ASUS designed the Maximus VI Formula's BIOS using the latest revision of their UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) implementation, a customized version of the AMI baseline UEFI style BIOS. The UEFI BIOS offers full keyboard and mouse support while using the BIOS pages. ASUS changed the way mouse right-click functions in the BIOS with right-click triggering the Add to Shortcut or Add to Favorites pop-up window. With this new implementation, you can add menus to a shortcut page, accessed by clicking the F3 function key. You can also add individual settings to the Favorites tab through the same right click menu. By default, the user sees the EZ mode screen when entering the BIOS with the Advanced mode screens accessible via the Exit/Advanced Mode button at the upper right corner of the screen. Advanced mode screens can be set for the default user interface via the BIOS Boot menu as well.
There’s really nothing at all not to like about ASUS’ UEFI BIOS implementation. They have one of the best implementations of UEFI on the market currently. The BIOS is very responsive to both keyboard and mouse input with almost no lag or questionable click-space evident anywhere. The only exception to this rule was clicking on the pagination section just below the Save button in the upper right corner of the screen. I found it difficult to switch to the Tools menu on the second BIOS page using this interface. Whit that said, the UEFI BIOS designed in an intuitive manner so that both novice and advance BIOS users can quickly find what they are looking for. The EZ Mode screen lays out everything in a highly readable format, while the Advanced Mode tabbed layout displays as you would expect from a traditional BIOS. ASUS also gives you the ability to taken screen captures from within the BIOS by pressing the F12 key with those screen-caps saved in a 1024×768 bitmap format to an attached USB device. From the Tools menu, ASUS houses their collection of of BIOS-related tools and applets, ranging from an in-BIOS updater (EZ Flash2) to their full BIOS profile load and save utility.
BIOS Notable Features
ASUS decided to up the ante with their Z87 line, exposing several new Haswell-specific features in their new revision UEFI BIOS. They integrated a customizable shortcut menu into both screen modes, a customizable My Favorites tab into the Advance mode menu, a CPU strap setting supporting enhanced ring bus speeds, the Tweaker's Paradise menu devoted to the most dedicated overclockers, and the ability to configure profile settings tied to the optional OC Panel device's H button.
Advanced Mode My Favorites screen, Shortcut popup
The Shortcut pop-up menu shown is available from both the Easy Mode and Advanced Mode interfaces. To access, click the Shortcuts button in the EZ Mode interface or hit the F3 function key from within the Advanced Mode interface. The Shortcut pop-up displays shortcuts to menus and sub-menus added via the Advanced Mode interface. If you right click a menu or sub-menu or hit the F4 function key with the same highlighted, the Add to pop-up displays with the option for Adding to Shortcut menu. Note that you cannot add individual settings to this pop-up window, only menus and sub-menus. This functionality allows you to put commonly accessed menus and sub-menus at you fingertips with a single button or mouse click.
My Favorites tab
My Favorites tab, populated
The My Favorites tab houses user selected settings for access to these from a centralized location. To access, select the My Favorites tab from within the Advanced Mode interface. If you right click any selectable setting from within any Advanced Mode page and right click or hit the F4 function key with the it highlighted, the Add to pop-up displays with the option for adding to My Favorites menu. Note that you cannot add menus or sub-menus to this tab, only individual settings. The real strength in this My Favorites tab implementation comes with the ability to mix and match commonly used options in a central location, rather than having to hunt them down through multiple sub-levels of menus. Combined with the utility of the Shortcut pop-up window, ASUS presents a very user friendly interface for this buried functionality.
Extreme Tweaker tab with Manual mode enabled
The 4th generation Intel Core series of CPUs, also known as Haswell, support the ability to use preset bus speed levels for the ring bus, which Intel refers to as CPU Strap. ASUS decided to take the CPU Strap setting to the next level and includes the following preset levels by default: 100MHz, 125MHz, 166Mhz, and 250MHz. This setting affects the CPU base clock, PCI-Express bus, and memory bus speeds. The PCI-Express bus speed is auto-adjusted to remain as close to 100MHz as possible, while the CPU and memory bus speeds adjusts at a 1:1 or 1:1.33 ratio with the setting. ASUS has made tweaks to the board to allow access and stability at these higher CPU Strap settings, but inside sources say that you need a really good (read that as "cherry picked") CPU to use a strap setting above 166MHz.
Extreme Tweaker tab, Tweaker's Paradise page
Extreme Tweaker tab, Tweaker's Paradise page, PCIe Tuning settings
To cater to the extreme overclockers, ASUS exposed many esoteric board settings not normally exposed to the end user and housed them in the Tweaker's Paradise menu. This menu contains voltage, timing, and bus settings for those of you trying to squeeze every last ounce of speed and stability out of you overclocked board. It contains settings for tweaking everything from CPU internal settings to PCI-Express bus related settings. Enjoy your time in the Tweaker's Paradise.
Tools tab, ROG OC Panel H-Key Configure page
ASUS's UEFI BIOS would not be complete without the ability to create a custom profile controllable using their optional OC Panel device. Via the ROG OC Panel H-Key Configure sub-menu, you can configure a custom profile for your CPU voltage, base clock speed, and CPU ratio that is enacted upon pressing the H-key on your OC Panel device (as long as it is connected to the board).
EZ Mode main screen
EZ Mode screen, SATA Information popup
Advanced Mode screen, Extreme Tweaker tab with XMP mode enabled
Extreme Tweaker tab with Manual mode enabled, CPU ratio settings
Extreme Tweaker tab with Manual mode enabled, voltage settings
Extreme Tweaker tab with Manual mode enabled, voltage settings continued
Extreme Tweaker tab, Overclocking Presets page
Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page
Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Secondary and Tertiary timing settings
Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Miscellaneous settings
Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Miscellaneous settings continued
Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Memory Presets page
Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, RTL IOL control page
Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, RTL IOL control page continued
Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Skew Control page
Extreme Tweaker tab, GPU.DIMM Post page
Extreme Tweaker tab, DIGI+ Power Control page
Extreme Tweaker tab, DIGI+ Power Control page continued
Extreme Tweaker tab, CPU Power Management page
Extreme Tweaker tab, CPU Power Management page continued