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MSI Z68A-GD80 Review

ccokeman    -   May 10, 2011
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Closer Look:

MSI has continued the use of its "Click BIOS" and provides a richer experience in the BIOS. It is called this because you navigate through the BIOS and chose the settings to change with the "Click" of a mouse button. Catchy Eh? The shell is different from what other manufacturers have done but MSI has gone a different route. When you first enter the BIOS, there are a total of five options to choose from, Green Power, Utility, OC, Game and Settings. Each section has a distinct set of options to tweak. Under the Green Power tab you can turn on or off the Active Phase Switching feature of this board as well as saving a few pennies by turning off the motherboard LEDs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Utility tab there are four separate items, Memory Test that allows the end user to run a test similar to memtest, use the Live update feature to update the BIOS or find new drivers for your hardware. The Boot Screen tab gives the ability to change the view of your boot screen and HDD backup to safely backup the contents of the disk drives.

 

 

The OC Section is where most of the overclocking is done. The adjustments that MSI put into this BIOS are quite granular. The BCLK adjustment is made in 10Khz increments. The voltages adjustments allow for tuning up to the limit rather than overshooting what the system needs. Under this section is where the CPU and memory configuration is accomplished. Setting the Turbo Boost ratio and DRAM timing are things that are found in this section.

 

 

 

 

The Games section is included and offers some low overhead games but is not something of great interest although you can kill some time with them. The Settings section is the other section of value within the Click BIOS. Under this tab are the System Status, Advanced, M-Flash, Security, Boot and Exit tabs. The system Status button brings you to what normally would be the main BIOS page showing the installed disk drives, system time and date as well as the installed hardware. The Security button provides a way to set user and admin passwords, configure the chassis detection features and a way to automatically update the BIOS. The Advanced section is where the integrated peripherals can be enabled and configured, USB options setup and the fan profiles and monitoring can be configured. Power management is also found here. M-Flash is used to update the BIOS with little worry as to whether the flash will take or that the board will be non-responsive. With the amount of times I flashed a BIOS on this board not once did I have an issue. The Boot section allows the MSI logo to display during the POST sequence. This can however be turned off. Inside the Boot section is where the disk boot sequence is setup. Save and Exit is just what the name implies. Here is where the default or optimized BIOS configuration can be set. Here is the way out of the BIOS if pushing the F10 key is not to your liking.

 

 

 

 

This implementation of the Click BIOS is easy to work through and is smooth in the process. The look on the other hand, is not one that has grown on me since I looked at the P67A-GD65 but that is a personal preference. It is going to be something that is either liked or disliked. With a high-end offering, I would like to see something more along the lines of the graphic used in the Control Center rather than a cartoonish look. Again personal preference that takes nothing from the functionality. This is a radical step away from the traditional BIOS with just enough keyboard action to keep a purist happy.


 




  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: MSI Z68A-GD80
  3. Closer Look: Included Programs
  4. Closer Look: The BIOS
  5. Specifications & Features
  6. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  7. Testing: Apophysis, WinRar, GeekBench, Bibble 5
  8. Testing: Office 2007, POV Ray
  9. Testing: SiSoft Sandra 2011
  10. Testing: ScienceMark, Cinebench, HD Tune
  11. Testing: Aliens vs. Predator
  12. Testing: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  13. Testing: Batman Arkham Asylum
  14. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  15. Testing: IGP, Virtu, SSD Caching
  16. Conclusion
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