We are very familiar with ASRock’s UEFI BIOS and have pointed out many times that their interface was very convenient to work with, and the functionality was more than sufficient for successful overclocking and system fine-tuning.
The first section we see upon accessing the BIOS is called “Main”, which reports the basic information about our system. Moreover, there is now a very useful feature, which we have only seen on Biostar and then Intel mainboards before. Now we can select the BIOS section to be accessed upon entering the mainboard BIOS. It is a very useful option.
Most of the overclocking and fine-tuning options are gathered in “OC Tweaker” section. This gigantic page is separated into several sub-sections with horizontal lines. The “EZ OC Mode” parameter offers you options for automatic overclocking of the CPU, the next group of options relates to configuring the processor and the graphics core integrated into it, the options following that are related to the memory sub-system configuring, and the last group rounds up all parameters dealing with voltage adjustment. All current voltage readings are displayed right next to the corresponding parameters, which is very convenient.
Although the options in the “OC Tweaker” section are quite numerous, we do not see all of them, because the board originally sets everything on its own. However, once you select manual configuring option with the “Multiplier/Voltage Change” parameter, you get access to previously hidden options for adjusting the clock frequency multiplier as well as the voltages. The voltages may be set above and below the nominal values, may be set at fixed values or simply add an offset to the nominal setting. The digital voltage regulator circuitry allows setting the most optimal Vdroop for the processor and the graphics core integrated into it.
Once we select any of the parameters, the description of its operating principles gets displayed in the “Description” field on the right, and in most cases it is highly detailed. The screenshot above shows that the load-line calibration options are accompanied with a very illustrative and clear description in the form of a graph. This careful attention to user needs makes system configuring very painless and easy.
As usual, some parameters have been relocated into individual sections to unload the main page a little bit. In particular, all the settings for memory timings configuring have been singled out onto a separate page. It is extremely convenient that you can check the SPD settings right here as well, including those from the AMP or XMP profiles. However, when you choose to configure the timings manually, the “Auto” setting is only available for two of the timings in the entire list, which means you will have to make a lot of manual entries.
We are already very well familiar with the functionality of the sub-sections in the “Advanced” section: their names speak for themselves. They allow configuring peripheral devices and additional controllers.
The “CPU Configuration” sub-section contains basic information about the processor and offers to configure some processor technologies.
We are going to glance at the “Storage Configuration” sub-section only to remind you of the new “Easy RAID Installer” parameter, which allows to copy RAID drives from the accompanying DVD disk into the USB flash drive. You will need them when installing the OS onto a RAID array.
The “Tool” section contains many features of ASRock mainboards that we are already familiar with. Every time you enter the mainboard BIOS you will hear a typical speaker sound. Moreover, you will also hear sounds when navigating across the BIOS sections, switching between parameters and selecting one of the several available settings. If you get tired of the repeating sound effects, you may disable them using the “Sound Effect” option. “System Browser” sub-section is designed as a pretty precise schematic layout of the board itself. By rolling the mouse pointer over any of the mainboard components on this layout you can get information about it. ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) function allows denying Internet access at preset times and days of the week in the BIOS. We are also quite familiar with a very convenient BIOS updating tool called “Instant Flash”. This utility will analyze the contents of the plugged in USB drive and provide you a list of compatible updates. All you need to do at this point is select the correct BIOS version. We also noticed a few changes in another even more convenient BIOS updating utility called “Internet Flash”: now we can select the server for downloading the BIOS at the most convenient geographical location. “Dehumidifier Function” technology will prevent boot-up failures caused by excessive humidity inside the system case. The humidity can be easily lowered from 70% to 40% in a very simple way: by powering on the system from time to time. This function allows setting the frequency of system power-ups, the length of the on-time and the rotation speed of the CPU cooler fan. The last thing worth mentioning about the functionality of the “Tool” section is the board’s ability to save three user profiles and give each of them a detailed descriptive name.
“H/W Monitor” section allows monitoring temperatures, voltages and fan rotation speeds. Here, everything is very simple: four -pin fan connectors allow adjusting the rotation speed of the four-pin fans, while three-pin connectors allow lowering the rotation speed of three-pin fans. However, there are a few unique features here, which we are going to discuss a little later in this review. Moreover, the “Power FAN” speed can be monitored but cannot be adjusted in any way.
The “Boot” section allows choosing the startup system parameters.
“Security” section will offer to create administrator and user passwords. “Secure Boot” parameter indicates that this mainboard is Microsoft Windows 8 ready.
The last section called “Exit” allows you to apply all changes, cancel them or reset all settings to defaults. At any time and in any section you can use F1 key to display the help topics and the list of available hot keys.