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Review: MSI Z77A-GD55 Intel Ivy Bridge motherboard

by Tarinder Sandhu on 23 May 2012, 12:34 3.5

Tags: MSI, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabgzz

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BIOS

The second iteration of the Click BIOS is a marked improvement over the first. The board can auto-overclock the CPU and RAM by using the Genie II mode, available by pressing the on-PCB button, and doing so on our sample results in an overclocked speed of 4.3GHz, which is reasonably conservative.

We feel that MSI bundles too many features together in one section. The OC part, for example, spans over two pages and the grey-on-black text can be hard to read. It would make better sense to group the CPU, RAM, and overclocking under separate subsections. We'd also like it if one could simply key-in the desired frequencies/settings; here, you need to click enter and then use the +/- keys. Still, there are enough options to sate the enthusiast. Voltages go nice and high and the BIOS settings are replicated in Windows through the Click BIOS II program.

The long list of features continues. Mercifully, the settings can be saved as profiles. In keeping with the goodies offered by UEFI BIOSes, this one enables you to easily update it from a USB stick and, once a program is installed in Windows, provides a shell for almost instant-on email and web browsing.

Our experience indicates that the largest deviation between competing BIOSes rests with the quality of the fan-control settings. It takes a little more effort to make it top-notch. MSI's provides basic control. The CPU fan can be controlled via temperature and speed, though the system fans' control can only be set as percentage of maximum; they can't be controlled by temperature. Given that reducing/controlling noise tends to be quite high on the list of most users' priorities, MSI could do with a minor overhaul in this section, matching what the likes of ASUS an ASRock have been providing for a little while now.