MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX Reviewccokeman - July 11, 2013
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MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX Closer Look:
MSI has come a long way with its Click BIOS, with the latest iteration being installed on this board. Click BIOS 4 is a UEFI BIOS from AMI that is an ACPI 5.0, PnP1.0a, SM BIOS 2.7, and DMI 2.0 multi language ready BIOS. A pair of 64MB Winbond ICs each contain the BIOS. Each BIOS can be accessed via a two position switch that can select from BIOS A or B should you want to use each one differently or just use the redundancy as a fail safe backup. The main BIOS page is where you will navigate from one tab to the next. The GUI provides basic information at the top of the page including CPU temperature, date, time, installed processor, CPU, and DRAM frequency, as well as the installed DRAM capacity.
Settings: The first section is Settings, where you can check the system info under System Status. The Advanced tab is when you manage the IGP settings, enable or disable Intel Rapid Start and Smart Connect Technologies, and set up the power management features. The Boot section is where you manage the boot priority of the installed storage devices. Security is where you can set up an admin password and configure the chassis intrusion settings, while Save and Exit allows for a reset to factory defaults or the acceptance of any system changes.
OC: This section is the area where the performance of the installed hardware can be managed from setting the bclock adjustments; voltages for the CPU, memory, and control circuits; the memory speed and timings; and bclock strap settings, as well as DRAM ratios to pull the most performance out of the installed CPU and memory. This area is fairly robust and the window to the right gives a brief description of the adjust line item. If you will be manually tuning the Z87 MPOWER MAX this is the area you will spend the most time tweaking for performance.
M-Flash is where the user can flash or back up the latest BIOS revisions. Through the course of testing the Z87 MPOWER MAX I flashed several of the available BIOS to see how they functioned. Using the M-Flash tool proved to be anti-climactic as it just worked as intended. Put the BIOS file on a Flash drive, chose your file, then flash and reboot. Three BIOS flashed and no failures prove to me that the tool works.
OC Profile: This section allows the user to save up to six distinct profiles that can be named individually so you at least remember what each profile was. This way you get easy access without having to reconfigure the BIOS each time you want to change to a more or less aggressive profile. You can save profiles to or from a Flash drive for added profile capacity.
Hardware Monitor: This section opens to show configurable fan profiles and controls for the five onboard PWM fan headers. The current voltages supplied by the power supply are registered on the bottom of the window in small charts. CPU and System temperatures are in the upper right of the window on this page.
Board Explorer is a pretty cool feature that shows visually which parts of the PCB are occupied with hardware and highlights them in a bright red. Using a mouse to roll over the Z87 MPOWER MAX you get a brief explanation or picture of the items that are installed.
As a UEFI BIOS you get full mouse and keyboard support so that you can freely navigate the menus and sub-menus in Click BIOS 4. Mouse support has improved but the mouse you use may improve or detract from your experience and how easy it is to navigate the BIOS with just the mouse. Using a Mad Catz RAT 3 mouse, the cursor did not want to move while the menus would scroll wildly. After talking to MSI about this they nailed it down to the signalling between the mouse and the BIOS. They are currently working on a fix so I look forward to that. Hooking up a few different mice from Razer and Logitech shows that lesser known mice might have support issues while the more popular products provide a better BIOS experience. That being said the BIOS is smooth to work around and is easy to use.