ASRock Z87E-ITX Motherboard Software
In this section of the review we will take a brief look at the main software for the ASRock Z87E-ITX Motherboard: A-Tuning.
My first impressions of the setup CD utility were not good. It felt very basic like it had took only two minutes to throw together. Once I got to the install all screen I noticed a feature that I had never seen before in a setup utility. Beside each item to install are two check boxes, select the left box and it will install the file from the setup CD, select the right check box and the setup utility will download the latest driver from the internet.
The ASRock A-Tuning utility looks and feels very well made. The UI is fresh and intuitive. The first screen you get to when you open A-Tuning lets you select operation modes between Normal, Performance and ECO. Next is the tools selection screen shown above.
The first tool we will look at is XFast RAM. Below is a description for the user manual that describes the functionality of this feature:
ASRock XFast RAM is included in A-Tuning. It fully utilizes the memory space that cannot be used under Windows 32-bit operating systems. ASRock XFast RAM shortens the loading time of previously visited websites, making web surfing faster than ever. And it also boosts the speed of Adobe Photoshop 5 times faster. Another advantage of ASRock XFast RAM is that it reduces the frequency of accessing your SSDs or HDDs in order to extend their lifespan.
As is the case with the UEFI setup utility; users can also set, amend and define different fan profiles from within the Windows environment.
The next tool worthy of mention is the Dehumidifier. The ASRock Z87E-ITX user manual describes the function as follows:
Users may prevent motherboard damages due to dampness by enabling “Dehumidifier Function”. When enabling Dehumidifier Function, the computer will power on automatically to dehumidify the system after entering S4/S5 state.
I find that overclocking from within Windows much more preferable than overclocking within the BIOS. For many years we have benefited from this when overclocking discreet video cards, and now we can do the same with our CPU’s. All of the required settings are amendable from within the Windows environment and stability can be tested instantly without requiring a boot/reboot.
Scroll down in the OC Tweaker tab and you will find voltages to adjust. If you are new to overclocking then you will want to leave these values as they are or on auto. The current generation Intel Haswell CPU’s feature on-die VRM which means playing with voltages just raises the risk level too high. If you really want to play with Haswell and take it to its full potential I recommend that you read the literature available from Intel and their motherboard partners. Also make sure that your CPU cooling is up to the task.
The A-Tuning utility also features a very handy hardware monitor. Values are updated in real time so you can monitor your systems vital statistics while you are running benchmarks or stress testing your system.
Finally we have the system browser section of the A-Tuning utility. This is like a visual map of devices that are attached to your motherboard. Hovering over certain areas of the system browser image will give information pertaining to modules or devices attached in that particular location.