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Intel Z97 Express: Five Enthusiast Motherboards, $120 To $160

Z97 Gaming 5 Firmware

MSI retains the same firmware GUI that we've seen though several motherboard generations, making it familiar to any fan of the brand. The importance of any information on the top bar is inversely proportional to its font size, and settings are found in a tiny box at in the middle.

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We like reaching 4.6 GHz and DDR3-2800 with the CPU core at 1.25 V and DRAM at 1.65 V, and we reached those actual voltage levels at set values of 1.24 and 1.63 volts, respectively.

Moreover, we like that MSI puts all of the settings we really want to adjust up front, rather than making us jump through several levels of submenus.

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Primary, secondary, and tertiary timings are easily adjusted, but only after changing “DRAM Timing Mode” on the main page from “Auto” to “Manual”.

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The Z97 Gaming 5 also provides DRAM training and voltage regulation controls.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.