MSI mainboards have really changed as we’ve made sure in our tests of the Z87-G43 model. Some of those changes are not visible even if you know they exist. The mainboard uses a PCB with tightly woven fabric while the redesigned power system allows not only to fix the CPU voltage at a certain level but also add some value to the base level. Even though the latter volt-modding method has little practical worth today (the CPU-integrated regulator will increase the voltage too much in that case), it is no fault of MSI already.
Most of the changes can be found in MSI Click BIOS 4. It features an updated interface where infrequently used sections have been hidden or removed altogether and replaced with more important ones. The BIOS now offers context-sensitive help information. There is a new DRAM Training Configuration subsection, and you can adjust CPU voltage in adaptive mode. The firmware update system is expected to become simpler in the near future.
Even though the changes are numerous, they are hardly fundamental. And there are quite a lot of things we are not at all happy about. Some of the BIOS options are rather confusing. For example, you cannot enable CPU Phase Control which regulates the number of active phases in the CPU power system. You can only disable it. So, we just had to leave it at Auto and hope that it would work normally. Changing some options may affect others in expected ways: when you set up your CPU frequency multiplier with the Adjust CPU Ratio option, the Enhanced Intel SpeedStep technology becomes disabled. As before, the power-saving option C1E Support is turned off by default.
MSI puts an emphasis on three new features in MSI Click BIOS 4: Board Explorer, Hardware Monitor and OC Profile Preview. The first of them doesn't provide any special advantages. The Hardware Monitor section is questionable and we'd like to have it in the more conventional text-based form (by the way, MSI Click BIOS 4 lacks any interface customization options we’ve seen in modern products from other brands). As for OC Profile Preview, this feature is absolutely useless as it compares monitoring data rather than BIOS profile data. The new software tool MSI Command Center isn't good, either, as it has an unfriendly interface.
Despite the downsides we’ve mentioned, the MSI Z87-G43 isn’t such a bad product after all. Unlike many other MSI mainboards we had tested earlier, it didn’t cause serious problems for us. It let us easily update its firmware and save BIOS profiles. Although it doesn’t ensure the standard operation mode for the CPU by default, you can correct it manually. It allows overclocking the CPU and memory, but there’s a confusing difference between the CPU voltage values as set by you and reported in the BIOS and the OS. The Z87-G43 is as fast as comparable products from other brands, but is more economical, which is a typical feature and indisputable advantage of all MSI mainboards. So if the mentioned downsides don't bother you, you may prefer the Z87-G43 just for power-saving reasons.