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The MSI X58 Platinum uses the familiar AMI BIOS. For the most part, the BIOS is similar to many other boards we've worked with, even when they are from different manufacturers. The menu is very intuitive, with each option opening a new page with further options for modification. Most of the items are straight forward, but there are a few areas of note.
The Advanced BIOS features page is the first place you would go to to configure the boot order and some of the basic chipset features. You can enable or disable the boot logo as well as choosing a quick boot or something more verbose. You have the ability to turn on and off Hyper Threading as well as enabling or disabling Trusted Computing (TCG). Despite the advanced name in the title, I never felt this was a page to get really excited about.
Under Integrated Peripherals, all of your adjustments to the on-board items can be made here. By adjustments, I mean you're pretty much limited to turning things on and off, but this page is important as you do not need to enable features you will never use. Given the power of today's computers, this page won't make a huge impact on system performance, but to a lot of us, any little tweak helps. Drive Booster is the sub-menu for setting up the JMicronJMB322 (SATA 7 and 8) for RAID 0/1 or JBOD. On Chip ATA is whereyou can setup RAID for the ICH10R.
Power Management and H/W Monitor pages are often neglected, but can be very important in that you can keep close tabs on how your system is doing with temperatures, fan operation and how you want it to react to power outages, AC failures (yes it happenedto me once) and button pushes. While I don't reference either page on a daily basis, rest assured it is the one that I reference immediately after installing / replacing or OC'ing a CPU or replacing a Power Supply, to check status and pertinent info prior to booting all the way up.
Green Power is a fairly new addition, be it the times we live in or the ability of the i7 CPU / X58 chipset to draw only the power required. When everything is set to “Auto” AL Gorewill be happy, well, ok, maybe not but at least thats where you are supposed to be able to save the most amount of power. The system will perform and deliver power only as needed. You can also enable and disable the Power Phase LED's which are a visual indicator of the amount of power (relative) the system is using. Granted, you need to have a case with a large windowed panel in order to see all of the associated Power Phase LED's :).
The Cell Menu page is where the fun really begins. It is here where the majority of tweaks and tricks are done to improve performance. On the first few Pics you can see the defaults, outside of my Memory VDram tweak that allows older DDR3 memory to work on this board.
CPU Base Clock can be set from the default 133MHz (yes, it can be lower if you wish) all the way up to 400MHz (fairly aggressive I must say). The grayed out “Adjusted Core Frequency”changes as you set the Base Clock, giving you a quick idea of your OC. CPU ratio can be tweaked down from the i7's default (maximum) step. The 920 defaults to 20x, some people obtain higher performance by decreasing the ratio and increasing the Base Clock, giving a higher memory bandwidth and improving overall performance of the system even though the actual OC is less.
is an automated ability of the CPU, under certain workloads and configurations, to increase performance. This is done by increasing CPU frequency, there are limiting factors, wattage used and current temperature of the core it looks to OC.
*interesting note here in that the manual discusses a“D.O.T. Control” section ( Dynamic Overclocking Technology) that was not present in the version of BIOS my MSI x58 Platinum was using.
QPI, or QuickPath Interconnect, is one of the key differentiators from the C2D to the i7 (there are of course several others, but this stands out). The QPI replaces the FSB (ala AMD'sHyper Transport), notice above the Base Clock refers to the CPU and the CPU only. The interface between the CPU and memory is now handled directly by the CPU. Suffice it to say, this section can get very confusing, therefore, if you are drawing a blank, no worries, we are here to help... In its simplest form, QPI is a full duplex interconnect between memory and CPU. While it is Dependant on the CPU and memory (Single, Dual or Triple Channel) that you use, the maximum performance of Intel's QPI is 12.8 GT/s (Giga Transfers /Second) in each direction. While the current high end FSB on an Intel chipset is 1600MHz (400MHz quad) and transfers at a maximum of 12.8 GT/s, it is NOT bi-directional nor is it dedicated to I/Ocommunication.
I know, I know, a long paragraph to explain a setting inside the BIOS that we truly cannot manipulate all that much today. With the control being inside the CPU, the only thing we can do is to slow down the performance. I can only suspect that this is done in the scenario where you have memory that just isn't up to the task.
Memory-Z gives us memory information, nothing to tweak in here, lets move along... Advanced DRAM configuration allows to tweak our memory. Nothing has changed here, with maybe the exception that, for now, the numbers are higher due to DDR3 still being in its infancy. Trust me that you don't want to change the “Advanced Memory Setting” to Manual, at least, not without a 4 hour collegiate level class on it.
Memory Ratio allows you to set the memory multiplier. ClockGen Tuner is also a new section, we can now control the CPU and PCI Express Amplitudes as well as the clock skew in ps (yes, thats picoseconds).
The CPU, QPI and DRAM voltages are pretty selfexplanatory. In this BIOS it actually turns red when it feels youare attempting an unsafe value.