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Review: MSI Z97S SLI Krait Edition

by Ryan Martin on 16 March 2015, 16:42

Tags: MSI

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BIOS and software

MSI's UEFI BIOS remains consistent across its current motherboard lineup with only a reskin differentiating between different segments. The MSI Z97S SLI Krait Edition gets its own unique black and white UEFI skin but the meat of the BIOS functionality is no different to other MSI boards, such as the Z97 Gaming 5 we reviewed in the past.

The BIOS is organised into a six-tile design that segments the various UEFI options under a key theme. In practice the Settings and OC tabs are heavily-weighted with the majority of tweakable options and users will likely spend most of their in-BIOS time at those locations.

MSI's UEFI implementation is well-rounded and covers all the bases with a nice balance between attractive graphical interfaces for conducting simple operations, like changing the boot order or a fan curve, to more in-depth tweaking options for overclockers seeking to get every last MHz out of their CPU or memory.

The centrepiece of MSI's motherboard software is the Command Center which gives users the flexibility to manually overclock their CPU and memory or make use of the auto-overclocking OC Genie tool. Other options include the ability to tweak fan speeds and even create a RAMDisk, although, most Z97 users are unlikely to have enough RAM to create anything sizeable.

Among the numerous other utilities MSI provides, Live Update and Network Genie stand out as the most useful. Live Update scans the system for all supported drivers and MSI utilities to determine if the latest version is installed and, if not, downloads the latest version for the user to install.

Network Genie is a primitive packet-prioritisation software program developed to work with Realtek Gigabit network controllers, such as the 8111G NIC this motherboard uses. The number of options and tweakability fall short of rival offerings like the ASUS GameFirst III but on the whole it's pleasing to see MSI widening its software offerings.