Gigabyte Z97 motherboards come with a slightly different UEFI dashboard that builds on the previous edition introduced with the Z87. The new dashboard is highly customizable allowing you access to all of the major features needed for overclocking and system monitoring and has four available views.
The first and default view is a simplified version called the Startup Guide. This mode will allow you to adjust some of the most basic features in an easy to navigate grid. Don’t expect to do any overclocking from this view.
The next view is the standard Dashboard like what we have seen before and is viewable in HD or non-HD formats. We are happy to report that they have resolved the resolution issue so users with 1080p and larger monitors can view the HD mode.
Pressing F2 will switch between the different modes and you also get the option to default to a view using the “Start-up Options” grid on the Startup Guide.
The final mode is the classic UEFI that many of us know and love. The Dashboard and Classic modes both contain the same options so choosing comes down to personal preference.
Below are some of the more interesting screens found in the GA-Z97X-SOC Force BIOS.(in no particular order)
As with all BIOS menus it is a good idea to root around and identify all of the settings you are looking for and discover what their dependencies might be.
We have discovered that while Gigabyte has been taking huge strides to improve the UEFI experience they have also destroyed the one thing that made the experience enjoyable, speed. In our testing we found that it took over 10 seconds to access the UEFI screen from the time you press DEL to the time when you can make a selection. There is another long pause to switch between the different modes and since the default doesn't allow overclocking you much again wait, for what feels like, 5 seconds to get to that mode.
Of course you can change the menu preference at any time however, if you need to reset the CMOS you will also reset your UEFI startup preference. (eg Dashboard or Classic) Given the clientele we also feel that starting the SOC motherboard in the Startup Guide mode to be rather annoying.