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Sapphire and ECS X79 Motherboard Review

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Closer Look:


The ECS board comes with a utility to allow you to update your BIOS within Windows. When you open up the utility you will see your processor information, motherboard information, BIOS version, and your current operating system. If there are no recommended updates, your window will look like the first image below. You can force it to check for updates by clicking on "Check Update." When I clicked it, there was an update for me! It shows the type of update, in this case a system BIOS update, the current version compared to the available version, and exactly how large a download it will be. If you check the box you can start the update. Another little window will pop up confirming system information and then you can click "start" to search for the updates. This will then take you to the ECS website to get the newest supporting BIOS and or software for the board. You will no longer have to look things up manually.












Once you install the ECS software you can see a little more information. The little application gives you four simple tabs: Monitor, Easy Tune, Advance Tune, and Options. The Monitor tab shows you the current system and CPU temperature on little graphical icons. The Easy Tune allows you to change the CPU Frequency in Windows with a slider mechanism. It also reports system voltages and allows you to return to previous settings. Advance Tune allows you to control the voltages you found on the easy tune page and apply them immediately. Under Options you can set the delay for the apply button to actually apply settings, enable the software to start on boot, and whether or not to apply the settings when resuming from sleep.




Another feature that comes with the ECS software is a fan controlling application. There are four preset fan options based on full, normal, quiet, and silent speeds. The profiles are automatically set when you click on them. A graphical representation is also shown when looking at the different profiles. Each button has a type of aircraft to give you an idea of the fan noise; a jet to represent full, a carrier to show normal, a helicopeter for quiet, and a paper airplane for silent. It is pretty cute and clever. You can also adjust the graphical representation for a custom setting under the "custom" button.



EZ Charger is an application is an application that is used to manage the charging process for portable devices including many popular devices, especially iPad, iPhone and iPod. Three times the current of a traditional USB connection is available to the supported USB ports onboard to provide this method of charging your devices. The icon in the system tray is used to provide a visual indication of the charging status of the device.




Sapphire's TriXX is has been a popular alternative to MSI's Afterburner software when you are looking at video cards. Sapphire has put together a version of TriXX to support its motherboard line up and offers up a way to tweak the system performance while in the OS. Monitoring functionality is incorporated to give the end user a way to monitor voltages and temperatures without having to use an aftermarket utility. A widget for TriXX is installed as part of the installation package so that the full window can be minimized yet the monitoring functions are still open for the user in the widget tray.


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