As we've always stressed in our motherboard reviews – the primary factor that swings user opinion is the amount of polish given to the UEFI BIOS implemention.
- A good GUI should allow the user to make his desired setting in the shortest and most intuitive way possible, while providing helpful hints to the less obvious
- Behind the scenes, the firmware should also manage the boot-time initialization of CPU microcode, memory training, 3rd party option ROM loading, and do recovery from a failed overclock without throwing a fit.
Another thing we care about is the frequency of BIOS updates to fix niggling issues and the company's receptiveness to community feedback – some motherboard makers don't exactly have a good track record on these. Gigabyte is one of the better ones.
For beginner users, Gigabyte provides a "3D" menu for them to configure the various aspects of the board using a mouse.
A more traditional keyboard interface (accessible by pressing ESC) is available for old-time purists like yours truly. Navigation was snappy but we felt there were too many submenus for some of the common overclocking parameters, which can be a frustrating affair during the tuning process. An ideal menu structure would be like ASUS's UEFI where all the common voltage and frequency options are placed on a single page for quick access.
Board power control options are plentiful thanks to the use of a dexterous digital PWM controller, so overclockers can do their thing without being held back by the motherboard or nanny state limitations.
Gigabyte's primary software utility is their ubiquitous Easy Tune 6, which offers beginner and advanced level controls for common frequency and voltage parameters.
Overclockers will also appreciate the no-frills TweakLauncher utility that debuted with Gigabyte's Z77 boards. All motherboard manufacturers should include a barebones tool like this since most of them have bad GUI designers.
There is also the capability to control your PC from an iPad/iPhone with EasyTune Touch, which is a free download on the Apple App Store.
Again like most Z77 boards, a Lucid MVP license is included in the package. This feature helps to save some power by intelligently switching between the discrete GPU and iGPU and optimizes some draw calls to improve gaming framerates.