UEFI and Software

When I found out that along with the Z87 launch Asus was going to introduce a new version of their software I was very excited, I have been a very big fan of AISuite II for a long time and I was excited to see what they would change. Typically when we cover new software like Asus’s new AISuite III we would include a full video walk through so you can get a feel for it. Due to issues with fraps I was unable to get the video that wanted so I have resorted to a few photos, hopefully you don’t mind.

When you boot up AISuite III you first land on the 4-Way Optimization pay, here they have a few of the settings from each page showing but the main focus here is tuning your PC for high performance or power savings. This is where Asus does their auto overclocking, something I will cover a little more in our overclocking section. Along the bottom of this screen and most of the others we have a few small sections that show clock speed, voltage, temperature, and fan speeds. These help you keep an eye on what your PC is doing, even as you make adjustments in the software. In case you didn’t catch it, the 4-way optimization stands for DIGI+ Power, TPU, EPU, and Fan Xpert 2, the tools that Asus uses in order to be able to get the best possible overclock.

software 3

Up top we can click on a few different “tabs”, the next one being TPU and along with that there are sometimes various tabs under the main tab. Here we have a page that allows up to adjust and change our BCLK and ratio’s on a individual core or group level. Along with that you have CPU Core and CPU Cache voltage adjustments available. Each has adaptive and manual options to help you depending on your level of knowledge. Interesting to note, you can now manually type in your voltages as well as using sliders. Along with that Asus now has a four color system that will better show safe and aggressive voltage levels to help keep you from burning something up. 

software 4

The next tab is the EPU, if you remember from in our board breakdown I spoke about how the EPU switch can adjust your power usage down. Asus had gone above and beyond the single switch here. You can adjust the voltage settings, fan profiles, and even when your monitor turns off as well as your pc’s sleep mode all on this tab. There are a few sub tabs that let you adjust the settings depended on the setting that you can adjust on the “home” page of the software for high performance, max power, and away. I really like that they included the fan profiles on this, I know for me I might be interested in having a more aggressive fan profile on the max performance tab when I might be overclocking and or gaming but when I am away from the computer it would be nice if the fans quieted down.

software 5

The next tab is the DIGI+ Power Control tab, where we have complete control over how all of the boards CPU and DRAM power. Asus has been improving their power control for a long time and even now with some of the power control moving on to the CPU they let us adjust that as needed. To help Asus has also included easy to read explanations with graphs that adjust to show you what is happening as you change your settings over on the right side. Along with that, even just on the CPU tab there are two pages of settings available meaning if you want you can fine tune your power settings to perfectly fit what you plan on using your pc for.

software 6

The last tab is the Fan Expert 2 tab where we can adjust how our PC’s control all of the fans that you have hooked up to any of the PWM fan headers (both boards have every single fan connection as a four pin PWM fan header btw). The top section of this page lets us flip through all of the motherboard fan headers; you will notice that there is case with a question mark on most of mine. Once you select a fan you can actually tell it where the fan is in your case and rename it to make flipping through these easier. Below the fan selection we have silent, standard, turbo, and full speed options. These will automatically adjust your fans to keep them quiet, or to keep your temperatures down depending on the setting you select. (Asus also pointed out to us that you can actually control the fan speed on both PWM fans and 3 pin fans just the same using Fan Expert 2)

Back on the individual fan pages we can also go through and adjust the fan profile. This means you can tell it how fast the fan should be depending on the temperature on a sensor of your choice. You can design your fan profile to be quiet and slowly ramp up as temperatures warm up or to be more aggressive.

software 1

Up in the top right corner is a menu of sorts, here you can get to a few of the other features that have always made Asus’s software great. For example here we can change our USB Charger settings for boosting USB charging of your mobile devices (iOS, Windows, Android, and eReaders). This is also where you will find USB 3.0 Boost, something I will talk a little about in the USB 3.0/SATA section of this review.

software 2

Unlike the software I was able to get footage of the UEFI on both the Z87-Pro and the Z87-Plus so I will let the video do a little more of the talking. Both UEFI’s are basically the same give or take. When you boot into the UEFI you are taken to the EZ Mode page where you can slide hard drives around to adjust your boot order and you can adjust system performance via a three option menu. Here, unlike on past models, you can also set your DRAM to an XMP profile and also adjust fan profiles as well. I should point out that on both boards we did experience low CPU fan warnings with our Noctua cooler, we saw this back on the X79 platform as well and to fix this you can just turn off Qfan or adjust the warning down below the Noctua’s lowest speed.

When you go to the advanced settings menu you get a UEFI that is more like a traditional BIOS but Asus has tuned this a little from previous models to be more mouse friendly. I will let the videos speak for the options available but I do want to point out that on the right side of the page when you mouse over options Asus has tried to explain most of them to help people learn more about what they are changing. I found the whole experience overall to be very smooth when using the mouse, sometimes mouse use in a UEFI can feel weird  but both boards had a very fluid mouse motion and no issues at all.

 

Z87-Pro

 

Z87-Plus

 

Beyond the videos there were two things I wanted to point out about the UEFI on both boards though. First the EZ Flash 2 Utility was great to work with. All I had to do was put my bios file on a flash drive or on any hard drive on your pc and jump into this option in the UEFI. Downloading and updating your UEFI can’t get much easier really.

uefiimage 1

Asus also implemented a change log for when you go to save and exit the UEFI. This is one of those options that once you see it you wonder why we haven’t seen this earlier. This is great to be able to look and double check to make sure you didn’t mistakenly adjust something you didn’t want to.

z87pro 7

 

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31257 02 Jun 2013 23:15
A look at two of Asus's mainstream Z87 motherboards
Deb0's Avatar
Deb0 replied the topic: #31258 02 Jun 2013 23:23
The color scheme hurts my eyes. Would never want to put a window on that board. =/
Leonresevil2's Avatar
Leonresevil2 replied the topic: #31269 04 Jun 2013 00:44
I actually like how it looks.
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31270 04 Jun 2013 01:05
I would be really interested in hearing from more people on what they think of the new color. Post up people!!
Satansoul's Avatar
Satansoul replied the topic: #31271 04 Jun 2013 01:46
I seen another set of motherboards with the gold color just can't remember the name. Though I do love red and black more.
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31272 04 Jun 2013 02:02
ECS also does gold

Asus will still be doing Red and Black as well as their TUF series also. This replaces the blue mainstream motherboards.

lanoc.org/review/motherboards/5807-asus-z77-roundup?start=2
Lersar's Avatar
Lersar replied the topic: #31273 04 Jun 2013 02:15
I like it, definitely more than the blue theme.
Satansoul's Avatar
Satansoul replied the topic: #31275 04 Jun 2013 02:21
Thanks! I knew there was one. The one color I have yet to see is a white pcb with black accents.
kzinti1's Avatar
kzinti1 replied the topic: #31348 07 Jun 2013 01:57
You people do realize that you're supposed to be looking at your monitor, to see what this motherboard actually does, don't you?
If all you want is a play pretty then go and buy yourselves some cat toys at your local PetsMart.
Did the reviewer actually try and overclock these motherboards or just leave them at a very common, and slow, 4.5GHz.?
Did the heatsinks actually work or were the chips running too hot and needed some liquid cooling?
Same with the cpu's. Is liquid cooling demanded or can the users just stick with cooling on air or some everyday closed liquid cooler instead of a complete custom loop?
Did you actually push these motherboards to their limits or stick with stock settings?
Will you ever do a proper review or just leave it as almost a word for word description by ASUS?
Finally, ASUS, since people here seem to only judge a computer motherboard by color (of all things!), then why not make them all a basic and totally black color scheme?
Since most people are too stupid to understand a common "beep code", then why not make a breakout LED panel that can be mounted in an external 5.25" bay and then these users can start using a solid door, instead of one that has a window, and then they can just ignore your color schema and get back to operating a computer. Instead of just sitting there and staring at their motherboards like a bunch of slack-jawed idiots?
garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #31349 07 Jun 2013 02:54
I'm happy to answer any questions you have, and you are welcome to hate on my review all you would like. But we do ask that in the future you treat both our contributors and community members with the same respect that we will give you.

kzinti1 wrote: Did the reviewer actually try and overclock these motherboards or just leave them at a very common, and slow, 4.5GHz.?


As the review pointed out, being a motherboard review not a CPU review we wanted to focus on things that are motherboard dependent, not CPU dependent. Haswell has its CPU voltage regulation on the CPU itself. This means that you are going to see similar overclock results from board to board. Not only that but the results from our engineering sample most likely won't be the same as what you see with a retail CPU. So we focused on overclocking results that would vary from board to board, the auto overclocking results.

kzinti1 wrote: Did the heatsinks actually work or were the chips running too hot and needed some liquid cooling?

Liquid cooling is never really needed on a motherboard but with Haswell voltage regulation being on the CPU the cooling on the Pro board is a lot more than is actually needed. I pointed this out IN the review.

kzinti1 wrote: Did you actually push these motherboards to their limits or stick with stock settings?

This goes back to what was mentioned before

kzinti1 wrote: Same with the cpu's. Is liquid cooling demanded or can the users just stick with cooling on air or some everyday closed liquid cooler instead of a complete custom loop?

This is a motherboard review, not a CPU review. But to answer your question, all of our testing was done with air cooling (as you would see if you read the review). Water cooling isn't needed and the difference in performance between air cooling and closed loop water cooling is minimal in most cases.

kzinti1 wrote: Finally, ASUS, since people here seem to only judge a computer motherboard by color (of all things!), then why not make them all a basic and totally black color scheme?
Since most people are too stupid to understand a common "beep code", then why not make a breakout LED panel that can be mounted in an external 5.25" bay and then these users can start using a solid door, instead of one that has a window, and then they can just ignore your color schema and get back to operating a computer. Instead of just sitting there and staring at their motherboards like a bunch of slack-jawed idiots?

Some people want a window in their case. If you think the only reason they put windows in cases is to see the diagnostic LED you are sorely mistaken. The same goes for the color scheme, some people pick their motherboards to match a look that they are going for in their case along with its features.
Arxon's Avatar
Arxon replied the topic: #31351 07 Jun 2013 06:31

kzinti1 wrote: You people do realize that you're supposed to be looking at your monitor, to see what this motherboard actually does, don't you?
If all you want is a play pretty then go and buy yourselves some cat toys at your local PetsMart.


I guess you don't know what case mods are. Let me inform you.

Case modification (commonly referred to as case modding where an individual project is referred to as a case mod) is the modification of a computer chassis (often just referred to as the case), or a video game console chassis. Modifying a computer case in any non-standard way is considered a case mod. Modding is done, particularly by hardware enthusiasts, to show off a computer's apparent power by showing off the internal hardware, and also to make it look aesthetically pleasing to the owner.
Dreyvas's Avatar
Dreyvas replied the topic: #31352 07 Jun 2013 08:25

kzinti1 wrote: You people do realize that you're supposed to be looking at your monitor, to see what this motherboard actually does, don't you?
If all you want is a play pretty then go and buy yourselves some cat toys at your local PetsMart.
Did the reviewer actually try and overclock these motherboards or just leave them at a very common, and slow, 4.5GHz.?
Did the heatsinks actually work or were the chips running too hot and needed some liquid cooling?
Same with the cpu's. Is liquid cooling demanded or can the users just stick with cooling on air or some everyday closed liquid cooler instead of a complete custom loop?
Did you actually push these motherboards to their limits or stick with stock settings?
Will you ever do a proper review or just leave it as almost a word for word description by ASUS?
Finally, ASUS, since people here seem to only judge a computer motherboard by color (of all things!), then why not make them all a basic and totally black color scheme?
Since most people are too stupid to understand a common "beep code", then why not make a breakout LED panel that can be mounted in an external 5.25" bay and then these users can start using a solid door, instead of one that has a window, and then they can just ignore your color schema and get back to operating a computer. Instead of just sitting there and staring at their motherboards like a bunch of slack-jawed idiots?



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