The X58 Eclipse SLI motherboard uses Award BIOS Version 1.40. This is the latest non-beta version available through MSI’s website. (Note: The features in this BIOS are almost identical to those available with the MSI X58 Platinum motherboard.)
This is the main menu screen you get when you boot into the BIOS. There are three special sections on the Cell Menu (for overclockers), Green Power, and M-Flash that should be interesting to users.
Pressing F4 pops up a CPU specs screen to give uses a quick snapshot of the CPU configuration.
Pressing F5 gives users a detailed view of the RAM DIMM location and timings.
The items in the Standard CMOS Features menu include some basic setup items for SATA, IDE, and eSATA.
The System Information tab shows a quick overview of the CPU configuration as well as the BIOS version installed on the motherboard.
The Advanced BIOS Features menu allows users to configure BIOS flash protection full screen logo display, boot up num-lock LED, IOAPIC function, MPS table version, primary graphics adapter, and the PCI latency timer. It also leads to sub-menus on CPU features, chipset features, boot sequence, and trusted computing.
The Integrated Peripherals menu configures USB, LAN, Firewire, RAID, and HD audio settings.
Power Management menu. There’s nothing too special to point out here.
The Standard Hardware Monitor menu includes a chassis intrusion setting as well as the normal PC health status information.
The Green Power menu gives users a host of options for making the CPU, chipset, and RAM more energy efficient. It also displays some new information about how many amps your CPU uses as well as the power supply’s efficiency rating.
The Cell menu is where all the overclocking magic happens. Modifications to the CPU multiplier, base clock, QPI link, Intel Turbo Boost, and RAM all occur in this section. Users can also modify the voltage settings in this menu to help with overclocking.
QPI links and frequency can be accessed through the QPI Configuration sub-menu. QPI frequencies can only be set to auto or 4.8 GT/s. This is a bit misleading because much of the documentation I read about this motherboard says it can handle 6.4 GT/s. Maybe this setting is only available on the i7-965 processor.
The Memory-Z menu gives users access to each individual DIMM’s configuration.
Here’ is one of the DIMM’s information that’s available under DIMM Memory SPD Information. There are no settings to change here; it’s mainly for informational purposes only.
The Advance DRAM configuration menu is where all the memory timings can be configured manually.
The ClockGen Tuner menu controls CPU amplitude, PCI-E amplitude, CPU CLK skew, and IOH CLK skew.
PCI frequencies can be set to Auto, 37.3, or 42 in the Cell menu.
The bottom of the Cell Menu gives users access to a variety of voltages for various devices. The main ones we use for overclocking is the CPU Voltage, QPI Voltage, and DRAM Voltage.
The User Settings menu allows users to save four different “profiles” for different computer configurations. This is helpful for overclockers and those who want different settings for different scenarios.
The M-Flash memory will update or load a new BIOS from a USB drive. The M-Flash function allows users to flash the BIOS from a USB drive or other storage devices or allows the system to boot from the BIOS file inside the USB drive.
I felt a little déjà vu when reviewing this BIOS because of all the similarities it has with the Award BIOS Version 1.10 on with the MSI X58 Platinum. While there are a host of tweakable items available, I was left wondering why a consumer would want to spend almost $100 more on a board that has the same overclocking features than the less expensive X58 Premium. I know the MSI Eclipse comes bundled with more accessories, but I would have wanted more BIOS features instead for this amount of cash.