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Exclusive Software

There is a long list of programs that help you deal with Gigabyte’s mainboards: @BIOS, Xpress Recovery, EasyTune, Dynamic Energy Saver, Smart 6, Auto Green, ON/OFF Charge, Cloud OC. That’s not the full list, and we’ve discussed these tools in our earlier reviews. Today, I am going to dwell upon two new utilities one of which just cannot be neglected as its logotype is posted on the very product box. So, Gigabyte Touch BIOS is a Windows-based utility for accessing the mainboard’s BIOS. Let’s see if this is as innovative a feature as the marketing slogan claims.

The main program window contains a few large buttons with descriptive captions.

Pressing the Overclock buttons displays the same screen as the BIOS’s MB Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T.) section.

In the same way, the utility allows changing almost any parameters you can find in the mainboard’s BIOS. Boot Disk is the same as the Advanced BIOS Features. PC Status is PC Health Status in the BIOS. Integrated Hardware and Power Management correspond to the BIOS’s Integrated Peripherals and Power Management Setup subsections, respectively. There are a few additional options. Pressing the @BIOS button evokes a BIOS update tool.

The Quick Boost button is for overclocking your computer automatically.

The settings page allows removing unnecessary icons from the program’s main window.

You can also change the order of the icons by simply dragging them with your mouse where you want them to be.

Is this utility handy? Well, in some ways, yes, but it’s not good that its window is always 800x600 pixels large and you cannot maximize it to the entire screen. As a result, you have to scroll through its pages in order to see all the options whereas Gigabyte’s BIOS is mostly free from multi-page screens and shows all of the settings at once. For example, you can compare the visibility area of the BIOS’s and program’s Advanced Voltage Settings and see that Gigabyte Touch BIOS only shows about one third of the available options.

So, I would prefer the traditional BIOS interface if I wanted to change many parameters at once, for example to overclock my system, because that would be the quicker and easier way. On the other hand, the Windows-based utility is helpful when you've already performed your basic setting up and only need to adjust one or two options from time to time. For example, when looking for optimal overclocking parameters, you need to change the CPU voltage. If the computer hasn't passed a stability check, you may want to increase that voltage a little. You would do this by rebooting, entering the BIOS, accessing the necessary subsection, finding the appropriate parameter, changing that parameter, applying the changes and rebooting, waiting for the OS to boot up and going on with your tests. The Gigabyte Touch BIOS utility simplifies the process as it allows bookmarking the option you need. So, you open the utility right on the necessary screen, change the voltage, save the changes and click the restart button. You only have to wait for the computer to reboot. You can see that the second way is faster, therefore I used that utility in my overclocking experiments.

Does this program have any downsides other than the inability to be maximized to the entire screen? Yes, it has. It's not handy that you have to click a special Previous Page button in order to get back. Doing that with the Esc key or with the right mouse button would be easier. You also have to click the inconspicuous Save CMOS button to apply your changes. Your changes will be lost if you close the program without doing that. I guess there should be a warning message to remind the user about any unsaved changes before quitting the program. The color of the Save CMOS button might also be changed when there are unapplied changes in order to draw the user's attention to it. Changes are applied only after restarting, so it would be nice if the utility offered the user to reboot the computer when quitting. And finally, Gigabyte Touch BIOS does not allow to access the user-defined BIOS profiles and even does not allow to create its own user-defined profiles with settings.

Despite these downsides, I really liked the Touch BIOS tool. As for the second utility I've mentioned above, Gigabyte EZ Smart Response does not even have a user interface of its own. It doesn't need one, actually. In order to accelerate your disk subsystem by making use of Intel's Smart Response technology it is not enough just to buy an SSD and connect it to your computer. You'll get an error message telling you that the system doesn't meet the minimum requirements. You have to install the driver first, then switch your disk subsystem into RAID mode in the BIOS, and then enable caching by means of Intel Rapid Storage Technology. The Gigabyte EZ Smart Response utility saves you the trouble of getting through all these steps on your own. You only have to launch the program and get Intel Smart Response up and running in a couple of reboots.

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