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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Monday, 06 May 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard
Closer Look: Z77A-G45 GAMING
Z77A-G45 GAMING Detailed Features
MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING UEFI
MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Software
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Benchmarks
Z77A-G45 GAMING Power Consumption
Z77A-G45 GAMING Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard Software

In this section of the review we will take a brief look at the main software for the MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard: MSI Control Center (PC) and Command Center (Android/iOS).

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Control_Center.jpg

The first screen of MSI Control Center gives you info regarding your CPU and memory and their operating speeds, more detail is available via the 'More' and 'advanced' buttons. In this screen you can overclock in real time without needing to reboot your system. Of course when you go too far the system will become unstable and our old friend BSOD will present itself. After a quick reboot original safe settings are restored and you may continue playing.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Control_Center_02.jpg

The next tab is OC Genie. This screen is somewhat of a waste in my opinion. A paragraph of text that tells you "You are a dummy", a fancy info-graphic, and an icon to enable and disable OC Genie. I enabled OC Genie and awaited confirmation, I don't quite know what I was expecting but any sort of confirmation would have done. "OC Genie has successfully overclocked your CPU, you are now running at 7GHz" would have been nice, but I was left hanging. I will end this rant on a positive note though. OC Genie was able reach a stable overclock of 4.2GHz on my CPU in the same amount of time it took my mouse to click on the OC Genie icon and enable it. If you want a stable overclock and you can't be bothered to learn how it all works then OC Genie is for you, and it only takes one click of your mouse. Genie-ous.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Control_Center_03.jpg

The Green Power tab allows you to monitor your system temperatures and adjust fan speeds to save power and reduce system noise. It's quite basic but gets the job done all the same.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Control_Center_04.jpg

In the LED screen you can enable/disable the CPU phase LED's on the motherboard.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Control_Center_05.jpg

The Record tab is your hardware monitor screen, useful if you are pushing your system to its limits and want to keep a record of what's happening during a benchmark or stability test. in the bottom pane you can set thresholds to trigger an alert if they are reached.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Control_Center_06.jpg

The mobile tab allows you to set up a virtual server on your PC that will allow overclocking and system monitoring via an Android or iOS mobile device. This feature is also available to MSI Afterburner, so you can now control all aspects of your overclocking and monitor your system's vital statistics via a remote handheld device.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Android_Command_Center_01.jpg

MSI are taking overclocking to the next level with their Command Center app. As if overclocking from the Windows desktop wasn't enough, you can now remotely adjust settings via your Android or iOS device. All of the settings available in the MSI Control Center desktop utility are also available in the MSI Command Center application. Setup is quick and easy and the UI is very well laid out.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Android_Command_Center_02.jpg

The MSI Command Center app also features a very handy hardware monitor. Values are updated in real time so you can monitor your systems vital statistics while you are running benchmarks, stress testing your system or playing games. It would be nice if Command Center could also detect your video card but MSI do also have an Afterburner app for Android and iOS devices.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Android_Command_Center_03.jpg

eControl has options to shutdown or reboot your system and a clear CMOS button. The next tab (shown above) is a nifty media center remote. This is a great addition for HTPC/Gaming PC's hooked up to a big screen where using a mouse and keyboard might not always be practical.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboardwill 2013-06-23 05:09
"Take from this what you will, but the results are clear cut enough to convince me that that it is worthwhile enabling the power saving settings available on the MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING motherboard. In the 60's and 70's there was a big ecology movement after oil prices had risen sharply and we collectively realised that we could not sustain our then current level of consumer lifestyles. In the ensuing years the economy changed for the better and consumption ramped up sharply. We now find ourselves consuming more than ever and we once again need to realise that natural resources can't possibly sustain us forever. We need to demand more energy efficient products. We need to demand better built and longer lasting hardware. But most of all, we need self control and a more conscious approach towards our consumer habits"

What a fantastic quote, very unusual for a MB review. Bravo
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# RE: RE: MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING MotherboardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2013-06-23 11:07
Thanks for the kind words Will. :)
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# Knowing is half the battle...WhyNotV2 2013-06-24 02:47
"I didn't spot it right away but a closer inspection of the VRM/phase heatsinks reveals that they are shaped like the head of a dragon. This is a nice touch but it will be inevitably lost in an enclosed system with a large CPU cooler much like my own."

This may be true, but YOU know they are there :)
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