MSI Z68A-GD80 Reviewccokeman - May 10, 2011
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MSI has included the latest edition of their Control Center software for use with the Z68A-GD80. What this application can do is allow you to overclock the system from within the operating system and instantly apply the settings rather than reboot and hope the settings worked (as in the past). In the Overclocking section there are a total of four different areas that have either information or the capability of manipulating the clock speeds, voltages or memory timings. The Mainboard section gives top line information about the motherboard with more detail found under the "More" button to the right of the window. The CPU monitor section again gives top line info about the installed CPU, in this case an Intel second generation Core i7 2600K. The CPU monitor tab to the right of the window opens up a new window that shows the current CPU clock speed, clock multiplier, temperature and maximum Turbo Boost ratio by cores. The "More" button shows information displayed that is similar to what you see displayed in CPU-Z. The OC Genie tab gives an illustrated tutorial on how to use the OC Genie button.
Along with the Control Center, MSI puts a few other applications into the package that allow the user to take advantage of all the board has to offer. Live update is used to update the BIOS and drivers on the motherboard and can be configured to do this automatically or allow you to check on your own schedule. Easy Viewer is an application used to view and manipulate images and screen video. The Teaming Genie is used to set up the teaming function of the two Realtek Gigabit Lan ports. The Video Genie is used for color enhancement of your desktop, videos and games while the Audio allows for speaker calibration and THX mode setting. Supercharger is an app for charging your portable devices quickly through a USB port.
LucidLogix Vitu Software is included to take advantage of the Z68 chipset's ability to use Dynamic switching between the Intel HD 3000 and an installed discrete GPU. The software comes with a preset list of supported games and applications although I found 3DMark Vantage to not switch between the IGP and discrete card while several games did show the jump in performance (indicating the sofware switched from IGP to the discrete graphics card).
To take advantage of Intel's Smart Response technology (SSD Caching) you will need to have the latest Rapid Storage technology driver, a small SSD and a mechanical drive. This ability allows the most frequently accessed programs to be cached on the SSD for a faster response. Setup requires that the primary drive and solid state drive are installed and the controller is set to RAID instead of AHCI or IDE. Then once the OS is installed to the mechanical drive and the drivers and INF are installed, install the latest RST (10.5.1026), reboot and open up the RST control panel, choose Accelerate and follow the directions. Once this is done you can enjoy the benefits of a combination said to be faster than a hybrid drive. A small SSD is recommended with the largest cache supported being 64GB. Currently a 32GB SSD will set you back from 80 to 100 dollars. This option shows promise but a few more dollars spent can get you the full abilities of an SSD.
MSI's Winki is a small application that allow for a quick boot into a small Linux distro. The Winki software is enabled in the BIOS and allows for pretty much anything you can do in the windows OS. Get on the internet, look at files or view and work with pictures.