Gigabyte is introducing their own take on the UEFI BIOS with their X79 Platform. I think Gigabyte has done a good job with their first implementation, although I'd like to see a bit more summary information on the main BIOS screen. It's still apparent that Gigabyte's UEFI is in its juvenile stages, as the cursor is a bit jumpy and animations aren't remarkably fluid, but all-in-all, it works fine, and the information layout is simple and logical. Digging deeper into the BIOS has a classic feel to it, so navigating to the options you're looking for when tweaking or overclocking won't have much of a learning curve.
Most motherboard manufacturers have a myriad of software to help make your motherboard easier to use, and add additional OS-side features. We'll scratch the surface on Gigabyte's offerings here.
Easy Tune 6
Easy Tune 6 provides three different one-click "Quick Boost" overclocking options, for our i7-3930K this meant 4.0, 4.2, and 4.4GHz options. It also allows you to access simplified and advanced BIOS-esque tweaking options to fine-tune your clock. It also features an information readout similar to CPU-z for both CPU and Memory/SPD, as well as GPU overclocking functions. Additionally, you can create fan profiles to fine-tune how your cooler fan responds to increasing thermal loads, and a hardware monitor displays voltage and fan temperature trends, which is nice to see during stress tests.
A new implementation with Gigabyte's X79 motherboards is their 3D-Power software, which offers a simple way to fine-tune a variety of PWM power options. It's a bit daunting when you dive in, and the options will be like a second language to most users, but allows phase, frequency, and voltage tweaking in the comfort of the OS, as opposed to wading through the specified options in the BIOS.
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@Bios is an updating utility for updating the BIOS to the latest version. Before testing, we updated to the most current "F9" BIOS and gave @BIOS a run. It worked easily and flawlessly, and really makes flashing your BIOS very easy.
Dolby Home Theater v4
Gigabyte has included Dolby Home Theater v4 to fine-tune your audio output from the Realtek ALC898 codec, and allows up to 6 custom profiles in addtion to three presets (which may also be individually customized). The software is pretty simple, but allows a bit of fine-tuning you might otherwise be lacking, and was a welcomed addition.
SMART 6 provides a simple panel for a variety of options. QuickBoot allows the BIOS QuickBoot option to reduce some of the POST checks, speeding up the POST time by several seconds. There's also an OS QuickBoot option which allows an near instant-on on the press of the power button, as it is essentially the "Sleep" function in Windows. SMART QuickBoost allows similar one-click overclocking like the main tab on Easy Tune 6. The other options allow quick options you might otherwise find in the BIOS. SMART Recovery creates an Image of your hard drive state at set intervals, so you might retrieve files, even if they've been deleted. Gigabyte's DualBIOS has long been one of their staples, as it allows BIOS redundancy in the event that the (previously disastrous) BIOS fails or becomes corrupted during flashing or any other reason. There is also a built-in option to save Passwords in the built-in 16MB BIOS storage capacity. TimeLock enables a "shut off" if the computer has been used for too long of a duration, you know, if your child, friend, or even yourself, needs intervention from using the computer for too long. For more details, click on over to the SMART 6 Summary Page.