MSI has one of the most unique UEFIs, and one of the best UEFIs. While the tiles might throw some people off, all the settings one might need are there, and the tiles are just an easier way of accessing them. Overclocking settings were abundant, especially for DRAM overclocking. One part of MSI's UEFI I find to be superlative is the fan control, simply put; it's excellent. An easy to understand and very customizable GUI with a graph and different sensor options are provided.
MSI also has an option I feel is very beneficial to novice overclockers; the CPU Ratio Mode. The setting has two options, fixed and dynamic, which will automatically configure power saving options such as EIST to allow for full speed operation or variable frequency turbo. On many boards there is a right combination of EIST, Turbo, and C-states which gives you variable or fixed frequency operation, and MSI takes the guess work out of it.
The UEFI doesn't have many downsides, but there are a few. I would like more descriptions for the PWM settings and some settings like PCI-E link speed are buried a little too deep. Overall, MSI's Z97 Gaming 9 ACK has one of the best Z97 UEFIs.
This is the Killer application and where you prioritize things for Killer DoubleShot Pro which allows the use of Wi-Fi and Wired LAN simultaneously.
Two audio software suites are provided, Sound Blaster Cinema 2 for the CMedia audio and the Realtek Audio Manager for the Realtek audio.
Here are more settings in the Sound Blaster Cinema 2.
MSI has their Commander Center 2 for in-Windows overclocking and a quick mode selection for system overclocks. MSI's ECO Center is also present for monitoring.
MSI's Smart Utilities which can enable or disable Intel technologies is also present as is the free trial of XSplit. Super Charger is also provided.
PRICING: You can find the MSI Z97 Gaming 9 ACK for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The MSI Z97 Gaming 9 ACK retails for $289.99 at Amazon.
Australia: The MSI Z97 Gaming 9 ACK retails for $445 at PLE Computers.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the Z97 Gaming 9 ACK]
- Page 3 [Z97 Gaming 9 ACK Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [Z97 Gaming 9 ACK Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Temperature and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [Final Thoughts]
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