Articles: Mainboards

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MSI’s Proprietary Software

We have already touched upon the proprietary software bundled with Micro-Star mainboards, when we mentioned utilities that could be launched right from the BIOS. In this respect we should definitely mention Winki III – a Linux based operating system, especially since “Live Update” and “HDD Backup” utilities work specifically in Winki OS.

This OS can be launched from the bundled DVD disk and it may also be transferred to a flash-drive, which should speed up the loading process. So far this OS has grown to version III and the standard set of programs for such “lite” operating systems (browser, image viewer, instant messenger, skype) has been expanded by adding a few company’s brand name utilities and office documents support.

Overall, there are quite a few Micro-Star programs here. “Audio Genie” will help configure the audio, “Video Genie” – the video, “Teaming Genie” combines the functionality of two networks adapters, “Live Update 5” will help updating the BIOS and drivers, “Super Charger” program is used to charge Apple devices, “Easy Viewer” will help vide 3D images. All of them are quite intuitive to work with, but there is also a special booklet telling us about the installation and features of all these applications. As for us, we are going to dwell on “MSI Control Center” features and functionality, because it has changed significantly since we last discussed it.

By default it opens in the “Overclocking” page with the mainboard info displayed at the top of the window. By pressing “More” you can get more system details.

The same works for the processor: there is some basic info in the window by default, with more information available upon request.

 If you press the “Advanced” button, you will be able to adjust the processor clock frequency multiplier, i.e. to overclock.

Once you’ve selected the proper memory module from the drop-down list, you can get to its SPD by pressing “More”.

“DRAM Timings” button allows configuring the memory timings individually for each channel.

You can change voltages in the lower part of the main program window. You can select one of the preset operational profiles: Cooling, Cinema, Game or create one of your own. Moreover, you can also use an automatic overclocking function. The “Overclocking” tab in the upper left corner of the main interface window allows switching to “OC Genie” mode. This is merely a hint that you must press the onboard “OC Genie” button to enable this mode.

There is a “Green Power” tab next to “Overclocking”. By clicking it you get access to brand name power saving technologies and can manually set the rotation speed of three fans out of five to desirable fixed values.

By switching to “LED / Temp.” mode you can disable the indication of the number of active phases in the CPU voltage regulator circuitry using “CPU Phase LED” diodes.

You can use compact “Gadget Mode” for this utility and it will display the current CPU clock speed at all times.

Programs like that often have very few advantages and fall under severe criticism for a number of things. In this case we really liked that the utility was able to report a lot of useful data about our system. It allows changing the processor clock frequency multiplier, which is a very important feature for LGA1155 processors, as well as memory timings and voltages. However, there were also a few issues, which we have to point out. Namely, the program was unable to read the current memory frequency and instead always reported the startup frequency written into the modules SPD. WE didn’t manage to see any of the preset operational modes in action, because the system would hand every time we set any of them. According to the manual, the system is supposed to speed up by 3 % in “Cinema” mode, by 6% - in “Game” mode and should slow down 3% in “Cooling” mode. Since this program proved highly unstable and unreliable, we decided to refrain from using it for our overclocking experiments.

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