When you first enter the BIOS environment, users are greeted with the familiar Classic UEFI user interface, complete with a wealth of system tweaking and overclocking options neatly tucked behind a series of tabs at the top of the screen. We don’t have an "EZ mode" or the Start Guide with its quick start icons, as was found on the X99-SOC board, also from Gigabyte.
Nonetheless, navigation is simple and intuitive. Overclocking, on the other hand, can be as complex as you need it to be. There are several presets for both the Core clock and the BLCK. You can also fine tune BLCK settings incrementally instead of in "steps" as has been the case in the past. The BCLK limitation of Haswell and prior generations have been eliminated on Skylake. You can also adjust Turbo mode preferences and Uncore clock ratio.
Skipping over to the Peripherals tab—we see a few unique options to manage the LED features on the board. You can set the Audio LED to Still, Pulsate or breathe modes. The rear panel LED can be toggled on or off and you can also change the LED Hue color.
There is a lot to be found here and much to explore for tinkerers. Yet, honestly, it’s what is missing that stands out the most. There is no GUI or digital mock-ups to control all system fans from the board's seven different fan headers. Yet such is included in the App Center Windows desktop utility suite. As a whole, the UEFI could use a bit of aesthetic polish or a similar icon-laden Start Guide mode found on some of the company’s enthusiast level X99 boards.
We spent some time tinkering with the OC potential on this board and had good success. We played around with the numerous preset options and even successfully boosted the CPU to 4.59GHz using a combination of a +4 bump to the BLCK, increasing the multiplier/ratio to 45 (104x45) and bumping the Vcore to 1.375. The heat output from that OC left a bad taste in our mouth--idling in the 50's and hitting the 80's on max load. In the end we settled on a pure and simple multiplier-based OC, taking it from stock 40 to 46 (100x46 = 4600). That was it; all other settings were left on Auto. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Everything is rock solid right now at 4.6GHz. But all those fine tuning options could surely be used to wring more from the CPU, especially with more powerful cooling solutions. With a bit more effort we believe mid-4.6GHz, up to 4.7GHz clocks are possible from this particular CPU.