|ASUS F1A75-M PRO FM1 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 11 July 2011|
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ASUS Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (uEFI)
As with most of their recent motherboards, ASUS has integrated their uEFI instead of a BIOS. I am a big fan of this and I hope most other manufacturers will make the move if they haven't already.
When you enter the ASUS uEFI (by pressing DEL at the boot screen), you are greeted with the EZ Mode screen. Here you get a snapshot of your system. The date and time are present up at the top along with some system information like the model of your motherboard, the uEFI version and build date, the CPU model and speed, and the amount and speed of your system memory. You also have the option to change the language, but I prefer English. Some core measurements are given a little lower on the screen. These include CPU and Motherboard temps, CPU and rail voltages, and fan speeds. Just below that you get the option of tweaking your system performance slightly by just choosing one of the three options. The first option is for better energy savings, the middle option is normal, and the last option is for better performance. The performance settings increase the base clock to 103 from 100, giving you a very slight overclock. The last thing you can do on the EZ Mode screen is change the boot order of your attached devices. To get more options, click on the Exit/Advanced Mode icon and enter advanced mode.
The Main screen in Advanced Mode basically just shows the same information that was located at the top of the screen in EZ Mode. The option to change the language is there, as is the option to add a system and administrative password to your computer.
The next screen is the AI Tweaker screen. Here you can manually adjust almost all of your system settings. You can also allow the uEFI to overclock automatically for you. The APU frequency is the base clock, and this is the setting you will use to do any overclocking of the system. While you can adjust the APU multiplier here too, this won't actually do anything to your system, because the multiplier is locked. One thing I found useful here is the memory frequency button. It allows you to choose between the different speeds that your RAM supports, and automatically overclocks the settings you chose based on the APU frequency. After choosing the RAM speed, you can go in and tweak the DRAM Timings to fit your needs. You can also adjust voltages on this screen, though I recommend letting the uEFI do that automatically, even when overclocking.
The Advanced screen gives you access to configure the settings of a lot of your peripherals. You can configure the CPU, including C6 states and PowerNow functionality, as well as your SATA ports, USB ports, and your integrated devices, like the GPU. The SATA ports can be set here to AHCI and you get set your primary video device to something other than the APU if you so desire. Within the onboard devices configuration, you can activate the Asmedia USB 3.0 Battery Charging Support, which gives the enhanced battery charging function ASUS touts.
The Monitor screen goes a little bit further than the EZ Mode screen when showing the system vitals. This screen gives a comprehensive look at the CPU and Motherboard temperatures, fan speeds, and voltages just like the EZ Mode screen, but it also allows you to enable the Q-Fan controls if your CPU or Chassis fan has that fourth pin. With that, you can use the uEFI or AI Suite to control the fan speed and, in so doing, control the noise level.
The next screen is the Boot screen. Here you have the age old option to turn on NumLock when your computer starts up and other options such as what you see when the system is booting up. You can also switch the uEFI here to start up in Advanced Mode automatically. You have three boot options to choose from, so pick your boot priorities wisely.
The final screen on the uEFI is the Tool screen. This screen allows you to flash the uEFI (this already came in handy, as we received a uEFI update halfway through testing) and set your personal O.C. profiles. You can use those profiles later to auto-load an overclock that you have previously tested and found worthy for your game or program. ASUS SPD information can also be found on this screen.
Overall, I have found the uEFI to be far superior the the BIOS. Just the mouse support and screen capture capability would have been enough, but ASUS goes further and integrates a lot of customizability here that is made easy by using the click of a mouse button rather than typing in all the amounts by hand. I think this is the definitely the way of the future for desktop PCs and I am sure any manufacturers that haven't will be jumping on board shortly.