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MSI Ditches Paper Manuals for Motherboards in 'Green' Digital Push

MSI Goes Green
(Image credit: MSI)

"Going green" is an ongoing trend in the tech industry, with companies pledging to become carbon neutral by investing in clean energy like solar and constructing more energy-efficient facilities. For MSI, its latest move to become more environmentally friendly is a relatively small change, and it involves paper in its retail boxes. In this case, the company says that it will remove paper materials inside its motherboard boxes to "protect trees."

Depending on the MSI motherboard in question, there are varying amounts of paper attachments inside the product box. For example, the Pro Z690-A comes with a quick installation guide and product registration card. On the other hand, the MEG Z690 Unify-X packaging contains a full user manual, quick installation guide, reward program, shout-out flyer, product catalog and registration card.

"MSI is committed to mitigating the environmental impacts of its business activities through green production and supply chain management," the company said in a statement on its website. "We have invested actively into improving energy consumption, waste reduction and chemical substance control in response to climate change risk."

(Image credit: Newegg)

In the future, MSI asks customers to visit its website and search for any necessary documentation for their motherboard in digital form. Or, for customers that need a little additional help with finding documentation, a QR code will be provided on the product box that will take you directly to the digital documentation specific to your motherboard.

In the end, MSI can say that it promotes "better energy saving" and "carbon reduction" while saving a few pennies per box with the removal of paper manuals. However, the most significant contributor to paper usage – the actual motherboard box itself – won't see any changes for obvious reasons.

Although MSI didn't mention graphics cards in its statement, we could envision the company extending the policy to those products as well. MSI's best graphics cards for gaming come loaded with paper materials, including flyers, quick install guides, and registration pamphlets -- just like its motherboards. So if MSI is really committed to reducing its carbon footprint, it only makes sense to practice what it preaches across its entire product portfolio.

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • USAFRet
    So......
    You need a PC or other device, to read the user manual that shows you how to assemble this new PC.

    Gotcha.

    While reducing paper products and waste can be an admirable goal, sometimes it is taken too far.
    Reply
  • punkncat
    With the prevalence of mobile phones that are internet capable, I doubt most people would have issue. It is funny though, this new green trend allows the company to cut costs with paper and printing, leave out an important aspect of the build process and tell us they are doing the world a favor.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    USAFRet said:
    So......
    You need a PC or other device, to read the user manual that shows you how to assemble this new PC.

    Gotcha.

    While reducing paper products and waste can be an admirable goal, sometimes it is taken too far.
    I agree to some extent, but who doesn't have another device? I have a folder on one of my computers with PDF manuals for all my motherboards and other devices. I can't recall the last time I looked at a paper manual despite needing to refer to the manuals from time to time.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    punkncat said:
    With the prevalence of mobile phones that are internet capable, I doubt most people would have issue. It is funny though, this new green trend allows the company to cut costs with paper and printing, leave out an important aspect of the build process and tell us they are doing the world a favor.
    Phone or physical book...give me the book every time.

    This is the same thing they did with physical DVDs for factory reset.
    Used to be included in the box. Somewhere I have a DVD set for an old Sony VAIO, for Windows Me.

    Nah....just wall off a section of the HDD, and make the user create his own DVD/USB.

    Of course, no one ever does. Leading to tears when the HDD dies and takes that partition with it.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    spongiemaster said:
    I agree to some extent, but who doesn't have another device? I have a folder on one of my computers with PDF manuals for all my motherboards and other devices. I can't recall the last time I looked at a paper manual despite needing to refer to the manuals from time to time.
    See lots of people here with "My First PC".

    Yes, you can do it via the phone.
    I find that substandard.

    Don't pee on my leg and tell me its raining.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    USAFRet said:
    Phone or physical book...give me the book every time.

    This is the same thing they did with physical DVDs for factory reset.
    Used to be included in the box. Somewhere I have a DVD set for an old Sony VAIO, for Windows Me.

    Nah....just wall off a section of the HDD, and make the user create his own DVD/USB.

    Of course, no one ever does. Leading to tears when the HDD dies and takes that partition with it.
    For Dell's at least, you never have to have a physical copy of the media. If the desktop/laptop is functional and connected to a network with internet, it will boot into a recovery mode a download the image for you and install it.
    Reply
  • spongiemaster
    USAFRet said:
    See lots of people here with "My First PC".

    Yes, you can do it via the phone.
    I find that substandard.

    Don't pee on my leg and tell me its raining.
    Building your first PC doesn't mean they or someone they are living with don't have another one.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    spongiemaster said:
    I have a folder on one of my computers with PDF manuals for all my motherboards and other devices
    I do as well.

    However, just last week I was trying to find a reference in the PDF user manual for my quadrotor.
    Looking for "beep". As in..."why does it beep in this sequence, blah blah".

    Denied.
    The use manual was NOT a text conversion into PDF, but rather scans of images from the paper manual into PDF.
    Not searchable.

    Much teeth gnashing resulted.

    I had to run that PDF through an OCR conversion thing online, to get actual searchable text.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    spongiemaster said:
    For Dell's at least, you never have to have a physical copy of the media. If the desktop/laptop is functional and connected to a network with internet, it will boot into a recovery mode a download the image for you and install it.
    They used to, and that is actually required (per MS) for the manufacturer or reseller to provide you a way to do some sort of reinstall.

    Network connectivity should NOT be required for a reinstall.
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    I'm actually ok with this, as long as the QR code is on the box, and the manual is formatted well to work on a smartphone screen.

    I prefer PDF manuals because I can do a quick CTRL-F text search, it's much quicker. This assumes you have a laptop to place next to you while you build.
    Reply