Z97I AC Overclocking Software And Firmware
MSI’s software team sometimes appears unprepared for a new product launch, but the Z97I AC is mature enough to receive complete MSI Command Center support. The first menu starts off with basic CPU multiplier and base clock settings that work, along with manual and smart fan controls that also work.
Scrolling through the main menu page, we find a non-adjustable DRAM ratio, a DRAM voltage scale from 1.35V to 1.8V, a functional RAMDisk utility and MSI’s OC-Genie automatic overclocking program. The program chose 4.4GHz at 1.2V, which is the same frequency we’d expect to get from the “Enhanced Turbo” setting now offered in the firmware of most motherboards.
The main menu’s “Advanced” button brings up a functional voltage menu, temperature-based and fixed-mode fan control and a DRAM timings menu that, as we've seen before from Command Center, doesn’t work.
Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility sometimes works better than MSI Command Center, offers other settings or is more familiar to certain users. MSI brands the version it distributes.
Thanks to that little heat sink on its voltage regulator, the MSI Z97I AC supports our power-hungry Core i7-4790K with Hyper-Threading enabled and all cores fully loaded at voltage levels up to 1.23V without throttling back to protect the board’s transistors. That voltage only gets the CPU to 4.4GHz, but it still beats ASRock’s 4.3GHz at 1.15V. Furthermore, the board also supports our DDR3-2800 kit at the next-higher memory multiplier, DDR3-2933.
If we really wanted to push for a memory overclocking record, we could probably have spent days altering timings to chase even more stability. The Z97I AC offers a full range of primary and secondary timings, a broad range of tertiary timing adjustments and various fine adjustments for how the memory controller treats those bits.