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Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard Review

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GA-Z87N-WIFI UEFI

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface has enabled a wide variety of high-resolution layouts. It’s always interesting to see the different manufacturer’s solutions, so let’s look at what Gigabyte has in store for the GA-Z87N-WIFI.

GA-Z87NWifi_UEFI1

First impressions are definitely pleasing. Most users with 1080p+ monitors will start with the default high-resolution layout shown above (the “Dashboard Mode”), and it does a good job of displaying a snapshot of relevant information. Those users that want the keyboard-focused feel of a BIOS back, just press F2 to switch to Gigabyte’s Classic mode (the same key will again switch back to Dashboard Mode). While there’s certainly something to be said for the efficiency of the keyboard-based BIOS of yesteryear, I think we’re finally at the point where manufacturers have brought a lot to the UEFI interface; Gigabyte’s new UEFI is very pleasing and easy to use.

GA-Z87NWifi_UEFI2

The default screen is the “Home” tab, which consists of a few performance settings and a list of configurable tabs on which one could add their own options/shortcuts. This is really useful for placing those often-used functions right at your fingertips.

GA-Z87NWifi_UEFISetupOpt

Simply click the “Select Your Options” button, and a menu of various options appears. It’s a pretty simple system to set up and use, so you should be able to find a configuration that works well for you.

GA-Z87NWifi_UEFIPerfFreq

The Performance tab is where most enthusiasts will probably spend their time. The Frequency sub-tab is where the Clock Ratio sliders, X.M.P. profiles and base clock settings are; memory timings, voltage settings, and temperatures are located on their own respective tabs under the Performance heading.

GA-Z87NWifi_UEFIPerfMem

While it would be nice to adjust the four main memory clocks directly on the Memory tab, you’ll have to drill into one more menu to adjust those manually. At least you can select X.M.P. profiles and change the memory frequency multiplier without leaving this menu.

GA-Z87NWifi_UEFIPerfVoltThe “Z” series boards usually have better voltage controls for overclocking, and the GA-Z87N-WIFI is no different. CPU Vcore, Graphics Voltage, RING voltage, System Agent and the I/O voltages are all configurable here, along with a LoadLine Calibration setting. The PC Health tab shows system temperatures and fan speeds; fan profiles can be configured here too (along with the PWM value for custom slopes). The Misc tab only contains two settings – the PCI-Express Gen3 Slot configuration (set to Auto by default) and the Legacy BenchMark Enhancement (left off/disabled).
GA-Z87NWifi_UEFISystemTab

The System tab contains most of the initial UEFI settings; the resolution, passwords, display policy (high res, classic, etc.) and even background wallpaper can be adjusted here. I’ll skip the BIOS Features (contains settings for NumLock state, USB support, Intel Virtualization, VT-d, Dynamic Storage Accelerator, OS Type, etc.) and move on to the Peripherals tab, where the SATA and USB settings are located.

GA-Z87NWifi_UEFIPeriph

Devices and drives are found in this menu. Most users won’t need to tweak much here other than switching off devices they don’t want to use. SATA drives are configured in the appropriate tab along with hot swap/plug options and IDE/AHCI(default)/RAID modes.

GA-Z87NWifi_UEFIPowerOpt

The Power Management tab contains the Wake-On-LAN settings and power-back options. The Power Loading option was interesting, and could be useful for some mini-ITX builds. Leaving this set to Auto or Enabled will add a “dummy load” which prevents certain power supplies from powering off if they detect low loads.

GA-Z87NWifi_UEFIExitQFlash

Finally, the Save & Exit tab allows you to configure, load, and save profiles. The Q-Flash BIOS update tool is located here as well, and will use a BIOS file on a USB drive to save or update to a new version.


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