ASUS bundled the TUF Z270 Mark 1 motherboard with the latest revision of their 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 their UEFI implementation with right-click having no impact on the screen. By default, the user sees the EZ mode screen when entering the UEFI. The Advanced mode screens accessible via the Exit/Advanced Mode button at the upper right corner of the screen or by hitting the F7 function key. Advanced mode screens can be set for the default user interface via the UEFI Boot menu as well.
As we've stated in previous reviews, the ASUS UEFI implementation remains among the best out there. The UEFI is very responsive to both keyboard and mouse input with almost no lag or questionable click-space evident anywhere. 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 Flash3) to their full UEFI profile load and save utility.
UEFI Notable Features
ASUS continues to revise and enhance their UEFI interface, exposing several new features specific to the Kaby Lake processor and Z270 board lines. Updated and notable features include the EZ Mode page, the Advanced mode My Favorites tab, Shortcut screen, a graphical fan tuning interface, a graphical EZ Tuning Wizard interface, foreign language display support, a Quick Note interface for adding persistent notes for later use, and a list of recent changes listed on the Save popup.
EZ Mode page
The EZ Mode page presents information organized into sections in an easy-to-read manner for those users who do not want to be bothered with the labyrinth of the Advanced Mode settings. ASUS enhanced this interface with an animated background, making for an interested effect.
My Favorites tab, populated
My Favorites & Shortcut setup popup
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.
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-lei 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 – OC Page
Easy Tuning Wizard – RAID Page
The EZ Tuning Wizard can be accessed by hitting the F11 function key from within the EZ Mode page or from within the Advanced Mode interface. This wizard can be used to setup BIOS configured system performance optimization or drive RAID setup based on user selections made within the wizard interface.
Advanced Mode, Tools tab, ASUS EZ Flash 3 pop-up source selection
Advanced Mode, Tools tab, ASUS EZ Flash 3 pop-up USB drive selected
The ASUS EZ Flash 3 utility was updated, allowing for BIOS update via an attached drive or through a network connection. When selecting the network update method, the utility launches a network connection wizard for getting the most up to date BIOS file from the ASUS servers.
Ai Tweaker tab, Tweaker's Paradise page
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.
Advanced Mode, Save & Reset popup
The Save & Reset page displays to the user a scrollable list of all UEFI changes made since the last save. Listed changes are not committed to BIOS memory until saved by the user. Note that the same list displays when the user chooses any of the save settings from the Exit page or the Last Modified option with Advanced Mode active.
Advanced mode, Ai Tweaker tab
The Ai Tweaker tab houses the settings controlling all board overclocking settings. Introduced for the Kaby Lake processors is the AVX Instruction Core Ratio Negative Offset setting, giving the user the ability to reduce the CPU core ratio when running programs using the AVX instruction set. This is to reduce processor heat since AVX processing is some of the most processor intensive operations.
Advanced mode, Ai Tweaker tab
Advanced mode, Ai Tweaker tab, Load CPU 5G OC Profile popup
ASUS further enhanced the Ai Tweaker tab with Kaby Lake-friendly settings for UEFI assisted 5.0GHz CPU overclock using the Load CPU 5G OC Profile link. According to documentation provided by ASUS, 80% of the Intel Kaby Lake K processors should be capable of reaching a 5.0GHz overclocked speed.
Advanced mode, Ai Tweaker tab
Nested within the CPU voltage settings on the Ai Tweaker tab is the Kaby Lake-specific setting named BCLK Aware Adaptive Voltage. This setting, when enabled, integrates UEFI-enhanced voltage regulation based on the currently active base clock value.
Advanced mode, Ai Tweaker tab, CPU overclocking temperature control page
The CPU overclocking temperature control page, accessed from a link within the Ai Tweaker tab, was newly added by ASUS with for the Z270-based motherboards. This page houses fine tweaking controls for overclocking where CPU ratio and voltage is automatically increased or decreased based on CPU core temperature thresholds to keep the system running stable. Further, the AVX Instruction Core Ratio Negative Offset setting value is cloned here. Any change to this setting in the sub-page is reflected in the setting value on the Ai Tweaker tab.
Advanced mode, Advanced tab, CPU Configuration page
The CPU Configuration page, accessed from a link within the Advanced tab, houses all CPU-internal settings. New additions to this page, introduced by ASUS with the Z270 chipset UEFI, includes the SW Guard Extensions (SGX) setting. The SW Guard Extensions, previously released by Intel on a limited basis, introduces the ability to create a protected pocket for critical applications using the SGX instruction set to give those applications greater protection from outside attack.