Today’s mainboards all use the BIOS code from AMI, so they all have similar capabilities and even the same names of some options. However, each mainboard maker introduces special features and Gigabyte’s advantages can be spotted right away. We mean the fantastically rich customization options. The BIOS of the GA-Z87X-OC is Gigabyte’s generic but with orange elements in its interface design.
The first BIOS screen shows you a lot of diverse parameters, so you can adjust clock rates, frequency multipliers and voltages, but that’s just a basic set that you can edit if you want to. In the same way you can edit the contents of the next five pages. In other words, you have six customizable BIOS pages which you can fill in with any BIOS options and in any order you prefer.
The Shortcuts in the right part of the screen are a list of frequently accessed BIOS options. The list is editable. You can open it anywhere in the BIOS interface by simply clicking with your right mouse button. Then you just choose any option or BIOS section from it.
The central window with adjustable BIOS option is surrounded by constantly updated info panels. Below, there is a running line with tips about controls and active hotkeys. Switching to a lower screen resolution will remove the info panels into the respective BIOS sections. The Background Wallpaper option lets you choose any background picture from a connected disk. The Start-up Page option defines which page is to be opened by default when you access the BIOS interface. Display Policy helps you choose a high or low screen resolution. Working Environment switches between the new and classic BIOS interface and Mouse Speed adjusts your mouse sensitivity.
Despite the lack of visual customization options, Gigabyte’s classic BIOS contains the same parameters as the new Dashboard interface, so you can use it just as easily to set up or overclock your computer. You can instantly switch between the two versions of the BIOS interface by pressing the F2 key.
As opposed to other BIOS implementations where fine-tuning and overclocking options are mostly collected all together in a single large BIOS section, Gigabyte puts them into several BIOS pages. There are separate subsections related to the CPU, memory subsystem and voltages, each subsection being split up further into multiple pages. This interface design lets you easily see all the options in a single screen. You don’t have to look up the necessary parameter in a long scrollable list. You can enjoy this advantage in the classic BIOS interface only, though. The modern interface often makes you scroll down, too. Moreover, moving between the numerous subsections and pages may be troublesome and you can easily skip over some group of settings.
In the Advanced Frequency Settings subsection you can adjust clock rates and frequency multipliers, monitoring the results via the info parameters available right here. The new options CPU Upgrade and Performance Upgrade can help you overclock your CPU and your entire computer automatically.
CPU-related technologies, power-saving modes and frequency multiplier settings belong to the Advanced CPU Core Settings.
The memory subsystem is set up in a similar way. Clock rates and additional parameters are specified in one screen, and the latencies, in another.
The voltages subsection contains several pages: for the digital power system, for the CPU, for the chipset and for the memory subsystem.
The PC Health Status subsection reports current voltages, temperatures and the speed of the six 4-pin fans (two CPU and four system ones). The two 3-pin fan connectors are not regulated or monitored at all - fans connected to them are going to work at a constant speed.
As is typical of Gigabyte mainboards, the second CPU fan can be regulated even via 3-pin connection (this is now supported by ASRock and ASUS’s ROG series mainboards, too). The 4-pin system fan connectors can do such regulation as well. You can choose one of the two predefined fan regulation modes (Normal or Silent), enable full speed or set everything up manually.
The Save & Exit section is where you can apply your changes, exit without saving or load default BIOS settings. You can also manage BIOS profiles from here. The mainboard stores up to eight BIOS profiles which can be given descriptive names. The profiles can be saved to external disks or loaded from them. A unique feature of Gigabyte mainboards, the current BIOS settings are saved automatically after the mainboard starts up successfully - even the total number of successful starts is recorded. Thus, you can get back to a working BIOS profile even though you have not explicitly saved it. The GA-Z87X-OC differs from Gigabyte’s ordinary mainboards in allowing you to loading the eighth profile without entering the BIOS. Just press the OC Tag button and the profile will be applied on the next restart.
We should remind you of the integrated firmware update tool called Q-Flash. It is evoked by pressing F8 in the BIOS interface or the End key while starting up. As opposed to such tools on ASRock and ASUS mainboards, Q-Flash allows to save the current firmware version prior to updating.
We’ve given you a brief description of the key features of Gigabyte’s new UEFI DualBIOS that differentiate it from BIOSes of other mainboards. If you want more details, you can refer to our review of Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5. The new Dashboard interface is covered in the former whereas the latter is about the classic BIOS interface.