Gigabyte GA-Z87N-WIFI Haswell Mini-ITX Motherboard

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Software & Fan Control

Software is one area that Gigabyte has been trailing its competitors for quite some time. Their EasyTune utility was really beginning to show its age when ASUS upgraded their AI Suite with the launch of their Sandy Bridge motherboards. Thankfully, the antiquated UI is gone — the Z87N-WIFI is part of a new breed of Gigabyte boards shipping with more modern software.

The only downside is all of Gigabyte's software isn't bundled together. You first have to install APP Center, then all the other utilities have to be installed one at a time. They're essentially applets that run through APP Center. ASUS' system is a bit better in that you can download the entire AI Suite and customize the install to choose which utilities you want.

EasyTune: Frequency/voltage options.

The updated EasyTune application handles all your overclocking and fan control needs and the interface uses a sleek blue/white on black color scheme. For most things, there is an easy and advanced menu to choose from.

Overclocking can be accomplished through quick and easy presets that automatically adjust the CPU multiplier and voltages to achieve the desired clock speed. If you prefer to get your hands dirty, the advanced menu gives you sliders for a bunch of advanced settings. It looks a lot like Intel's Extreme Tuning utility. Unfortunately like most similar software, changes are not enacted on the fly — they require a reboot in most cases.

EasyTune: Fan control options.

The fan control section definitely takes a page out of ASUS' book. There usual presets are available but there's also a calibration option that is very similar to ASUS" Fan Xpert 2. It runs connected fans through the range to determine when they top spinning to give a more custom tailored experienced. In the advanced menu, fans can be set to a fixed speed or you can plot multiples points on a fan speed to temperature graph. This is a huge upgrade from the adjustable slope in the BIOS/UEFI.

In operation, the software seemed to work fine. We did notice that the System fan reacted to the system (chipset) rather than CPU temperature, which is much more useful on larger form factors where the two components are further away from one another. On an ATX board, the chipset tempearture is usually impacted more by a discrete GPU, so you could have a side panel fan activating in response for example. The board has a pair of 4-pin PWM fan headers but this is deceiving as the SYS_FAN header can only be controlled via voltage. Not unusually, the CPU_FAN header is limited to PWM control only.

SpeedFan screen with correlations inputted.

If you prefer to use SpeedFan, both headers are controllable (with the same CPU_FAN/PWM and SYS_FAN/DC limitations) once the application is set up properly (find the "IT8728F" chip in the Advanced menu and change PWM 1-2 mode from "SmartGuardian" to "Software controlled"). The same CPU and System (chipset) temperature sensors found in EasyTune are also available, reported as the first "Temp3" and "Temp1" sensors respectively.

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