Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the new Z77 chipset, at least as far as gamers and other enthusiasts are concerned, is the completely overhauled BIOS interface. Forget that bright blue screen with blocky fonts and abbreviated descriptions (seriously, how were we stuck using that this far into the 21st century?), Intelís new Visual BIOS is pretty much a Windows application that you can use prior to booting the operating system. It features a full-color UI with graphics and animation, tabs, buttons and sliders, all of which you can navigate using that oft-neglected overclocking peripheral, the mouse! It even has a search bar, where you can type in the name of a setting or feature youíre looking for to pull it up instantly
Pretty cool, right? Now, Iíve seen companies like Gigabyte and ASUS do something like this with higher-end motherboards they released last year -- and pretty much everybody releasing a Z77 board this week has their own version of a GUI BIOS -- but nothing Iíve seen comes anywhere close to how slick and comprehensive Intelís Visual BIOS is.
On the default home page, pictured above, you have instant access to your boot device order and Intelís overclocking assistant, plus various buttons and tabs that will take you to all the other sections such as advanced CPU settings, installed SATA and other devices, temperature monitoring and fan controls, etc. The ability to use the mouse to navigate alone makes it way easier to use than the traditional BIOS, but the higher resolution allows for more information to be displayed at once while also making it easier to read.
As a result, the Visual BIOS not only makes it easier for newbies to get into having this level of control over their computerís hardware, but itís a breath of fresh air for those that already know their way around. Once you dig a little deeper into the menus, youíll find the same breadth of options available for tweaking, including voltage levels, RAM timings, toggles for on-board peripherals, and temperature thresholds for fan speeds, all presented in a much more visually-pleasing manner. Not to mention the implementation of slider bars and drop-down menus, which are a lot easier to manage than a 60-item list you have to scroll through using the arrow keysÖ
I know seeing pictures of this thing doesnít fully express how awesome it is, so to give you a better idea, Iíve made this short video for you to see it in motion. Please excuse the crappy quality; I know my old camera is horrible for video, but it still serves to show why this really is ďthe future of BIOS:Ē