MSI Z170A GAMING M5 (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

BIOS and Overclocking


MSI’s Click BIOS 5 is beautifully presented to help novices navigate between tabs without any hassle and displays key system statistics on the front page. The BIOS is divided into two modes, a basic skin to alter common settings including XMP and an advanced mode designed for extreme overclocking.

You can use the Hardware Monitor to analyse fan speed values, temperatures, and system voltages. The graph provides a fantastic visual indication of the current fan curve, and outlines the RPM percentage at different thermal thresholds.

Even with the basic mode, it’s possible to monitor fan RPM values, create a custom curve and allow the BIOS to optimize your cooling apparatus.

Here we can see the advanced interface which separates various options into thematic categories. As a result, finding a specific setting only takes a matter of seconds and you adjust to the BIOS layout within a short period.

Navigating to the Settings area displays everything you need to access to customize system parameters.

The System Status page outlines the BIOS version, connected SATA devices, RAM capacity and other essential information.

Here we can see the Advanced section which allows you to alter power management options, ACPI settings and more. Unless you’re an experienced tweaker, I wouldn’t change any of the default values.

It’s also possible to tweak the boot order and choose between LEGACY, UEFI, or a combination of both.

The Overclocking menu is really simple and lists key settings in an easy-to-understand manner. To perform a basic overclock, simply insert the CPU Ratio, and adjust the Core Voltage. You can also set the XMP profile and manually enter the DRAM frequency.

Users with a high level of technical expertise might want to disable certain CPU features. However, I doubt this applies to many purchasers as the default setup is perfect for mainstream overclocking.

The BIOS’s SPD section is incredibly detailed and provides a huge array of information about your memory kit.

The BIOS also has six overclocking profiles to store your custom settings, and it’s remarkably easy to switch between each configuration.

One of the my favourite inclusions is the Board Explorer which informs the user when certain slots are populated and even provides a description of its running speed.

The M-Flash software is used to update the BIOS from a USB stick. This is relatively straight-forward and only takes a matter of seconds. Once the BIOS update is complete, your system will reboot back into the newly refreshed BIOS.

Overclocking 

Overclocking on this particular motherboard was ridiculously easy due to the simple BIOS layout. As a result, I managed to insert a 48 Core Ratio and maximize the lowest possible voltage without any issues. Interestingly, our bench CPU required 1.504V during the last few reviews. However, the CPU remained completely stable with 1.475V which surprised me somewhat. Whether this is down to the motherboard or evolution of the CPU is unknown. Whatever the case, this is a fantastic result and worthy of praise.