MSI P7N Diamond Reviewccokeman - May 18, 2008
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After you install your OS, you'll want to install the drivers for the motherboard and whatever components round out your system. Start with the motherboard drivers, and then move on to the MSI-exclusive Creative X-Fi sound card drivers. MSI provides a driver disk for both windows XP and Vista, and I will be using the Vista disk for this review.
Upon inserting the drivers disk, the MSI installation GUI will open showing several tabs labeled with their function, and each tab has a unique set of options to choose between in order to get the drivers and applications installed. Each window is color-coded to indicate the difference between tabs, but you will see a "Vista" graphic superimposed on the GUI, so you know that this disk contains the Vista driver packages. The first tab contains the drivers for the system and the JMicron controller.
The Utility page carries the installation package for the MSI Dual-Core Cell and Ntune utilities, each under the respective listing.
The Website tab contains links to websites to download additional software that could prove useful, and the last tab contains contact information as well as CD information. By clicking this option you can browse the disk, and can exercise the option to manually install the drivers.
This utility is a Windows-based overclocking and monitoring tool. Each tab supports a separate function, and the minimized GUI compacts all of the tabs into one small interface. As you can see, the D.O.T. function can be enabled to dynamically set system performance based on operating load, and no part of the system can be overclocked if you plan to use this tool. The E button brings up a window to show how efficiently the system is running in real-time, and off course efficiency at load will be less than at idle.
Here, we see that there are four screens for each of the four Dual-Core Center functions - temperature monitoring, fan speed control, voltage monitoring and adjustment, and overclocking.
Those who have used Creative X-Fi sound cards before will be familiar with the Creative Console interface. The main window acts as a sort of "command central" where you can select and adjust numerous different settings to get your audio just right.
Let's take this board on a few test runs, and see how she handles.