MSI X58 Platinum ReviewZertz - March 1, 2009
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Getting the MSI X58 Platinum up and running perfectly requires more than just installing the operating system. Those few extra steps are essential to attain full and proper functionality of every board feature, which starts with using the correct supplied disc, depending on whether you went for XP or Vista, and installing additional drivers. I will take you through a tour of MSI's various software tools bundled with this motherboard. These include an overclocking tool, a software monitoring tool, and the Green Power Center.
Obviously, the first thing you should do is to drop the disc into your optical drive and watch the magic happen. A window will appear with four tabs available to explore. The first tab includes chipset, RAID, audio and LAN drivers. Next up is the utility tab, where you can install the Green Power Center, MSI Overclocking utility, Live Update 3 and the Drive Booster Manager. The third tab consists of outside links to MSI's website and third party drivers for nVidia video cards and Realtek's onboard LAN chip. The fourth and last tab has contact information should you ever need it.
Under the Utility tab, MSI has included some useful applications you can use to overclock your system, save the planet and keep your motherboard drivers, BIOS and MSI software updated. These are the Green Power Genie, MSI Live Update 3 and the Overclocking Center, which each possess their unique utility. Using the Live Update tool is rather simple, just let it launch at start up and it will automatically check for newer software versions. The Configuration tab even lets you change the application's color theme. Awesome.
From there you can move onto the Green Power section. There are two tabs here, Basic and Advance. The first section merely lets the user stare at the current power consumption and various voltages. Although since the Platinum, unlike the Eclipse, does not come with the GreenPower Genie accessory, it cannot display power consumption on the 3.3, 5 and 12V rails. The next section is very similar, it sports the same three options but allows them to be configured. You could set up different profiles if you want to go for higher performance or just save energy. Although the system cannot be overclocked from this program, various voltages can be set in order to decrease energy draw. The last item to be customized is the onboard LED functionality. You can choose to leave it on for the max bling factor or shut some or all of them off.
The Overclocking Center has a look incredibly similar to the GreenPower Center. The leftmost tab, System Info, displays various bits of information about the motherboard, the integrated components and the processor. The Memory tab shows the amount of RAM installed as well as SPD information, but not the current timings. The last tab, PCI, display a ton of uninteresting information about various low level system devices.
While the System Info was a bit boring, the D.O.T. tab is significantly more interesting and useful. The Basic setting has five presets you can choose from depending on how you prefer the system to run. If you're watching a movie, you might not want to have fans blowing at full speed on an overclocked processor, and that's what this allows you to do so in a very simple manner. The Advanced tab is all the same, except you can customize everything from frequency to voltages and fan speed. Once you have figured out a suitable setting, the Save button in the lower right corner lets you save the current configuration into a profile. This makes it easy to set up and load different settings depending on your usage pattern. As you can see from the screenshot below, the voltage range is more than generous and not so healthy for your system. The processor can be moved up to about 2v while the RAM can be set up to a scary 2.7v. It's great for overclocking from Windows, but system hangs should be expected from time to time when you get a bit enthusiastic.
Let's take a look at the BIOS now.