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Seven Sub-$160 Z77 Express Motherboards, Reviewed

Overclocking With MSI Control Center

Unlike its Click BIOS II for Windows, MSI’s Control Center allows users to change multiple settings on the fly. We were able to verify that voltage, base clock, CPU multiplier, and memory timing controls operate as they should.

We did need to reboot the system once to activate real-time CPU multiplier controls, but that’s likely because a setting had to be changed at the firmware level. The program worked flawlessly after that.

Intel uses various Turbo Boost ratios to maximize CPU performance within a certain power threshold, yet overclockers can sometimes benefit from similar multiplier schemes to stay within a peak thermal threshold. We’re interested in maximum stable clock (best-case scenario) at maximum possible load (worst-case scenario), so a single multiplier is better for our tests.

We were also able to set memory timings on-the-fly, but only after changing from per-channel timings (Channel A or Channel B) to all-channel timings (Channel AB) at the top of the above menu.

MSI Control Center has an OC Genie automatic overclocking program, which is supposed to achieve an optimized overclock. The program appears optimized for efficiency, though, only pushing our CPU to 4.20 GHz at 1.10 V. It also chose our slower memory’s DDR3-2133 XMP profile.

Though Control Center also has a Green Power page, fan speed was the only thing we were able to set.

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