Articles: Mainboards

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The Hardware Monitor section used to be hidden deep in the Settings section but now it is quite prominent. It has been redesigned, so instead of conventional text parameters we can see a chart that shows the correlation between the speed of the first CPU fan and the CPU temperature. Yellow and green lines appear on the right and start crawling leftwards. Since the CPU temperature is shown to the right of the diagram in yellow and the speed of the CPU fan is shown in green, we can surmise that the diagram represents the two parameters visually. The Fan Control panel below the diagram allows you to set up how the selected fan's speed must vary depending on temperature. You can set the minimum and maximum temperatures and the corresponding speed of the fan by moving the sliders. Your changes are instantly reflected in the diagram. If you uncheck the Target Temperature checkbox, the dynamic fan regulation is disabled, so you can fix the speed at a certain constant level. The info panel at the bottom of the screen shows you the values of key system voltages.

Unfortunately, neither of the two CPU fan connectors can regulate 3-pin fans as the system fan connectors do. The BIOS interface doesn't have gaudy colors, but the traces of the previous BIOS screen left around the edges of the new window distract the eye. It would be better if the Hardware Monitor window opened in full-screen mode, completely covering the previous screen. It would also be useful if the user had an option to switch from the graphical to text-based interface.

Next goes the new Board Explorer section, which is analogous to the System Browser section of ASRock’s BIOS. It shows a rather accurate picture of the mainboard, so you can learn about its components by moving your mouse pointer over it. As in the Hardware Monitor section, the previous screen can be seen around the section window.

Now let’s get back to the very first Settings section and browse through it a little.

The System Status subsection is in fact the start screen you see when you enter the BIOS. It reports some basic system information.

The Advanced subsection contains the same features as were present in the previous BIOS version. Here you can set up chipset-specific technologies like Intel Rapid Start and Intel Smart Connect. You can enable Windows 8 boot mode or speed up the startup procedure on the Windows 8 Configuration page.

The Boot subsection is where you define the boot device order and some other boot-related settings.

The earlier Security section is now available as a single page in the Advanced subsection. Besides enabling passwords like on other mainboards, you can use a regular USB drive as your access key. It is a special feature of MSI products.

The Save & Exit options are self-explanatory.

At any time and in any place you can hit F1 to output basic help information. Unfortunately, MSI has not implemented a hotkey for undoing your actions and returning to the previous parameter values. This can be done by means of Discard Changes in the Save& Exit subsection, so the free F7 key might be used for that purpose.

Our overall impression about the new MSI Click BIOS 4 is positive. The start screen now doesn’t have the ECO section that used to duplicate CPU power saving options and show current voltages. The Browser section was removed as it was rather useless and required installing the Winki 3 OS. Some programs were removed from the Utilities section, too. Instead, we have the more helpful M-Flash section for firmware updates and OC Profile for saving and loading BIOS profiles. The infrequently used Security section is transformed into a single page in the Settings section, just where it belongs. Context-sensitive help information about BIOS options is available. There is a new subsection DRAM Training Configuration and MSI's mainboards now offer the same CPU voltage tweaking options as mainboards from other brands. The new Board Explorer section is hardly a valuable addition, but it does no harm, either.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides that must be mentioned. The Hardware Monitor section was brought to the start screen from the depths of the BIOS interface, which is good. But the section itself is too sophisticated and unintuitive, so you have to spend some time figuring out what you can do with its options. The start screen has meager functionality. There are no interface customization options. The OC Profile Preview feature for comparing BIOS profiles proved to be useless as we will explain below. Some BIOS parameters are still ambiguous. It is unclear whether you should turn them on or off, and you just have to choose Auto and hope that the mainboard knows what to do.

So while there are numerous positive changes, we wish even more. In fact, we have the same MSI Click BIOS II but corrected. It would be appropriate to call it MSI Click BIOS 2.1 rather than give it the much higher version number which only reminds us of our unfulfilled expectations.

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