Motherboard Reviews

MSI Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon Motherboard Review

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Bundled Software

The MSI Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon bundled software come in a single disc with the drivers and even has a nifty auto-install feature. Users can toggle between installing the drivers automatically or both drivers and software. Individual tick boxes allow users to customize the install and the setup screen also shows whether a current or older version has already been installed on the system. The Google tab is for installing the Google Chrome web browser while the Security tab installs a trial version of Norton Security Essentials. Alternatively, all drivers and software can be downloaded from MSI’s website.

MSI Command center is the hub for all motherboard tweaking functions for the desktop. While it shares some capabilities with other applications included in the bundle (such as monitoring and overclocking), it is the most feature-packed. Like the UEFI, the Command Center for the B150A Gaming PRO follows the black and red color scheme of the gaming series. The top right hand corner displays the operating system, BIOS version, CPU installed and motherboard model while also displaying the CPU temperature live in both Celcius and Fahrenheit. Five main functions are separated into tabs which slide in the middle section.

 

The RAMDisk app allows users to use their memory as storage. This function is usually available as a retail software (such as the one AMD is selling), but MSI provides it for free when you install MSI Command Center. Users can set the size and format type and even automatically set it as browser cache for IE, Chrome or Firefox or even for Windows temporary files. Since RAM storage resets during a system reset or shutdown, the MSI RAMDisk lets users to backup the image to a physical drive and also provides an option to automatically restore the RAMDisk contents on boot.

ramdisk

 

The MSI CPU-Z program is essentially a custom re-skin of the popular CPUID program.

msicpuz

 

The MSI Gaming App is a single click application that automatically loads presets for different types of usage, adjusting settings and fan speed depending on the usage. It also serves as a launching pad for other gaming features such as Mouse master, Gaming hotkey, OSD, and Eye Rest. Mouse master measures mouse responsiveness and is a good benchmark utility to use to customize settings before playing. Gaming hotkey enables advanced binding capabilities on any keyboard connected, essentially turning it into a feature-packed easy access input device. Eye rest adjusts the display’s color settings with a single click depending on the preset. OSD is for displaying system information while inside a game. The MSI Gaming App is also where the built-in LEDs for the MSI Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon are controlled, allowing users full RGB color adjustment as well as lighting behavior. The Mystic lighting is the RGB LED lights along the edge of the motherboard, the Gaming Light is the LED lights along the lower left of the motherboard.

There are multiple lighting options available for the LED lights along the right edge of the motherboard.

 

MSI M-Cloud enables the users to create home based cloud storage.
mcloud

 

MSI partnered with Nahimic for audio enhancements. Basically this software removes the EQ controls from the RealTek software and provides a simpler interface for users that want to tweak their audio settings.

 

MSI’s Gaming Lan Manager enables the user to perform QOS (quality of service) to shape network traffic. Users can give a higher or lower priority to specific applications and the network traffic. For example, a user may set BitTorrent traffic as a lower priority than streaming media. This will tell the software to give more bandwidth to the streaming media than the BitTorrent traffic. Typically we see this with Killer networking solutions.

 

As the name suggests, the Live Update 6 tool lets users keep their MSI Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon up to date in terms of drivers, BIOS and software. Scheduled reminders can also be set periodically.
MSILU

 

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Tom Brokaw

Tom is a network and computer hardware enthusiast. He has been reviewing hardware products around for various sites around the net since 1999. He has modded a few cases back in the day.
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