Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H ReviewRHKCommander959 -
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Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H Closer Look:
The Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H has UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), which replaces the older style BIOS. UEFI is much more advanced, like a miniature operating system; they can usually access thumb drives, and some have web support built in. They are also capable of being customized, and provide the ability to boot from storage drives larger than 2TB. The BIOS chips are both 128 MB and use AMI EFI BIOS. Features include Plug 'N Play (PNP) 1.0a, Direct Media Interface (DMI) 2.0, System Management BIOS (SMBIOS) 2.0, and Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) 2.0a.
The Gigabyte UEFI has seven primary tabs at the relative top: Home, Performance, System, BIOS Features, Peripherals, Power Management, and Save & Exit. Many of these primary tabs have their own sub-tabs. Things start off at a customizable "Performance" tab located on the Home screen tab with a premade layout. CPU options are listed here by default. To the immediate right of this is the Favorites section for quick selection of BIOS features and boot order setting through icons. The second premade category is called Standard and has some basic display and SATA options. Three more tabs exist and are called Your Name 1, 2, 3, and 4. Each is empty save for a button to set the page up to your own styling. This is very nice because you can choose which options you want and where; you could set one whole page for SATA options, clock rates, voltages, or whatever categories you can imagine!
Setup is easy; there are categories to choose from and you can change the tab names and orders. At the left are CPU frequency, multiplier ratio, Vcore, VRIN and VAXG voltages, CPU temperature, and both CPU fan header speeds. The OCZ watercooling kit has integrated fan control so the CPU fan headers weren't used. Under that are memory statistics, frequency, voltage, and timings of both channels A and B. The top bounces between DRAM and CPU voltage, all fan header speeds, and different temperatures on the system. The right side continues to show settings: the host clock frequency, +3.3V voltage, +5V voltage, +12V voltage, system and PCH temperatures, and three system fan speeds. The bottom lists the motherboard and BIOS information, as well as CPU version and ID, and lastly total memory installed.
The next primary tab is the Performance tab. Not to be confused with the Home Performance tab that can be changed, this tab is full of settings for frequencies and voltages. The first option is Performance Boost, which ranges from auto, medium, high, ultra, and extreme. Respectively these left the CPU at stock, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, and 4.7GHz, while running the memory at its rated 2133MHz. CPU Base Clock can be adjusted but isn't able to provide much for CPU overclocking since it is tied to everything. Many other settings for frequency adjustments are found, including the onboard graphics and memory. There is also a feature called CPU Upgrade, which has the processor run at a different processor's level. The second tab is for the memory and has much more options than Frequency did for memory. Using the X.M.P. profile, the memory worked perfectly at 2133MHz. For those that want to tweak their memory further you can adjust voltage, frequency, and timings here.
After the Memory sub-tab under Performance is Voltage. Voltage is separated into four different pages accessed by clicking the Enter buttons. First is 3D Power Control; here you can adjust various protections for voltage, current, temperature, and PWM loading and switch rate settings. There is a picture to the right showing the various profiles and how voltage drop is affected. Intel specifies that as the processor consumes more amps (loading the CPU causes this) that the voltage is supposed to decrease. There are a few reasons to this including keeping temperatures lower and protecting the CPU. For overclocking this can cause instability, so this can be reduced or even negated for increased stability under load. The next voltage option is CPU Core Voltage Control; here there are several voltage options to adjust the voltages going to different parts of the processor. The list is comprehensive; those looking to push the onboard graphics will find the voltage for that here as well since the graphics processor is on the CPU on this architecture. Last is the DRAM Voltage Control; on this page there is only this setting, so not much to explain. By now it is becoming obvious that information here is redundant. At first the layout seems daunting, but really the options are available in multiple locations!
PC Health Status is the next subcategory under Performance. Here there are options for various warnings from fan failures to case open warnings, and fan speed control customization. The last subcategory is Miscellaneous, where you can set PCIe slot configuration manually and also set the board for better scores in older benchmarks with Legacy BenchMark Enhancement.
The next primary tab is called System. Here it gives options to set up languages, multiple BIOS users and passwords, swap to a low-resolution mode, view the BIOS in a classic look, change the wallpaper, and change how booting occurs. To the right is a calendar and clock that can be adjusted.
Peripherals is another tab with several complex sub-tabs. The first sub-tab is Device Config; here you can set the primary display, enable or disable LAN, adjust onboard graphics settings, set the Marvell SATA controller settings, and adjust a few other settings. The SATA Config sub-tab is for the Intel SATA ports; here you can set SATA mode to AHCI, RAID, or IDE. The SATA ports are listed separately and can be disabled or setup for hot swap individually. Device names are also listed so it is clear what you are changing. This is another page where you will need to wheel down to see everything. The Super IO Config sub-tab only has one option to be changed: the Serial port can be disabled or enabled. In the last sub-tab, Intel(R) Smart Connect Technology can be enabled and has options for notifications and network power controls.
The last Primary settings tab is Power Management. Here users can adjust wake-up settings, including by timers, alarms, LAN, and AC failure. Power button settings can be adjusted, as well as options for being powered on by keyboard or mouse. The end of the BIOS, Save & Exit, does as its name suggests. You can also do a Boot Override, Save and Load settings profiles that can be located in the BIOS, or external storage in HDD (and SSD), FDD (although there isn't a FDD header), and USB devices. This makes it easy to share overclock settings with others! System defaults can be loaded here if you want to start from scratch, and the BIOS can be updated here as well.
That about sums it up for the BIOS. The following page will explain the Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H's features at length.