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Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R Review

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Closer Look:

With most motherboards, you can just insert the driver disk and go from there.  I attempted that but the disk used a mix of scripts in the executable that were full of glitches and caused the application to hang. Instead, I opted to get the software and latest drivers directly from the Gigabyte website. After a couple drivers and two programs, this computer was ready to go! The main drivers for the motherboard were the USB 3.0, SATA 3.0, audio, Ethernet, and chipset drivers. The software was Dynamic Energy Saver 2 and Easy Tune 6 for optimal efficiency and adjusting motherboard settings without going into BIOS. The files downloaded from the Gigabyte website were compressed files that extracted, browsing to these folders made driver and software installation very simple. Dynamic Energy Saver 2 was installed after accepting the terms and usage agreement.
















Once installed, the program defaults to being off, with CPU power usage displayed. Clicking the big red button will make it green, or clicking the ON part. Once the application is enabled, it turns blue and lights up.  The ON-part lights up green and three levels of power saving are selectable. Some pistons bob back and forth as they would in an engine - displaying the board's phase switching. Both the current and total power usage are recorded and viewable at the top. Six icons at the bottom display which hardware devices are saving energy - in this case only the CPU was reported to be (although the NVIDIA GTX 260 was throttling speed and saving energy). The @ symbol at the bottom right attempts to check for software updates. Near the bottom left is a button that says advanced - clicking this brings up a more complicated screen for adjusting hardware for optimal efficiency. Memory and CPU speed can be adjusted, Chipset and memory voltage can be adjusted, Smart Fan enabled or disabled, CPU throttling and low power state settings can also be switched.



Easy Tune 6 sits in the task bar until being right-clicked and selecting show. The software installation is very simple as it was with Dynamic Energy Saver 2 - just clicking next and agreeing to the terms and usage agreement. Once installed, users are welcomed by the Tuner screen with three options - slightly overclocked i7, moderate overclock, and decent overclock (BCLK 140, 150,and 160 MHz respectively). The gains are graphically represented underneath the big buttons.



Clicking advanced gives users a plethora of motherboard settings similar to what is available in the BIOS. Frequency has BCLK, Memory, and PCI-E timings available for alteration. Ratio allows users to adjust the cores/threads individually.




Memory displays the SPD information of the memory installed by slot - similar again to the memory tab of CPU-Z. The primary memory timings and frequencies are displayed at the bottom, while general information is displayed at the top - size, max bandwidth, manufacturer, part number, error correction, registered, buffered, and so on. The graphics tab displays the current Core, Memory, and Shader speeds that the card is running at. Since the GTX 260 was idling the card ran at low speed to save energy. These values can be adjusted from Easy Tune 6 but fan speed cannot be.



The Smart tab has controls for Smart Fan operation - disabled, automatic, and user-defined. Users can define what temperatures should dictate certain fan speeds. Lastly, HW monitor displays information about the current operative voltages and fan speeds. An audible alert can also be enabled in case of emergency.



Time to go play with the BIOS!

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