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Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 Motherboard

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Touch BIOS

We haven't said much about BIOS in our review of Gigabyte's first Socket 1155 motherboard, but only because there was nothing much to say. But when most other motherboard makers were integrating UEFIs, Gigabyte was looking for ways to advance this concept. And that's what they came up with: instead of wasting time and efforts on adding eye candy where it didn't really belong, one could take BIOS functionality and implement it into a Windows utility. Enters Touch BIOS.

Below is a movie that shows you how it works. The utility's native resolution is 800x600, so you may want switch to fullscreen mode to better see the details.

This idea isn't completely unique. For example, NVIDIA once offered a similar tool for motherboards on its top-end chipsets. (Although it was mostly focused on overclocking.) But Gigabyte's utility provides access to every option an Award BIOS may have. Whether it's really necessary for a typical user is another question. Important is that Gigabyte now has a right to claim they have made a complete BIOS counterpart for Windows, including options to disable specific peripheral controllers, wake up settings, monitoring and overclocking tools, etc. Which also means you don't have to reset your PC every time you miss the right moment to hit Delete.

If you do like the classic text-based BIOS, though, it's still there, one push of Delete away.

All in all, we liked how the Windows-based BIOS worked: it was convenient, clear and logical. The large font and matching controls are a plus (this also allows you to easily set Touch BIOS without a mouse, if you have an all-in-one PC with a touchscreen).

We still think that most users do not have many reasons to change BIOS settings often (or ever). There are more convenient overclocking tools which, at the very least, do not require you to reboot after every change. But we still have to give credit to Gigabyte for coming up with something original.

Of aspects most important for a typical user, we'll say that GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 can boot from hard drives larger that 2.2TB in capacity (64-bit Windows Vista and 7 only), that its firmware can be upgraded from flash or other storage drives, and that you can quickly select a bootable drive. And, of course, there's Dual BIOS. Gigabyte was one of the first to add a second Flash ROM chip to its motherboards to make firmware upgrades safer. So, Dual BIOS is yet another incarnation of the good old concept.

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