UEFI and Software

Over the past few years it has been great to see MSI improve on their software. High quality software seems like a trivial thing but once you have worked with it it does make a big difference. For manufactures it can be tough because software is harder to quantify, with every other part of a motherboard you can say well if we add this specific feature it will cost us X amount and then we can justify charging z amount. Well software costs a lot of money to make and takes a long time to develop and frankly who looks at a motherboard and says well I will go with this model because it has software. It is a quality of life upgrade that improves your overall experience but its not typically the first things that comes to mind. It is however in my opinion what separates a good manufacture from a great one. This goes for beyond motherboards really. 

Anyhow so MSI has a great program called Live Update that scans what software and drivers you have installed and will help you updated out of date software or install anything that is missing. It makes setting up a new PC simple. For the X99S MPower I installed windows, popped in the included disc and just installed  Live Update and the network driver. Once I could get online I was able to use the software to install everything else I needed and I know that it is completely up to date including updates to both Live Update and the network driver that I installed to get started.

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With everything installed and up and running I had the chance to toy around in the other important piece of software, MSIs Command Center. Frankly this software isn’t any different than the last MSI launch but they did color this to match the yellow of the MPower board. I’m not at all upset about the lack of updates because I was very happy with the software then and now. The way the software works, you have a few options to select from up top or you can just hit the right arrow to move through all of the settings. You will notice that a lot of them aren’t full pages, the options up top just take you to the location in the side scroll, similar to how a FAQ will sometimes take you to a specific question but there are still other questions around it.

You start on a page that lets you manually overclock your CPU. Here you can drag each of the individual cores up and down or if you want there are options to turn up the bclk or the multiplier for the whole CPU. While you are here you can adjust the smart fan settings by adjusting the ramp up graph or you can manually set a fan speed in manual mode. Continuing on you will next find options to overclock your RAM including voltage and frequency settings.

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Next MSI includes RAMDisk for free with their software. Here you can turn it on and also select how large of a ram disk you would like to make. If you don’t know what this is, basically it will take a portion of your ram and turn it into an extremely fast hard drive. This typically runs 3 or 4 times faster than an SSD and is great for tossing pictures and videos on that you are editing.

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There is an option to turn on OC Genie in the software or you can manually do it with the button on the motherboard. This will require a restart if you do it though.

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Down along the bottom of the software you also have three pages you can pull up at any point in time. The record page just graphs out basically any voltage, rpm, temperature, ect that the software picks up. You can use this to graph out how much things heat up with a new heatsink in game or in a benchmark. The Warning page takes that same information but you can just set it to warn you if anything reaches a specific number. The Mobile Control page tells you about the windows and android apps that you can install to overclock and tune your software remotely. It’s a cool feature, but the only time I could see me doing this is if I wanted to turn things up as you run a benchmark.

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There is also an advanced page that lets you dig into DRAM timings and more voltage control. MSI tucked this away to prevent people from changing things they don’t know about.

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As for the UEFI, again things are basically the same as our last look, but again MSI made sure to match the UEFI to the yellow/black theme. When you get into the BIOS they have the large OC Series logo in the middle. On the left you have a settings page, overclock page, and a page to help update the bios. On the right you can load and save BIOS profiles, go to a hardware monitoring page, and board explorer. Up top is a little information about your setup, the temps, buttons to turn on XMP and OC Genie, and a drag and drop booting device list.

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The settings page is basically the catch all for every motherboard option other than the overclocking specific settings. Here you can toy with USB, power, and subsystem settings. There is even a whole page of different Windows 8 specific settings as well.

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The overclocking page has all of the important CPU and RAM adjustments available for you. This makes getting in and out to overclock quicker than having to dig through the bios.  I like that every option has a small explanation on the right side when you click on it as well.

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M-Flash has just the one option to pull the bios update off your flash drive and update the bios. Personally, I just stick with Live Update, it downloads the latest bios and installs it for you.

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You can save up to six different bios profiles. This is great for saving your known good overclock and being able to toy with unproven overclocks. Or if it is hot in your house you can have a profile for the summer and one for the winter.

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The hardware monitor tab shows your system temps and also lets you map out the smart control of each of your fans.

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The board explorer shows you everything you have installed or plugged in by mousing over the device location on the picture of the motherboard. They even give you a view of the rear I/O panel when you mouse over it.

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garfi3ld's Avatar
garfi3ld replied the topic: #35890 19 Nov 2014 19:48
Today I take a look at another X99 motherboard, this time something with a little lower price point compared to the other boards I have tested.

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