MSI Z170A KRAIT GAMING Motherboard Review


[section_title title=Overclocking]


When it came down to overclocking on the KRAIT, the motherboard had an interesting issue which I will delve into, but firstly, it was just as easy as any other motherboard. When an overclock failed, the motherboard would simply restart itself with the default settings and then ask you to either enter the BIOS once more to try a different combination or, alternatively, it would ask you to boot with default settings and to carry on to the operating system from there. I know what my chip requires, so I only forced it to fail an overclock to see what it would do. Luckily, it was a simple case of going back into the BIOS and correcting the settings. It can be a real pain when the motherboard doesn’t automatically recover and you need to remove the battery, but the KRAIT did a perfect recovery job.

The MSI BIOS has not changed very much, if at all, since the Z77 days. I like the layout, even if it is a little different to what I am used to, but it does the job. Finding settings is a simple task as they are under their respective menus, where you would expect things to be. Loading XMP was no issue, and neither was the application of an overclock, so long as you’ve got your voltages correct.


The issue which presented itself was that while I was testing the overclock with XTU, which is my chosen benchmark to show performance increases from the CPU and memory being overclocked, is that the score didn’t increase nearly enough. The reasons became abundantly clear once you monitor the clock speeds during the benchmark. For some reason that is not crystal clear to me, the clock speed drops from 4.8 GHz to 4.2 GHz, then down to 4.0 GHz and then down to 3.8 GHz as the benchmark progresses. Once it hits the 3.8 GHz marker, it fluctuates between 3.8 and 4.0 GHz. The score reflects this as it is barely above stock when the end result flashes up on the screen. Both MSI and I were a little perplexed why this happened, as the other tests we carried out left the CPU at 4.8 GHz.

Anyway, onwards and upwards we go! The maximum overclock which we managed to reach was again the typical 4.8 GHz that we attained out of our other motherboards. There is no Load Line Calibration (LLC) option available, but you can come up with your own LLC by adding a little more voltage to counteract the droop caused by the loading of the circuitry and the CPU itself. In order to maintain stability throughout testing, I had to set the CPU voltage to 1.425 volts instead of 1.4 volts (which boosts to 1.425 via LLC on other motherboards) which makes perfect sense as the vDroop was then compensated for via a manual method.


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