In this section, I will go over each of the five menus and tell you what each setting does and how to use the software.
The software mimics the UEFI, and the skin changes depending on the motherboard you use. Since the C7Z270-PG has a black and gray theme, you get a black and gray background, while on the C7Z270-CG you get a green and black background. I have gone ahead and sectioned out all the settings you might interact with. There are quick keys, such as F12 for a quick screenshot (saved as PNG) and function keys for swapping quickly between the menus. The CPU menu is the first menu you encounter, but the first four all have the same "Load," "Save," "Default," and "Apply" buttons boxed in orange. You can also save configuration files and load them later, and I will explain why this is useful in the overclocking section.
Fan speed monitoring at the bottom (boxed in purple) never changes, even when you switch between menus. There is also a quick explanation box to the right, and when you highlight a setting, you get a quick explanation of what each setting does. The CPU menu offers per-core frequency and BCLK selection. There are also EIST, Turbo, CPU VCore, and Warning temperature settings boxed in yellow. Boxed in green along with a graph and a time interval setting, you get real-time CPU frequency and temperature monitoring. You can control the refresh interval in seconds right above the graph.
The memory menu offers the basic memory timings available on the platform. You can select between the Default profile and three others. Two of those are XMP if your module supports XMP, and one is a custom memory setting option. Having the custom option right near the XMP option will allow you to experiment with tightening (lowering) the timings to try and improve performance. XMP is what most people tend to use unless they are extreme overclockers, as it is the most stable form of memory overclocking. Memory settings can be applied, but they require a reboot to take effect.
The Thermal menu is basically just a fan control menu. You can customize the fan curve of each Smart Fan Header, or select one of a few presets. The two CPU fan headers will use the CPU temperature as a reference while the system fan headers will use the system temperature by default. Changing the mode to "Customize" will allow you to pick between the CPU, PCH, System, or Peripheral temperatures as the reference temperature for each header. To change the curve in Customize mode, you just drag any of the four control points. There are keyboard shortcuts to do this as well, and you can find those in the Quick Look Up menu on the far right.
The Voltage menu allows you to change the Load Line Calibration and many of the voltages required for overclocking. The VCPU voltage is also available on the CPU menu page, and it's one of the only settings you will need to alter to overclock your CPU. The motherboard does offer real-time voltage monitoring, but it does not monitor all the voltages that can be altered.
When you first click on the "BIOS UPDATE" menu, you will be prompted to download the BIOS from the SUPERMICRO website. I had initially hit "Yes," but my connection failed to establish a link with Supermicro's servers. However, that is probably good news, since it's better to download the BIOS locally and extract it and all of its contents into another folder to update the BIOS. So, instead of hitting "Yes" when prompted to download the BIOS from the website, you can hit "No."
When I hit "No" to downloading the BIOS, a pop-up screen asked me to locate the BIOS file. You should have already extracted the contents of the BIOS update package, and you will select the file that starts with your motherboard's name. In this case, I selected the file named C7Z270P7.601. The BIOS file will typically be 8MB in size when compressed and 16MB when extracted. So, if you are unsure of which file is your BIOS, just view the extracted folder contents in detailed view mode, as the BIOS ROM is 16MB (128Mbit) in size and needs a 16MB ROM.
Once you double click on the BIOS file, the program will ask you if you are sure you want to update. It asks because updating the BIOS is a risky business no matter what hardware you are working with. Rest assured you will be okay because Supermicro does offer BIOS rescue through a built-in system that allows for rescuing the system after a corrupt BIOS flash. Once you click "Yes" to the prompt, it will let you know the system needs to reboot to unlock the ME region for flashing.
The process is automated, and it will reboot once to unlock ME region flashing, boot into Windows and flash the BIOS (a prompt will pop up with the status of the flash), then it will reboot, and hopefully, you will be back at your desktop. Don't ever interrupt flashing; this flash took me about 10 minutes to complete.
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