|ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles & David Ramsey|
|Monday, 14 November 2011|
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ASUS UEFI BIOS
Hardware enthusiasts have been asking for the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS replacement on their desktop motherboards for many years, and for many years their requests went ignored. Then, back in 2010, ASUS answered back with the first major innovation to replace an aging text-only layout with a new graphical user interface for pre-boot settings. UEFI is the replacement for Intel's original EFI 1.1 specification. Every ASUS X79 Express motherboard allows users to export UEFI screen captures onto an attached USB flash drive and then share with others to help illustrate settings.
A welcomed part of UEFI is that anyone can build their own custom environment based on the Unified EFI Specification, and while BIOS vendors will likely make up the majority of builds the enthusiast community can also join in. Another nice feature about the UEFI (BIOS) is that it's already compatible with storage devices larger than 2.2 TB capacity - a barrier that holds many older motherboards back and restricts some of the latest large-capacity storage products.
Floppy diskette drives now have no official purpose being used with modern computer hardware. Previous BIOS firmware could be compressed to fit on a 1.44 MB floppy, but because of the large UEFI (BIOS) interface a 32MB ROM is now required. This will accelerate the use of USB-based devices for flashing BIOS firmware updates. With the ASUS X79 Express series, users can use the USB BIOS Flashback function to upgrade/restore firmware without anything more than a power supply attached to the motherboard for standby/sleep current.
The ASUS UEFI (BIOS) can be used to configure hardware parameters and power settings, but users may prefer the robust AI Suite II software. The BIOS provides most of the same functionality, but AI Suite II allows for real-time changes by using integrated DIGI+ VRM, EPU, TurboV EVO, BT GO!, FAN Xpert, and Probe II software.
Unlike the USB BIOS Flashback feature, system memory is required to boot into the firmware menu, since none of the ASUS X79-based motherboards have onboard memory beyond a 64MB ROM firmware chip. While UEFI is a great step forward, having the ability to boot the motherboard without system memory installed would have solved countless troubleshooting situations for hardware enthusiasts. Until this is possible, ASUS BIOS Flashback appears to be a useful tool in this regard.
For users with a familiarity with text-only BIOS options, the new ASUS UEFI (BIOS) will come naturally as most options mirror those previously available. For novice hardware enthusiasts, the easy-to-navigate graphical user interface will allow them to make changes to the ASUS X79 Express motherboard series without fear.
Advanced overclockers will enjoy the UEFI EZ Mode utility, which allows them to make adjustments and test settings before entering the Operating System. Surprisingly, the ASUS auto-overclocking utilities (Easy OC Tool/TurboV EVO) do an impressive job at finding the maximum overclock possible.