So why not msi?? Tell me what’s wrong with it?

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10/02/2010 by The Sorcerer


Someone (who knows how to overclock but prefers to stick with stock voltage) asked me this question when he got a quote of 7k for this board, MSI p55-GD55?

I say (usually) when you get gigabyte p55-ud2 for similar price why do you want this/more expensive board? MSI usually makes pretty okay boards (they have their own set of issues) but for this price point you’re getting a better option. He ignored what I said and decided to go for the board. I remember some people from techenclave, talked/recommended this for overclocking (no suprise, it was the same TDF junkies) over the UD2.  I wish the review from xbit labs for this board came out earlier but better late than never.

Their conclusion?

We began to write our review of the MSI P55-GD55 in a positive tone. It made the impression of a rather simple, but not expensive, product with all the functionality you need from a modern mainboard. We were not set aback by its drawbacks but were pleased with extra features. Unfortunately, those drawbacks proved to be quite serious while the extra features, although exciting, were not so necessary after all. This mainboard did not allow us to overclock our CPU normally, which is an unprecedented occurrence in our overclocking practice. MSI’s slogans omit the fact that only senior mainboard models from MSI are equipped with numerous technologies and features (even though you may not need them all the time) whereas junior models, potentially popular, are deprived of them. We prefer Gigabyte’s approach when BIOS updates are issued for the entire series of mainboards, endowing all the models with the same functionality.

MSI P55-GD55 has a lot in common with Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R and this comparison can be furthered. The mainboards have almost the same specs except that the Gigabyte one has two SATA ports more thanks to an additional controller and its CPU voltage regulator is not so simplified. Gigabyte mainboard also has digital audio outputs on the back panel. Of course, Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R lacks such features of MSI P55-GD55 as OC Stepping but it does not really need them, being able to start up at any frequency you set without any tricks. Considering that Gigabyte product is only $10 more expensive, MSI P55-GD55 loses in this comparison because Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R is much better at overclocking CPUs and memory modules.

MSI P55-GD55 would be interesting if it were alone on the market. With lots of more exciting alternatives around, you might as well go for something else.

Wait? Did I check the board out? Yeah I was called in because of the headers and the bios. The headers did not have any markings or any indication which header is for what, let alone coloured indications. Although msi did make an effort to put it up on the manual (not a proper description btw), how hard can it be to imprint it on the board? FYI, they have mention it or usb, sata and IDE. At first I thought it might have been in case in engineering sample (and usually most of the review sites who end up getting engineering samples don’t get getting retail samples and/or don’t update their old reviews if the correction is made) but retail was the same. One has to assume that what xbit labs got was a boxed retail piece.

There were 2 problem- OC genie adding too much VCORE and the 1600MHZ problem. The processor was i5 750 and g skills 4GB 1600mhz cl9 kit.

Gigabyte’s overclocking utility does not turn off EIST AND C1E, same for asus’ overclocking software (not too sure about biostar as far as p55 chipset is concerned), but MSI’s software seem to be turning them off. I remember xbit labs mentioning it somewhere that there was a 0.250V increase, but frankly it was 0.320V and BCLK was bumped to 150mhz more (on overclock clock speed)- that’s it. I overclocked manually by giving a bump but the system did not boot. I cleared CMOS and given it a try again, it didn’t work. Yeah the OC genie was disabled before I tried to OC manually. I flashed the BIOS to see if it improves, it didn’t. I gave up. Tried turbo but there was some stability issues when I ran intel burn test. The OC genie button on the motherboard is just for show. Honestly speaking, its about time that mobo manufacturers put onboard power/reset/automatic OC button on the back at the I/O panel like few boards and not putting on the motherboard, where you end up opening side panels just to press the button.

I decided to overclock manually to 3.0 ghz. I increased the BCLK to 153mhz and kept the multiplier default  20 with VCORE 1.230v. It didn’t boot up. So I tried to boot to boot the system on stock speed but all on manual, same result. I set the rams on 1333mhz cl7 and not cl9 (yeah the rams are 1600mhz, but you need to run your processor to 3.ghz in order to use 1600mhz, just like how someone said in techenclave), same result.

So, I went to intel’s site and found the data sheet (one might choke, but data sheets do give a lot of info needed for overclocking as far as voltage and others are concerned) from here. I used 1.00V manual rather than 1.025V VTT. 2.66ghz all manual booted up, but when I ran intel burn test, the stocks failed. I bumped the VCORE to 1.285V and 1.300VTT, 164 BCLK and x20 multiplier with 1600mhz cl9. 3.2ghz was stable, finally. But at what cost? 3.2ghz is achievable just by switching on turbo without turning off c1e and EIST on stock VTT and VCORE. Why do you need to feed so much power just for a 3.2ghz OC? Action spoke louder than words and the dealer agreed to swap the board with gigabyte p55-ud2.

I remember Harshal telling me once that gigabyte board work well when you OC and keep EIST and C1E enabled at the same time. I didn’t try that (slipped my mind) but Turbo mode mode worked its charm to 3.2ghz (on 100% load, since C1E and EIST was enabled) on ud2 and manual ram timing and lantency setup, so gigabyte boards is a win in most scenario.

So, question back to you? Why buy MSI when you get good enough gigabyte for the similar price range? Experimenting is good but depends what you experiencing with and if you know . There were days when asus buyers ridiculed other buyers who bought from gigabyte, DFI and abit. Result? asus p5n32 sli owners sold and bought ip35-e, and there are more like this scenario which happened over time. Now people prefer gigabyte for a non-oc, oc, gaming, etc. and for good service history. MSI has a lot of stepping up to do. They have specifically advertised oc genie as 1 sec overclock and as “gaming series” boards. The marketing gimmick is not so far away from asus. I just hope gigabyte and other manufacturers don’t succumb to such level, as it becomes easier to fool the masses.

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