GIGABYTE Z87X-UD5H Motherboard Review
GIGABYTE includes the latest version of their UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) DualBIOS with the the Z87X-UD5H 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. Note that this right click functionality behaves this way in Classic Mode only. Right clicking in Windows Mode displays the Shortcuts menu. GIGABYTE also includes a screen capture utility, which generates a 1024x768 BMP image in normal resolution mode and a 1920x1080 BMP image in HD resolution mode on an attached USB drive upon clicking the F12 function key.
GIGABYTE's BIOS implementation continues to one of the better Z87-based implementations on the market. However, there are still a few bugs to be worked out of the system. The most annoying for me was encountered when attempting to use the Screen Capture (F12) function while in Windows mode. Depending on the screen you are one and the graphical content of that screen, invoking Screen Capture would hard-lock the BIOS, forcing a system shutdown or reboot to recover. This didn't cause any long term damage to the connected USB drive or board, but was annoying. This issue did not occur while in Classic Mode. The only other complaint was the inability to access the BIOS in high resolution mode using a standalone video card. I tried with an NVIDIA 570 GTX through VGA, HDMI, and DVI to no avail. The only way HD resolution mode worked was by attaching an HDMI cable directly to the on board port and removing the video card from the system. All the issues encountered are easily remedied with future BIOS releases.
BIOS Notable Features
GIGABYTE's UEFI BIOS is by far the most innovative UEFI implementation I've seen on a Z87-based board. The most obvious change is the revamping of their 3D BIOS to the new DualBIOS branding. GIGABYTE offers two different use modes in the BIOS - Windows Mode and Classic Mode. You can switch between the two using the Shortcut menu or by pressing the F2 function key. The Windows Mode BIOS pages offer a modern-style interface with entry fields and horizontal sliders for most fields. Additionally, some fields have an On/Off toggle setting, allowing for instant application of the field value with this toggle set to On. The fields are grouped by sectional pages similar to the Classic Mode grouping. Windows 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 F6 function key to switch from standard to HD resolution. A Home section housing customizable tabs has be added to house your favorite features and a Favorites frame containing a Shortcuts section for fast access to menus and sub-menus.
Windows 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.
Windows Mode, Home section, HD resolution mode
In HD resolution mode, the BIOS screen resolution increases to full 1080p mode (1920x1080 resolution). In high definition mode, the normal Windows Mode pages and tabs are centered in the window with various fan speed, temperature, and voltage status, and board and CPU information around the outer edges of the screen. This is one of the most innovative features of GIGABYTE's DualBIOS, but it is also one of the more flaky. In order to get the BIOS to render in HD resolution, I had to connect via the onboard HDMI port with the video card removed from the system. Otherwise, HD resolution mode would not work.
Windows 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.
Windows Mode main screen, Home section, Select a Shortcut popup
Windows Mode main screen, Home section, Shortcut popup
When the Select Shortcut link is clicked under the Shortcuts heading in the Favorites frame, the Select a Shortcut menu displays. Through this menu, the user has the ability to added quick links to commonly used pages. This shortcut menu displays in the Favorites frame while in the Home tab or when the mouse is right clicked while in the Windows Mode BIOS interface. Note that only menus and sub-menus can be added to this shortcut list, options cannot be directly added to the list.
BIOS Walkthrough - Overclocking Setting, 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 Settings page
M.I.T. tab, Advanced Frequency Settings page, Advanced CPU Core Settings page continued
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, Advanced Power Settings 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
Windows Mode screens
Performance tab, Frequency page
Performance tab, Frequency page, Advanced CPU Core Settings page
Performance tab, Memory page
Performance tab, Memory page, Channel X Memory Sub Timings page
Performance tab, Voltage page