MSI BIOS and Overclocking
Now we are onto our last board, and I must say this was the most disappointing overclocking we have ever experienced in this roundup.
MSI uses the Traditional Award BIOS layout with the blue background and side by side menus. To get access to the Overclocking features you will find the bulk of them under the Cell Menu.
Under Cell menu you have access to FSB and voltages. FSB can be adjusted from 200MHz up to 500MHz in 1MHz increments.
DRAM voltage goes from 1.8v to 2.4v in 0.05v increments. Even after using the latest 1.5v BIOS from the MSI website, there are no CPU voltage adjustments available at all which is very disappointing. To get access to the CPU multiplier you need to access the Advanced chipset features menu and access the CPU feature sub menu.
We managed an FSB of 402MHz (402 x 7 = 2814MHz) as we were able to lower our CPU multiplier to allow for overclocking. If you have a Core 2 Duo or Pentium 4 CPU, this board is going to limit your overclocking potential as you won't be able to adjust the CPU ratio since only the high-end Extreme processors allow for the multiplier to be changed.
By far this was the worst overclocking motherboard in the roundup and MSI need to do some serious thinking about the options available in the BIOS (read: CPU voltage adjustments), we can't even believe they sent it to us in this state - sure, it's not their high-end P965 board but we expect more from MSI. A new BIOS could fix this problem but we can only test what is available to us at the time of testing.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we don't have enough time to tweak the motherboard to the maximum and find the highest possible FSB as this could take days to properly find.
We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking or as new BIOS updates are released or "burn in" time might come into play if you believe in that.