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

Z97 Gaming 5 Software

Our multiplier-locked Core i7-4790 doesn’t give MSI’s Command Center much to work with, but the possible settings are still visible.

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The “Advanced” button at the Control Center’s bottom brings up additional voltage controls, redundant fan settings, and a DRAM timings menu that doesn’t usually work.

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The board also includes a utility for recording system status charts. It didn’t work this time, but it did work on MSI’s previously-reviewed products, so we’re somewhat certain that this will be updated soon.

The “Setting” button surprised us with a home server/hotspot application for your own Wi-Fi card.

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The “Information” button did just what it said, offering four system status menus for the motherboard, CPU, and memory.

A mini panel displays frequency and temperatures, when it's enabled.

MSI Gaming App provides several overclocking modes through firmware, which require a reboot. Our benchmark CPU is multiplier-locked, so it went straight for our memory’s XMP mode.

MSI Live Update 6 provides automatic update checking for MSI applications, drivers, and firmware.

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