Now that we’ve seen what Intel has to offer, let’s take a look at what extras that MSi has added to improve upon Intel’s design. MSi has become well known for developing some really cutting edge software to enhance hardware performance. I’m willing to bet that many of you have either tried or are currently using their Afterburner software to enhance the performance of your GPU. Let’s see if that kind of brilliance also applies to the features that they added to this motherboard.
This board features MSi’s new Click BIOS II technology. This is a technology that enables the use of a touch screen display to change BIOS settings. This is really cool for those that have already upgraded to a new touch screen display. It also allows for BIOS changes to be made from within the Windows environment. This means that you won’t have to reboot your system just to get into your BIOS. Their UEFI BIOS is also really detailed and easy to navigate. Every setting adjustment that you can think of is present. This will allow users to get the very most out of their hardware and we’ve come to expect nothing less from MSi. Their UEFI BIOS has a very clean looking interface that isn’t nearly as intimidating as some of the others that we’ve seen. Overall it was very easy to use and we were able to get the system up and running with it in a very short period of time.
One feature that MSi has been working with for a while is their Military Class set of features for enhanced durability and performance. This is their third generation of that feature set and therefore it’s called Military Class III. This is feature entails several different components that improve the overall stability and quality of the motherboard. First off this involves the use of all Solid Capacitors that also feature an aluminum core for enhanced longevity. This also features their second generation of Driver-On-MOSFET or DrMOS technology. This allows for better power regulation to the MOSFETs because the drivers are built directly onto them. Super Ferrite Chokes are also a part of this feature. This helps to improve high current capacity and power efficiency to allow better overclocking potential and stability. This feature also incorporates a whole host of tests that are performed by a third party to ensure that it will stand up to the harshest of conditions. There is also a built in LED to warn users when the MOSFET temperature hits 115 degrees Celsius. It will also automatically shut the system down once the thermal threshold has been reached at 130 degrees Celsius in order to protect the system. You will also get an on-screen warning about possible overheating of your MOSFETs. This board comes with a certificate to verify that this board passed all of the stress tests that were conducted on it.
This board has some of the best sounding audio that we’ve heard from a motherboard. It uses the THX TruStudio Pro audio chip to deliver really amazing and realistic sounding audio. You really have to hear it for yourself to understand how good it really is. All of our games and videos sounded very realistic and well defined. We didn’t notice any annoying distortions that are normally associated with integrated audio solutions. This was even true at the higher volumes that we had our speakers set at. There is also a switch located above the top SATA port that allows you to switch between two separate BIOSs. This is great if you want to find out which BIOS is able to give you better performance. There are also 4x SATA 3.0 ports and 4x SATA 2.0 ports for connecting all of your storage drives. RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 is also fully supported by these ports to give you the absolute best performance for your high-speed storage drives. This board also has a Debug LED located just under the SATA ports for troubleshooting boot errors. This is incredibly convenient and a great time saver. This board is also capable of supporting up to 64 gigs of DDR3 memory at 2.4GHz with overclocking. This is great for those that are planning to use this for memory intensive applications. This board also features fast charging of many devices through a USB port. It can effectively charge one of these compatible devices at up 3 times the normal speed.
Another feature that this board has is its support for OC Genie II. This is one of the best instant overclocking utilities that are currently on the market. This feature uses a button on the motherboard to set a pre-configured overclocking profile based on your hardware. We were able to use it very successfully to overclock our 3960X from the stock 3.3GHz to 4.0 simply by pressing the button. We have found that the best application for this type of software is to give a good starting point for your overclocking potential. If you find that you really don’t need a dramatic overclock though, this button will definitely give you a nice boost in performance the instant you hit it. This button is located next to plus and minus buttons for increasing and decreasing the CPU base clock. A power button is also set next to these for easily starting the system without the having it installed in a case. This is a really nice location for these buttons because they’re located at the bottom of the board. These buttons will only be blocked if you decide to install a third video card. This is something to keep in mind if that’s your intention. A better location might have been near the SATA ports that are located at the front edge of the board. This is a rather minor detail though because most will probably only install one or two cards anyway. All in all, these buttons came in handy on our test bench and allowed us to get the board up and running in record time.