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Z68 Motherboard Roundup


Closer Look:


When it comes to the ASUS uEFI BIOS, you are going to get quite a different layout than the ASRock's version that we just got done looking at. When you first boot up into the BIOS, you get a very sleek and informative screen (which ASUS calls the EZ Mode) that shows you the date and time in the top left hand corner. Across the top you are going to get information about your current system configuration, such as BIOS version, the motherboard used, build date, CPU speed, CPU type, and total memory used. Under that you are going to get a few progress bars that show you your current temperatures of the CPU and motherboard, as well as the current CPU vCore, 3.3V, 5.0V, and 12V, as well as the fan speeds that you have connected to the motherboard. In the center of the screen you have three different selections that you can make — you can change your system to Power Saving mode, Normal mode, and ASUS Optimal mode. At the bottom you have the Boot Priority, where you can either click into it and get the popup message to select the Boot Priority, or you can drag and drop the icons of the devices to the desired sequence. In the top right-hand corner of the screen you have the Exit/Advanced Mode button. When you click this, you can Discard Changes & Exit, Save Changes & Reset, or go into the Advanced Mode.













When you go into the Advanced Mode, you ge a screen that looks very similar to the EZ Screen as far as color scheme goes, however you have a whole lot more options that you can adjust and tweak to get your system set up the way you want it. Across the top you have your navigation bar where you are able to switch between the different screens, such as Main, Ai Tweaker, Advanced, Monitor, Boot, and Tool. There is an Exit button up in the top right-hand corner that you will use to save your settings and exit out, but we will look at that at the end. On the Main screen of Advanced mode is where you are going to find information very similar to the EZ screen, but in a format you are more used to looking at. When you switch over to the AI Tweaker screen, you are given all the options for changing your overclocking settings. When you set the AI Overclock Tuner to Manual, you can change your bCLK to what you want as well as the Multiplier. Here you are able to set the Memory Frequency as well as the EPU Power Saving Mode. Scrolling down gives you the DIGI+ VRM settings, such as the Load-line Calibration, VRM Fixed Frequency Mode, Phase, and Duty Control. The next set of settings are all the voltages that you can change, such as the CPU, DRAM, VCCIO, CPU PLL, PCH, and the DRAM CTRL and DATA REF per channel.




Back on the main AI Tweaker screen there are three options toward the top: OC Tuner, DRAM Timing Control, and CPU Power Management. Clicking the OC Tuner option will automatically overclock the frequency and voltage of the PCPU and DRAM for enhancing the system performance. Going into the DRAM Timing Control gives you the following screens, where you are able to set all the RAM timings that you want to change. This is very useful to manually set them when you are running your RAM at or close to stock settings, as some are very picky on the timings set. In the CPU Power Management screen you are able to set the CPU ratio and enable or disable Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology and Turbo Mode. You are also able to adjust the Turbo Mode Parameters here.



The Advanced screen is where you are going to be able to make configuration changes to the CPU, System Agent, PCH, SATA, USB, and Onboard Devices, as well as set up the APM. When you click into the CPU Configuration screen, you get a nice list of all the features that the currently installed CPU has, as well as the ability to enable or disable some of them. You are also able to change the Turbo mode settings as well as the CPU Ratio on this screen. On the System Agent screen, you are able to setup the IGP and enable the Lucid Virtu features.




Under the PCH Configuration screen, you are able to enable or disable the High Precision Event Timer. When you go into the SATA Configuration screen, you are able to set the SATA mode to IDE, AHCI, or RAID. You are also able to enable or disable the Hot Plug settings for all the SATA ports. ASUS has all the ports' physical color mentioned on this screen as well, which can be helpful when you are determining which device is not being recognized in the BIOS or are looking for a failed hard drive in your RAID array. Under the USB Configuration screen, you are going to be able to see how many devices are detected and which kind of devices they are, as well as enable or disable Legacy USB and USB 3.0 support.



The Onboard Devices Configuration screen is where you are going to be able to set all the board's features, such as the HD Audio, Bluetooth Controller, VIA 1394 Controller, Marvell Storage Controller, Intel LAN Controller, and the Asmedia USB 3.0 controller. The APM screen is where you are going to adjust the Power On By settings, as well as the Restore AC Power Loss settings.



The Monitor screen is where you are going to be able to view the current conditions of your system, such as the CPU and motherboard temperatures, and fan speeds, as well as make adjustments to the fan settings if you wish to. You are also going to be able to enable or disable the Anti-Surge function that ASUS has on its motherboards.



Under the Boot screen, you are going to be able to configure the boot sequence as well as all the boot options like Bootup NumLock State, Full Screen Logo, and Wait for 'F1' If Error. You can also change how the uEFI BIOS is started up; either straight to the EZ Mode or the Advanced Mode. You can change all the Boot Overrides here as well. When you go into the Had Drive BBS Priorities you are going to be able to change the Hard Drive boot order and under the CD/DVD ROM Drive BBS Priories you can change the optical drive boot order.




On the Tools screen, you are able to launch the ASUS EZ Flash 2 Utility, which will load all the filesystems available and allow you to navigate through them to locate a new BIOS version that you wish to flash to. The ASUS O.C. Profile screen is where you are able to save and load Overclocking Profiles with all of your BIOS settings, which can be helpful when you are trying to get the maximum overclock you can. There is also an option to view your SPD Information for the RAM installed in your system, which is helpful if you don't happen to have the information next to you while you are setting up your system.




When you click the Exit button up at the top right-hand corner of the screen, you get the pop-up menu that allows you to Load Optimized Defaults, Save Changes & Reset, Discard Changes & Exit, go back to ASUS EZ Mode, or Launch EFI Shell from the filesystem device.

  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty
  3. Closer Look: ASUS P8Z68-V
  4. Closer Look: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO
  5. Closer Look: ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE
  6. Closer Look: ASRock uEFI BIOS
  7. Closer Look: ASUS uEFI BIOS
  8. Specifications & Features
  9. Testing: Setup and Overclocking
  10. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, Geekbench, Bibble 5
  11. Testing: Office 2007, POV Ray
  12. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2011
  13. Testing: ScienceMark, CineBench, HDTune
  14. Testing: MediaEspresso
  15. Testing: PCMark7
  16. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  17. Testing: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  18. Testing: Sid Meier's Civilization V
  19. Testing: 3DMark 11
  20. Testing: IGP, Lucid Virtu
  21. Conclusion
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