UEFI BIOS

While other competitors are still finding their feet in this department, ASUS has ported over their excellent UEFI BIOS design used since their P67 boards, which has a functional layout with well-labelled options. POST time is smoking fast and recovery from unstable overclocks remains unparalleled. Most importantly, the Logitech/Razer keyboards and mice we used did not face any compatibility issues that is rampant on many other brands, even Intel's. We would like to see the industry come up with a higher or widescreen resolution UEFI interface on future boards (currently 1024×768).

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Ivy Bridge includes XMP 1.3 support, which we had no problem activating the profile. There is an controversial option labelled "ASUS MultiCore Enhancement" that tweaks the CPU turbo settings to run at single-core Ratios (aka highest) without most users noticing, which we honestly don't see what the big fuss is about.

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Voltage options for all the necessary rails. Generally only the CPU voltage needs to be changed for most overclocking, with the other options left at AUTO. If you want to save some chip power, you can reduce the CPU PLL Voltage to as low as 1.65v without affecting stability (Internal PLL overvoltage option should be switched on though).

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A full range of memory multipliers can be set, although from reports around the web the 2933MHz strap is highest that is usable.

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The benefits of a properly implemented digital VRM design is the ability to tweak switching frequency and throttling characteristics, hence there are a myraid of user-adjustable options for either energy efficiency or overclocking dexterity.

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Software

ASUS has also bundled the ubiquitous AI Suite software with their board, one criticism being the size of the installation package (168MB) which can be a chore when downloading over the Internet. Nontheless the user interface has remained clean and unobtuse, with most tunables applied without any noticable delay or the need for operating system reboot.

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One new feature is their Network iControl, which provide software QOS functionality to optimize online gaming over congested network connections.

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Wi-Fi GO! allows interaction with Android and Apple iOS devices for a variety of system tasks.

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Like most other Z77 boards, a Lucid Virtu MVP license is included in the package, allowing for the IGP to work in tandem with discreet GPU for Quick Sync and energy saving. Quite honestly we're not too sold on the benefits of the much hyped "HyperFormance", as it currently only works on popular benchmarks reviewers run. Virtual-Vsync (screen tearing elimination without FPS hit) is an interesting concept though.

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