Gigabyte has implemented UEFI, but not graphically.
The menus are simply the same as those for the traditional Gigabyte BIOS’, no more no less. For its forthcoming X79 motherboards, Gigabyte is working on a graphical menu, the one glimpsed at IDF.
In terms of overclocking, the setup is in the M.I.T submenu, with clocks, voltages and memory settings separated in submenus.
The rest of the setup is more standard and only one fan can be regulated on the monitoring page, the 4-pin processor connector. This connector is regulated according to the processor temperature and can regulate 3 or 4-pin fans as long as you choose the correct control type in the BIOS. Instead of overclocking profiles, Gigabyte provides full BIOS setup profiles that can be saved.
Gigabyte has gone for as basic an implementation of UEFI as possible, something that isn’t a problem in itself but it is regrettable that they have tried to mask this fact, both on motherboard boxes and boot screens where you find mention of the ‘Touch BIOS’ in large letters. Touch BIOS is in reality a piece of software that runs in Windows and allows you to change certain BIOS settings. The tool has an interface that has been optimised for touchscreens. In practice, it doesn’t suit mouse control and, while a good idea, it's presented as a marketing ploy to attempt to mask the lack of graphical interface for UEFI!
MSI provides a graphical interface for UEFI.
It’s based on a series of menus with animated icons and is by far the most graphic of the four interfaces. The set-up pages are rather disappointingly designed. It's not comfortable to use either the mouse or the keyboard on the text interface. You have to double click to access a submenu and clicking once on an option to change it isn’t always enough. What’s more the interface flashes on and off rather disturbingly. You don’t get an impression of robustness at all and this really is a shame.
The organisation of the menus is rather peculiar. Green Power, for example, doesn't seem to bring much in the way of worthwhile options. The utilities section is better - there’s a practical memory bar test here. The Live Updates option is intriguing. Does this mean an automatic BIOS update via the network is in store? In theory, yes, but first you have to load (using a DVD!) a mini interface in Linux and then launch an update. We couldn’t get it to work in our tests however. The interface started to load but then the window disappeared immediately. You then find yourself on a desktop from which you can do nothing at all.
The overclocking section is pretty standard, though the keyboard/mouse design makes it complicated to use. A standard, Gigabyte style BIOS is much more efficient. Moving onto fan speed, there’s thermostatic control for the 4-pin CPU connector but this only works with a 4-pin fan (PWM). Like Asus, you can define a minimum threshold for fan speed and thus prevent it from stalling. There are also two settings for chassis connector voltages, of which the 3-pin connectors are not regulated according to temperature.
As with Live Update, you can load games straight from the BIOS. Here again, we do wonder how useful having this menu here is, in view of the fact that the real BIOS settings are hidden behind the settings menu on the right.
There are numerous standard setup pages. The M-Flash menu allows you to flash using a USB key, a useful alternative given that the automatic BIOS update utility in Windows didn’t work during our tests either, showing that the BIOS had been updated when the two most recent versions were available and not installed.
In the end, MSI's UEFI implementation is rather disappointing. Sure, you get animated menus and new Live Update and games features, but, like the design, it's all rather hit and miss. The randomness of the mouse doesn’t improve things and the organisation of the menus leaves lots to be desired. It's also hard to forgive the fact that the interface flashes on and off. MSI has come up with some good ideas but a serious update is required to knock this BIOS into shape.