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MSI Z170A GAMING M7 Motherboard Review

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LGA1151 Motherboard BIOS

MSI has added a “simplified” layer to their evolving ClickBIOS that they call EZ Mode, but while it may be simple, it’s all many users will ever need. A system hardware and settings summary occupies the top portion of the screen, with graphical indications of the status of the Game Boost dial and XMP button.

Down the left side of the screen are selectors for CPU, Memory, Storage, Fan Info, and Help; clicking any one of these replaces the center portion of the screen with detailed information on the item clicked.

msi_clickbios_simple_mainFor example, here’s the Storage sub-section, which lists the devices plugged into each SATA port. One small complaint I have about this section is that the m.2 slots are considered SATA ports, so my boot SSD, which is plugged into an m.2 port, is shown as occupying SATA Port5.

msi_clickbios_simple_storageIn fact, this is even how the Board Explorer graphical section shows it:

msi_clickbios_board_explorer_2No, there really isn’t anything plugged into that SATA port. Honest. Using the m.2 slot may disable that port (it does), but I’d really prefer to see an indication of the actual port I’m using.

Pressing F7 will switch to the ClickBIOS Advanced view, which allows more detailed information and settings.

msi_clickbios_advanced_mainFor example, click the large OC tile at the left of the Advanced screen will display all the settings and controls any overclocker could ever need. One feature of Intel’s Skylake CPUs is that we can now adjust the base clock in 1mHz increments, just like we could back in the day.

msi_clickbios_advanced_ocOf course there are plenty of other advanced settings. This is where you’d do things like disable the CPU’s onboard video, tweak the USB configuration, and so forth.

msi_clickbios_advanced_settings

All of this is presented in a pretty easy-to-use fashion. I’d say MSI is getting close to being as good as ASUS’ UEFI BIOSes. They’re even adopting some features like the “summary of what you changed”:

msi_clickbios_review

In the next section I’ve present an overview of the bundled Windows-level software included with this motherboard.


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2 comments

  1. Kristijan Vragović

    I have a question about motherboard that really bugs me since i would like to use MSI boards in the future. Fan headers that are on my MSI Z87 G65 gaming motherboard offer PWM control only on CPU header while other 3 offer just voltage control. So. what i wanna know is have MSI changed things a little bit and put PWM control on all 5 fan headers or is the situation the same as i described it for my MB. Thanks

    1. Olin Coles

      It’s going to be different for every motherboard model, and then, making things a bit more difficult, some UEFI/BIOS settings will allow you to change a fan header to turn PWM on or off. You might want to look into the settings on your board to see if this isn’t already possible.

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