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Sapphire and ECS X79 Motherboard Review


Closer Look:

Jumping into the BIOS, it’s a little friendlier looking than what most of us may have been used to without the blue and black. You’ll have full control with lots of graphics and can even use your mouse! Okay so this whole UEFI thing isn’t really all that new and novel but I’m not really a huge fan of it either. I still prefer my keyboard interaction only (which can still be done here). I just feel the more friendly the BIOS appears, the more trouble one may find themselves – but it’s nice to see more people "playing." You have options for language, option to set default settings, a standard just boot option, and "advanced"to launch you into the actual BIOS for settings. That is where we shall go…















Into the Main screen you can change system language here as well as check the date and time on your BIOS. The Advanced Tab allows control of LAN options as well as SATA and ACPI settings as needed. Going into the SATA Configuration you can ensure AHCI is enabled or IDE/RAID depending on your particular setup. You can even setup a staggered spin-up on boot to have multiple drives spin up at various steps to lower draw on your systems power supply – keeping you from having your max power use at boot. This was pretty neat – I could really see using this on a system with multiple drives even, such as my home theater (which has eleven drives running from it now) and struggles a bit at boot sometimes.



Moving into the Chipset tab a couple of options are avialabe here. We can play with the PCH Configuration or the ME Subsystems. Opening up the PCH Configuraiton you can ensure your rig stays down when a power outage occurs or to have it come back up – but I’d highly recommend you just let it stay down. I’m sure most of you know, or can at least agree, having your rig cycle up and down with a lightning storm does nothing good.



The M.I.B.X (MB Intelligent BIOS X) tab opens up what I call the fun parts of the BIOS. Here we’ll be able to Configure the CPU, OC, and change Memory settings. If you want to change your memory run speeds up or down you can do it here at the MIBX screen. Opening up the CPU Configuration gives us the Ratio Setting Controls (such as by Turbo Boost or not) as well as that specified ratio. You can then set your core ratio limits accordingly and your power limit overrides. Opening up the Memory OC panel we can setup different XMP Profiles for your memory settings. There’s tons of settings and plenty of room to fine tune if you have the skill – though 95% of these will often go untouched.




The Boot tab looks like it has a bunch of options but in reality it’s not too many. Here you can decide how the keyboard numberpad or lack of numberpad works (NumLock State) – a personal preference type deal. You can also set your preferred boot order if you have multiple inputs. You have options for HDD, CD/DVD, USB, USB HDD, USB CD, USB Flash, and Network. So it definitely has some perks if you are trying to install an OS from a USB stick versus the "standard" CD format. The Security tab really doesn’t have mouch – just allows you to password protect the rights to the BIOS.

The Save & Exit tab really has more than just the Save function to it; it actually allows you to save multiple profiles for different OC settings, or in progress settings. But it also has the standard Save and Exit features as well as the Discard feature to get rid of anything you may have changed. Overall there are more than enough options in this BIOS to keep you happy.



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: ECS X79R-AX Black Deluxe
  3. Closer Look: Sapphire Pure Black X79N
  4. Closer Look: Utilities
  5. Closer Look: ECS BIOS
  6. Closer Look: Sapphire BIOS
  7. Specifications and Features: ECS
  8. Specifications and Features: Sapphire
  9. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  10. Testing: PCM7
  11. Testing: HD Tune (5.0), AIDA64 2.20
  12. Testing: Sandra, X264, Handbrake
  13. Testing: USB 3.0
  14. Testing: 3DMark 11, DiRT 3, BF3
  15. Conclusion
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