Articles: Mainboards

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The System Alerts screen allows you to specify temperature and fan speed thresholds and set up their update rate. Permissible voltage ranges cannot be specified so the voltages can be as high or low as you want.

The 3D Power screen duplicates some of the Advanced Voltage Settings from the mainboard's BIOS. However, after we had set the CPU Phase Control option at Balanced, EasyTune showed it as Extreme Performance. It is not clear if the program gets the value wrong or the BIOS option just doesn’t work.

Clicking on the Hardware Monitor icon opens a fanciful diagram with data about voltages, temperatures and fan speeds. The numerous colored lines form a chaotic picture which is hard to read for specific values.

That’s the end of EasyTune’s functionality. The following utility, @BIOS, didn't change for years, but now has been revised to offer more capabilities. Its purpose is to automatically update the mainboard's firmware by downloading it from an appropriate server. It can also use an already downloaded file and lets you save the current firmware version before updating. The new option Face-Wizard can be used to change the picture which is shown each time the mainboard starts up.

The USB Blocker tool can block certain types of USB-compatible devices. When you start the program for the first time and change its settings, you have to enter a password.

The EZ Setup utility offers a quick way to specify an operation mode for your disks and enable such technologies as Intel Smart Response, Intel Rapid Start, Intel Smart Connect and Gigabyte eXtreme Hard Drive (X.H.D.). Everything is done automatically, so you don't have to change any BIOS options yourself.

The ON/OFF Charge 2 utility lets you quickly recharge iOS or Android-based gadgets if you connect them to two special USB ports, which feature increased current and work even when the computer is turned off.

Using the Smart Recovery 2 utility, you can create a disk image and later restore the whole disk partition or specific files out of it.

The last utility offered by APP Center is Live Update. Despite its obvious simplicity, it took us some time to understand how to use it. There was a message prompting us to choose required updates but we could not select them even after we restarted the utility or the OS. Moreover, Live Update doesn’t recognize that some utilities are already installed. For example, our chipset driver is version and the network driver is version 18.3 but APP Center doesn’t see that and suggests that we install them.

Since we couldn’t select particular items, we had to click Update and download all of them. However, the Live Update utility refused to do that, saying that we had to select necessary updates first.

Recalling our experience of playing quests, we did some pixel-hunting and found that the updates could indeed be selected by checking checkboxes in front of their names. The problem is that the checkboxes are barely visible.

We saw the new interface of Gigabyte’s exclusive utilities for the first time when we were preparing the Gigabyte GA-Z87-D3H review. We didn’t open them twice then, though. For our today’s review we had to check them out with all their downsides. The interface is new indeed while the functionality has been extended. The overall impression is, however, spoiled by the important EasyTune utility and by Live Update with their awful GUI solutions.

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