Product Listing

Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP7 Motherboard - The King of the Hill?

By Wong Chung Wee - 21 Mar 2013
Launch SRP: S$600

Bundled Software - Proprietary Tools and Utilities

Gigabyte EasyTune 6

There were a number of applications that came bundled with the board on a DVD-ROM. One of the most prominent is Gigabyte's EasyTune 6 that is a system utility tool that allows users to fine-tune the settings of their rig or to overclock their system in the Windows OS environment. It has been a long while since we last touched upon this tool, so we'll relate our usage experience of this utility and how it copes with a modern system's OC aspects. EasyTune 6 actually comprises of a number of reporting tools, but the default tab shown is Tuner, which is the most important portion of the utility.

 The EasyTune 6 utility's default screen when we first launched the application after its successful installation on our test system.

The Quick Boost Mode of the Tuner section presents us three buttons to overclock the system. We decided to test the utility's capability to overclock our rig by choosing the most difficult option, Level 3. After clicking on the corresponding button, the software prompted us to reboot the system. During the reboot, we quickly delved into the UEFI BIOS utility to peek at the any changes in the BIOS settings made by EasyTune 6. We managed to spot a few changes as EasyTune 6 adjusted the CPU/PCIe Base Clock from 100MHz to 104MHz and it bumped up the CPU Clock Ratio from 35 to 45.

The EasyTune 6 utility changed some BIOS settings in the Advanced Frequency Settings menu.

At the same time, it also made an adjustment to the Dynamic Vcore by increasing the offset voltage to a value of +0.150V.

The Dynamic Vcore's value was changed to a positive offset voltage of 0.150V from its default value of zerio.

The Tuner component, in its Quick Boost Mode, presents a simple and easy to use manner to overclock our test rig; however, when we ran our Cinebench 11.5 benchmark to ascertain the stability of the board in its OC state, the benchmark failed to complete as it crashed midway during its execution. This goes to show that the utility probably has preset OC states corresponding to the three levels of Quick Boost but there are no strenuous checks made to ascertain the success level of the overclocked settings. As such, you'll have to still contend with fine tuning to achieve a stable overclock.

Moving on, toggling to its Easy mode, the large visual button-driven menu was replaced by another menu with three tabs - Frequency, Ratio and Voltage, but only the Frequency tab could be accessed. At the said tab, we could only adjust the BCLK frequency by adjusting its slider, clicking on the black arrow ends, or by entering the value into the text box. In order to reset the BCLK frequency, we had to click the small circle near the right-pointing black arrow end. We know it's not a pretty intuitive interface, but it works.

In Easy Mode, only the Frequency tab was accessible, while the Ratio and Voltage tabs couldn't be accessed as they were disabled.

In its Advanced mode, we were finally able to access the Ratio and Voltage tabs as well unlock the memory frequency settings of the Frequency tab.

In the Advanced mode, we were also able to change the frequency of the memory modules. This is especially useful in overclocking with memory modules that are rated 1,600MHz or less as it allows underclockicng them in order to compensate for any increments made to the BCLK frequency.

The Ratio tab in the Advanced mode of the Tuner section, allowed us to set the Turbo Core ratio with respect to the number of active CPU cores.

The Voltage tab presented us a wide selection of voltage settings and a number of the settings like CPU Vcore, CPU Vtt, CPU PLL, IMC and much more. These are the more commonly used settings for intermediate levels of overclocking. You could go ahead to tweak everything else, but you'll need to be an expert hand to keep track of the various variables involved and what directly contributed to an increase or decrease in overclockability.

The voltage settings here are extremely comprehensive for power users.

After changing any values, take note that you've to click the Set button in order to implement changes made. The settings can also be saved as a local file on the system and loaded when they are needed.

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  • Performance 8
  • Features 9
  • Value 6.5
The Good
Rich feature set
Highly overclockable
Support for 4-way GPU setup
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
The Bad
Very expensive
No support for Thunderbolt
Disparate mix of supporting software utility
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