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GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Sep 3, 2015 4:45 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

BIOS

 

At the beginning, GIGABYTE's UEFI was only the classic based advanced mode that I have taken screenshots of below. After I updated to the most recent UEFI, the orange and easy mode BIOSes came back, which can be a bit confusing if you don't read this review. You should only use the advanced mode (gray) as it has everything; the other BIOS modes are just redundant.

 

Overall, the BIOS was stable; I didn't run into to any problems that would give me a headache. Some boards I have used have problems detecting drives or allowing easy drive selection for booting, but GIGABYTE makes it pretty easy. All the overclocking settings you would ever want are present, plus some more hidden settings. Even though this is a public UEFI, Intel has so many behind the scenes settings for DRAM and CPU overclocking that GIGABYTE's engineers didn't hide them, so you can tinker with them if you want. This includes IMC timings and extra internal VR settings. Don't be confused, the CPU doesn't have the FIVR, but some settings are internal to the CPU's internal power management.

 

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The only thing missing from the UEFI is a graphical interface for fan control. You are able to set linear slopes for the PWM control method on each individual header, but you can't pick points at which the fan increases in speed. This isn't a huge downside, and there are built in profiles which provide a cooling curve rather than a straight line, but hopefully in the future GIGABYTE will implement a GUI like other vendors have.

 

 

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Software

 

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Since GIGABYTE is using dual Intel NICs on the motherboard, they are employing the cFOS software suite for users to control the LAN and outgoing and incoming data. GIGABYTE has also customized the Realtek audio software suite to better suite their orange and black BIOS color scheme.

 

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With Z170, GIGABYTE has provided tons of software, and they have given the entire suite a makeover. I actually really like the look of white and blue color theme compared to the theme from last generation. In the image above, we have @BIOS, Ambient LED, AutoGreen, USB Blocker, EasyTune, HomeCloud, and App Center.

 

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GIGABYTE has provided in-Windows fan control through their System Information Viewer program which provides that GUI based variable fan control that is lacking from the UEFI. The software can even calibrate the fans. Other than SIV, there is SmartKeyboard, SmartTimelock, EasyRAID, Platform Power Management, and FastBoot. The image on the right shows GIGABYTE's custom Gaming G1 CPU-Z skin as well as GIGABYTE's GTL, which is for tweaking OC settings in Windows.

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