There’s a review of a new MSI system on Gamers Nexus by Steve Brooke. I enjoyed his comments on the usability issues with UEFI diagnostics the OEM/IBV provided, including last comment from gamer perspective on lack of need of TPM. 😦 I have yet to find a hardware reviewer that includes information from CHIPSEC, showing if the machine is shipped with known firmware vulnerabilities. 😦
“The UEFI board explorer is probably one of MSI’s best features. It’s nothing particularly exciting to experienced builders, but makes for excellent usability and education for newcomers to PC building. Board explorer detects mice, some keyboards, video cards, and other devices, and accurately reports which port they’re plugged into on the board. This makes it easy to see which slots are utilized and what devices are using them.
The Hardware Monitor is probably where we spend most of our time in testing. Hardware Monitor offers basic reporting on the PC’s status and specs, with fan speed, boot, and low-level configuration and controls. The graphical display of fan curves in MSI’s B150A UEFI provides a click-and-drag interface for adjusting fan speed vs. temperatures with smooth input. This somewhat resembles host-level software curve creation, but at a lower-level. We’d really like to see this functionality expand to liquid cooler pump motors so that we can read-out RPMs of CLCs. We’d also like to see breadcrumbs added to UEFI to offer a path->to->current navigation. Regarding temperature accuracy, using our thermal measurement equipment, all thermals appear accurately represented within BIOS.
One thing that’s a little useless: The voltage level graph, which reports vCore and other voltages, has no scale – so it’s just sort of randomly illustrated bars representing an ambiguous, undefined voltage level. Might as well get rid of the graph and just read-out numbers, in that case.
Overclocking profiles are pretty straight-forward for what you’d get on a B-series motherboard. Users can save and load via ROM and USB, which is great for backups and testing, but that doesn’t make it any more in-depth – OCing is still locked. It’s not a Z-series board, so the best we can get is forcing Turbo. Overclocking profiles are “normal” and “expert,” and can perform some modest RAM timing and overclocking control alongside the forced Turbo. Voltage adjustment is present in the event that the forced Turbo needs more power to stabilize, though that’s unlikely.
We saw that Thunderbolt is in the UEFI menu, but without any Thunderbolt ports on the motherboard. Asking MSI about this, we learned that the menu support exists for Thunderbolt add-in cards.
TPM and basic security features exist for business users, though why they’d buy a “gaming” board is questionable.”