and Twin Turbo as options. Choose the option you want and reboot the computer to set the change, but be aware that you should install a better heatsink to take advantage of this tool. Smart Recovery is a way to automatically back up your data.
If you have more than one person using the computer, the next utilities can help alleviate some challenging situations. Monitoring the file activity on your computer can be done with Smart Recorder. This file activity includes things such as when you turn on and off the computer, or where files are moved to and from. Smart Time Lock lets you limit the times that the computer is available for use, as well as the amount of time users are able to be on the computer. This would be a great way to manage the amount of time children have access to the computer.
Gigabyte's Dynamic Energy Saver 2 software is a way for you to reduce the energy used by your system, in both idle and load conditions. By using the software, you can see that the power consumption of the CPU is dropped down to 0.6 Watts at idle. This is plenty low enough to make a dent in the size of the carbon footprint of your system!