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ASUS Z97-AR Review

The BIOS has come a long way from the blue background and yellow ANSI graphics.  The UI now recognizes mouse movements and is more like an OS environment than anything I grew up on.  With that said, the Z97-AR UEFI (unified extensible firmware interface) is really slick.  Everything is easy to find and there are a ton of options to configure.  I must confess… the color scheme, which matches the board colors, is a little nauseating.

There are two modes in which you can interact with the BIOS.  There is the EZ Mode and the Advanced Mode.  Upon entering, you are immediately thrust into EZ Mode and required to present the ability to press F7 to enter the advanced configuration screens.

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The EZ Mode presents the user with information about your motherboard, CPU, and RAM configuration.  Your temperatures and voltages are displayed in text and graph form while your DRAM Status and SATA information are displayed elegantly.  Drag and drop boot priority as well as manual fan tuning function magically.

Additionally, the EZ Mode provides the burgeoning enthusiast with access to the EZ System Tuning Feature and manual fan tuning capabilities.

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If you are the adventurous type, F7 will bring you into the advanced mode.  Here, you can tweak endlessly.  The Favorites menu allows you to tag frequently accessed settings to one location for quick access.

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Beyond favorites, in order from left to right, Main:

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Overclocking is handled through the Ai Tweaker menu section and allows fine tuning of your system.

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Board Layout & Features
  3. UEFI BIOS
  4. UEFI BIOS Cont.
  5. Included Software
  6. Test System Setup
  7. Benchmarking: Ethernet Performance
  8. Benchmarking: SATA Performance
  9. Benchmarking: AIDA64 Benchmark
  10. Benchmarking: PCMark 8
  11. Benchmarking: Handbrake
  12. Benchmarking: Cinibench R15
  13. Benchmarking: HyperPi
  14. Overclocking & Final Thoughts

About Joe DiFiglia

I have always had a passion for everything computing. In early 2000, I decided to take my passion to the web. Thus, C.O.D. was born. Through the years we have made many great friends at C.O.D. and hope to continue our journey for years to come.