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Review: Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 motherboard

by Tarinder Sandhu on 28 February 2012, 14:25 4.0

Tags: Gigabyte (TPE:2376)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabdaz

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Ye olde BIOS

Here's a blast from the past. Gigabyte continues to use an old-style Award BIOS for this Z68 board. We updated the board to the FC BIOS released last week, which brings with it support for Intel's unreleased 22nm Ivy Bridge chips. Really, with the competition now using easy-on-the-eye UEFI BIOSes across a complete range of boards Gigabyte is behind the times, notwithstanding the Touch BIOS - a Windows-based GUI for touchscreen monitors/PCs.

Still, it's pretty easy to see what's going on, and Gigabyte provides a means by which to save the BIOS' settings to one of eight profile slots.

Want to know more? Head on over to the 'Current Status' screen.

The temperatures do seem to read a little low compared to other boards we've tested. Fan control is minimal, based on a temperature value, and even though this is a budget offering we reckon explicit fan control, akin to how ASUS implements it, is a good idea.

For the enthusiasts out there, CPU voltage ranges from 0.75V-1.70V, memory 1.10V-2.08V, and the integrated graphics core from 0.85V-1.62V. The incremental increases are nice and small, though one has to cycle through the entire range if requiring a high-end figure; it would be so much easier to key it in. Onboard graphics voltage plays well with the improbable settings allowed by Gigabyte, which, on a Core i5 2500K, top out at a lofty 3,000MHz (1,100MHz default). Perhaps Gigabyte has Ivy Bridge in mind.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the 'D3's BIOS, but it does feel ancient when juxtaposed against the spiffy UEFI versions we've recently seen on ASRock and ASUS boards. That said, practically all the features in the BIOS, especially those particular to frequencies and voltages, are replicated within Windows through the firm's EasyTune 6 tweaking utility.