UEFI Features

ASUS bundled the Z97-Pro Gamer motherboard with the latest version of the ASUS UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) implementation, a customized version of the AMI baseline UEFI BIOS replacement. The UEFI offers full keyboard and mouse support while using the BIOS pages. ASUS changed the way mouse right-click functions in the new BIOS implementation with right-click having no impact on the screen. By default, the user sees the EZ mode screen when entering the UEFI 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.

As we've stated in previous reviews, the ASUS UEFI implementation remains among the best out there. The BIOS is very responsive to both keyboard and mouse input with almost no lag or questionable click-space evident anywhere. However, at times the interface seemed too responsive and sensitive to the merest mouse click and movement. The UEFI is 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 UEFI-based updater (EZ Flash2) to their full UEFI profile load and save utility.

UEFI Notable Features

ASUS further revised their UEFI interface with the Z97 boards, optimizing several features as well as exposing several Haswell-specific features. They revised their EZ Mode page with added utility, integrating a customizable My Favorites tab into the Advance mode menu, Shortcut screen, a graphical fan tuning interface, a graphical EZ Tuning Wizard interface, integrated support for NVMe device configuration, support for display in nine different languages, and a Quick Note interface for adding persistent notes for later use. Note that the UEFI screen aesthetics have been customized for the board with it appearance customizable with several user-selectable themes available.

Advanced Mode My Favorites screen, Shortcut popup

The Shortcut menu shown is available from the Advanced Mode interface only. To access, hit the F3 function key from within the Advanced Mode interface. The Shortcut page displays shortcuts to menus and sub-menus added via the Advanced Mode interface. If you hit the F4 function key with an item selected, you are taken directly to the menu or sub-menu. 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, 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. Note that if a menu or sub-menu is added to this page, all fields on that page will be added. 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.

EZ Mode page

EZ Mode breakdown
Courtesy of ASUS

The EZ Mode page was dramatically re-factored with the Z97 board line with information organized into sections in an easy-to-read manner.

Q-Fan Tuning page

The Q-Fan Tuning page allows for graphical configuration of fan operation based on predefined threshold levels. The interface is similar in nature to the Windows-based Fan Xpert3 fan configuration interface and is a nice touch in-lui of the text-based configuration approach. The Q-Fan Tuning page is accessed by clicking on the Manual Fan Tuning button within the EZ Mode page.

Easy Tuning Wizard

The EZ Tuning Wizard can be accessed by hitting the F11 function key from within the EZ Mode page. This wizard triggers BIOS configured system performance optimization based on user selections made within the wizard interface.

EZ Mode, Main tab, Language selection

EZ Mode, Main tab with non-English language active

Advanced Mode, Main tab with non-English language active

The BIOS display language can be updated to one of 10 values through the language field in the top menu bar accessible in both the EZ Mode and Advance Mode interfaces. The screen values are updated immediately upon language selection.

Advanced Mode, Exit tab, Quick Note pop-up

The Quick Note window is accessed by clicking the Quick Note field in the top menu bar or hit the F9 function key. From this window, you can enter notes that remain persistent between BIOS sessions. This functionality is only available from the Advanced Mode interface.

Advanced Mode, Last modified pop-up

The Last Modified pop-up is accessed by clicking the Last Modified link in the lower right corner of the Advanced Mode page. The Last Modified pop-up contains a comprehensive list of fields changed since the last save. This list also displays when you click on the Save Changes & Reset link from the Exit tab.

Extreme Tweaker tab with XMP 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.

Advanced tab, NVMe Configuration page

For configuring your M.2 or PCIe-based NVMe SSD, ASUS provides a standalone configuration page accessible through the Advanced tab.

BIOS Walkthrough

Advanced Mode screen, Ai Tweaker tab with XMP mode enabled

Ai Tweaker tab with Manual mode enabled, CPU ratio settings

Ai Tweaker tab with Manual mode enabled, submenu list

Ai Tweaker tab with Manual mode enabled, voltage settings

Ai Tweaker tab with Manual mode enabled, voltage settings continued

Ai Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page

Ai Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Secondary and Tertiary timing settings

Ai Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Tertiary timing and Miscellaneous settings

Ai Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Miscellaneous settings continued

Ai Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, RTL IOL Control page

Ai Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, RTL IOL Control page continued

Ai Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Skew Control page

Ai Tweaker tab, DIGI+ Power Control page

Ai Tweaker tab, CPU Power Management page

Ai Tweaker tab, CPU Power Management page continued

Ai Tweaker tab, CPU Power Management page continued

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