GIGABYTE Z97X-Gaming G1 WiFi-BK LGA 1150 Review

GIGABYTE has come to market with a great execution of concept that is shrouded by me-too branding. The Ultra Durable BLACK EDITION motherboards are tested to work before you purchase, and not only that, these motherboards are load tested to work for a full week before you ever open the box.

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Motherboard Overclocking Software

GIGABYTE has been including its revamped EasyTune software with its motherboards for some time now. This marks the first major update I’ve seen to it. Unfortunately, I don’t particularly care for some of the changes. While the core of it remains largely unchanged GIGABYTE’s separated out certain things and this thinking even extends to the UEFI which I’ll talk about later.

More specifically GIGABYTE launches the hardware monitor with the EasyTune application and it appears in a separate window. Everything is easy to read and all of that but the fan controls and monitor alerts are separated out and don’t even appear until you click this tiny arrow in the top right hand corner of the hardware monitor window. This is not a step in the right direction. It looks to me as though GIGABYTE tried to break things up so it could shrink the overall application window size as it was pretty large before. The thing is that the icons for navigating to different categories was and still is ridiculously huge and instead of shrinking these down to make navigation easier it created a convoluted and non-intuitive way around doing so just to shrink the application window. Make no mistake, the hardware monitor is much better than it was but GIGABYTE took a step backward in order to pull it off.

Also changed for this version of the software is the "all black color scheme." This is gone and is now blue/gray and black. The gray provides no useful contrast and doesn’t improve navigation. If anything it just makes the application window less attractive.

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As you can see the first thing you’ll get is the hardware monitor. This loads before the regular application window shows up. The hardware monitor appears almost instantaneously while the app itself takes a few seconds to load. If you click on the arrow at the top of the hardware monitor the system information viewer shows up. This gives you the listing of clocks, processor information, memory information and the motherboard model and UEFI BIOS version. Again I don’t know why this information is semi-hidden or why it had to be broken out of the main application window.

Fan controls are also part of this and again end up being semi-hidden as a result of this. You get the same profile selections as before. These are full speed, performance, silent, and standard. Smart Fan Advance allows for an auto calibration routine and allows for smart fan and RPM fixed modes. The hardware monitor as I said before is much improved despite being hidden, but it shows all relevant information in a very concise and logical way.

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Smart Quick Boost gives you the option to use a power savings profile, set an overclocking preset or auto-tune for performance. Instead of having the advanced button here, advanced has moved to its own category which makes no sense. But the manual control offered in previous iterations of this software is still offered. Frequency, voltages and graphics clock are all part of the Advanced CPU OC menu. Advanced DDR OC gives you access to all the memory controls which were formerly part of the advanced menu. From here you can adjust the frequency and latency values.

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Lastly we have the 3D Power Menu which prior to Z87 based boards launched was an entirely separate utility. I fear GIGABYTE may trend back that way as it seems that the previous thought process for the Easy Tune revamp was integration while this edition’s thinking is separation. Hopefully they don’t do that. For now the 3D Power menu gives us phase, voltage and frequency response adjustments for the motherboard’s power phases.