GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Review: Overclocking Oriented Orange at $200by Ian Cutress on October 11, 2013 10:00 AM EST
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GIGABYTE Z87X-OC BIOS
We dissected the new GIGABYTE HD BIOS back with our review of the Z87X-UD3H, including their new HD mode designed to me more informative for enthusiasts and power users. The Z87X-OC differs initially in the color, moving to an orange hue indicative of the OC range of motherboards from GIGABYTE. Features worth reiterating include the customizable menus for enthusiasts to pool the important features of the BIOS, the ability to implement changes immediately or after boot, and that classic mode is retained for users that prefer it. The older classic mode also contains additional information about each setting and the pertinence to how the feature works.
Fan speeds are still presented in the older PWM/ºC format (which means more power to the fan per degree, which doesn’t always translate to a higher fan speed) which needs to change, and there is some text clipping in the new mode. One other update GIGABYTE should consider is (if possible) move to a 60Hz mode in the BIOS rather than 30Hz. It would improve the user experience such that the text at the bottom would move smoother and the mouse movements too. The BIOS has been configured for Deferred Procedure Call Latency, with our test showing under 100 most of the time (peaking to ~150 at times).
GIGABYTE Z87X-OC Software
Again, we covered GIGABYTE’s range of Z87 software back in our review of the Z87X-UD3H, including the new installation methods as well as the new version of EasyTune. The new version of EasyTune has been requested for a while (the old one was looking dated and needed new features), and this new model allows for all of GIGABYTE’s apps to be under one central ‘App Center’. Within this are options for automatic overclocking, fan controls (GB still need to produce graphs of RPM vs ºC from the data they collect), BIOS update tools, USB Blocker, EZ Setup (SRT, RST), ON/OFF Charge, TimeClock and 3D Power.
GIGABYTE’s app tool has options of three different color modes due to their three different lines of motherboards (channel = blue, overclocking = orange, gaming = green), although the software starts off in blue mode and has to be modified. There are a couple of minor points worth mentioning – while the installation CD runs through the driver installs silently, the system restarts and the CD has to be loaded again to install the GIGABYTE software. I would prefer if the CD automatically came up again after the driver install in order to do this. Also, the driver CD asks to install Norton Internet Security and the GIGABYTE update tool also suggests downloading and installing it every time. I would rather the package made this an optional installation, and gave the option to ‘never suggest this update’ in the update tool.
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coolhardware - Friday, October 11, 2013 - linkInteresting motherboard. The OC emphasis and the included brace look to make it a pretty cool board for those wanting to up their OC efforts. Glad to hear it was reliable too, that is my primary consideration when purchasing a motherboard. :-)
JonesGaron - Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - linkMotherboard seems to be very attractive and interesting looking forward to see the functions of it. http://www.koolchart.com
geniekid - Friday, October 11, 2013 - linkRegarding the audio codec, I feel that anyone who could tell the difference between ALC892 and ALC898 or higher wouldn't be using onboard sound anyway.
ShieTar - Monday, October 14, 2013 - linkYou obviously ignore the fact that there are college students with good hearing but restricted budgets. Of course those won't usually complain about the money save on the cheaper on-board sound either.
AlderaaN - Friday, October 11, 2013 - linkHello Ian and thank you for the review.
Could you please tell us which BIOS version were you using for this review?
I'm currently running under the official one (F6) that's posted on GIGABYTE's Website.
IanCutress - Friday, October 11, 2013 - linkBIOS F6, as per the images on the BIOS section of the review: http://www.anandtech.com/Gallery/Album/3144#19
I only ever use retail BIOSes downloadable from the website, and never 'BIOSes for review'. I want my results to be the ones you guys see.
The only way I ever take beta BIOSes is usually if there's something that is fundamentally broken, or it's prelaunch and the relevant download pages are not available. Then I always ask for something as near to the public launch BIOS as possible.
These reviews are always snapshots in time, as BIOSes in the future could have various performance tweaks or a shift in policy with regard idle states/MultiCore Turbo.
AlderaaN - Friday, October 11, 2013 - linkMany thanks for the prompt and informative reply!
Indeed I've seen the image but wasn't sure if that's what has been used for the actual review.
Alright, time for some more OC tweaks here :)
Jasker - Friday, October 11, 2013 - linkHeads up. The links for competing motherboards on the last page are mail links.
IanCutress - Friday, October 11, 2013 - linkThanks :) Fixed!
Flunk - Friday, October 11, 2013 - linkThis board is really compelling, I think the mix of OC features and mainstream price really speaks to enthusiasts (like us). It is a little sad that there is little reason to upgrade to an overclocked Haswell desktop from an overclocked Sandy or Ivy Bridge desktop because the Haswell chips just don't overclock as well so you end up with very similar performance after overclocking.
I'm personally not seeing any reason to upgrade from my current i5-2500 @ 4.7Ghz. Hopefully Intel will release something more exciting sometime soon. Maybe whatever is after Broadwell, which doesn't look very interesting either.