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Intel Z97 Express: Five Enthusiast Motherboards, $120 To $160

Z97X-Gaming 5 Software

Gigabyte EasyTune responds to our multiplier-locked Core i7-4790 by preventing access to several related settings. But we can still see the full range of tuning options that get unlocked if you have the right K-series processor. The interface is somewhat more compact compared to previous versions, and now includes a side panel that reports system status.

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Gigabyte now includes its Face Wizard splash image modification tool in the same interface as its @BIOS firmware update tool.

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Gigabyte Cloud Station includes both remote management and home server tasks, even allowing uses to operate overclocking controls from another device. Parts of the utility, such as HotSpot, require users to add a Wi-Fi device to the local system.

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Some Gigabyte applications, such as Fast Boot and Game Controller, are quick-access interfaces for features already offered in Windows.

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Others, such as Smart Recovery, Smart TimeLock, and USB Blocker, are a little more advanced compared to Windows features.

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Gigabyte System Info enables a few settings, such as fan speed control, in addition to its namesake monitoring function.

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Creative’s X-Fi MB3 application doesn’t work with real-time multi-channel encoders like DTS Connect, but it does offer virtual 3D audio though a pair of headphones. Scout Mode is one of its more interesting features, because it raises the noise of approaching opponents in games.

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Since the Z97X-Gaming 5 uses a Killer network controller, it includes the firm’s management application.

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Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.