GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H Motherboard Review
GIGABYTE includes the latest version of their UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS with the the Z87X-UD3H motherboard. The UEFI BIOS offers full keyboard and mouse support while using the BIOS pages with enhanced mouse navigation supported by right clicking the mouse - goes back to previous view if inside a settings pop-up or on a sub-menu page. GIGABYTE also includes a screencap utility, which generates a BMP 1024x768 image on an attached USB drive upon clicking the F12 function key.
While the GIGABYTE UEFI implementation was one of the most innovative I've seen out of all the Z87 board's, its stability left something to be desired. At one point, the primary BIOS chip destabilized to the point that I was forced to switch to the backup BIOS. Even after the switch over to the backup BIOS, the system would lockup on me seemingly at random while in the BIOS. The BIOS itself was a laggy in certain areas as well with mouse use in the Dashboard mode screens inconsistent, especially when attempting to go from the sliding bars to entry fields for direct keyboard entry. However, this is a very new BIOS implementation and can only get better over time. All the issues encountered could be easily remedied with future BIOS releases.
BIOS Notable Features
As I said previously, GIGABYTE's UEFI BIOS is by far the most innovative I've seen yet on a Z87-based board. The most obvious change is the revamping of their UEFI BIOS. GIGABYTE offers two different use modes in the BIOS - Dashboard Mode and Classic Mode. You can switch between the two using the shortcut menu or by pressing the F2 function key. The Dashboard Mode bios offers a prettier interface with both entry fields and horizontal sliders for every field with fields grouped by sectional pages similar to the Classic Mode grouping. Dashboard Mode also offers a high definition operational mode that uses the additional resolution space to show board specs along the outside of the configuration screens. You can click on the Resolution Toggle setting from the shortcut menu or hit the F3 function key to switch from standard to HD resolution. Additionally, a Home section housing customizable tabs has be added to house your favorite features.
Dashboard Mode, Home section
The Home section offers the use a series of six customizable tabs for housing any settings within the BIOS. The first two tabs, named Performance and Standard, are pre-populated with settings appropriate to the tab name. Each tab contains a Setup button allowing for configuration of the settings shown with the tab. For settings with numeric configuration, like CPU ratio or voltage settings, have an entry field, a horizontal slider, as well as an on-off button to the right of the slider. You have the option of manually entering values or using the slider for selection. The On-Off button is the most intriguing though, allowing the user to enable real-time adjustment and enactment of the setting changes made.
Dashboard Mode main screen, Home section, Setup User Options popup
When the Setup button is clicked, the Setup User Options menu displays. The user has the ability to select any setting from the BIOS for display as well as customizing the tab name. The options can be reorder from within this menu as well.
BIOS Walkthrough - Overlocking Settings, Classic Mode
M.I.T. tab, M.I.T. Current Status page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Frequency Settings page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Frequency Settings page, Advanced CPU Core Features page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Memory Settings page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Memory Settings page, DRAM Channel Timing Settings page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Memory Settings page, DRAM Channel Timing Settings page, Misc Timing Control settings
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Memory Settings page, DRAM Channel Timing Settings page, Misc Timing Control settings continued
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Voltage Settings page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Voltage Settings page, 3D Power Control page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Voltage Settings page, CPU Core Voltage Control page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Voltage Settings page, Chipset Voltage Control page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Voltage Settings page, DRAM Voltage Control page
M.I.T. tab, PC Health Status page
M.I.T. tab, PC Health Status page, Fan and Temperature Threshold settings
M.I.T. tab, Miscellaneous Settings page