MSI P45D3 Platinum (Intel P45)

The DrMOS Edge

The DrMOS Edge

Just like how ASUS and Gigabyte each have their own list of proprietary technologies and features to enhance their motherboards, MSI has recently added a new item to its own list. Known as DrMOS, it is as we have mentioned, an integrated chip containing a Driver IC and the necessary high/low MOSFETs for power regulation. MSI claims that putting them together would lead to lower temperatures, a more responsive active phase power design and greater power efficiency compared to the implementation now, where these components are separate. We'll see if it has any effect in our temperature and power tests later.

That is the hardware aspect of DrMOS. However, it's not just that, as MSI has grouped various other features under this umbrella term. First, there is Green Power, which has a BIOS component to be enabled and also a utility that is buried within MSI's Dual Core Center. This Green Power Center utility will pop up on pressing a button within the Dual Core Center and was something that took us quite a while to find. MSI also states that this feature works from the BIOS without requiring users to install the software - something which its competitors can't do yet. This is probably the best iteration of the power savings feature in motherboards as far as usability goes since you can just enable it at the BIOS level and you've got the necessary controls in action. The utility however, gives the user finer control options and profiles should he/she wishes to tweak it.

MSI says that all you need to utilize its power savings technology is to enable the options here through the BIOS. Obviously, related technologies like Intel's EIST should be enabled too.

This is how MSI's Green Power Center looks when you first click on it. It's both a status monitoring and tweaking interface for users in the Windows environment.

There are a couple of set profiles to choose from. This is the Max Power Savings option and on enabling it, we saw the Vcore for the CPU drop immediately.

Using this utility, users will be able to monitor the important temperature, power, memory and voltage settings involving your CPU and motherboard. You can even tweak these settings manually and they will be reflected in real-time. Convenient for some enthusiasts no doubt, though we think that most users will still prefer to do that in the BIOS. Obviously, if you have no idea what each setting do, it's probably wiser not to adjust the settings randomly. To address this, MSI has two profiles, Optimize and Max Saving. From what we saw, the Optimize will not produce as much energy savings as Max Saving, since the Vcore is higher on Optimize. It's quite likely a compromise between performance and power savings.

Next, there is what MSI calls XpressCool, which appears to refer to the Circu-Pipe 2 cooler on the board, the cool performing DrMOS chip, along with the use of solid capacitors. Using these components will lead to a silent and cool performing motherboard, hence the XpressCool badge. In our opinion, it's just another marketing term, though we do believe that these components do play an important role.

Finally, RapidBoost refers to MSI's host of features to enhance the overclocking experience and performance on the P45D3 Platinum. Again as you may noticed, it's an umbrella marketing term for the actual software involved. First, there's Memory-Z:-

Taking its name from the ubiquitous CPU-Z, the MSI P45D3 Platinum has its own Memory-Z utility to display information about the RAM installed in its DIMM slots. However, it doesn't seem perfect at the moment, as it mistook our DDR3-1333 RAM for 1066.

When it works properly, this utility is useful for those who want to know more about their memory modules, especially their current clock settings (overclocked or not). Of course, one can go into MSI's Cell Menu to check the settings manually but to get all the information at a glance has its moments, we think.

Then, there is MSI's Multi-Step OC Booster, which may make overclocking easier for some users. Instead of having your board fail repeatedly to boot into BIOS, setting this feature (which has 2 different modes) may allow the board to only enable the overclocked settings after booting into the OS (this is known as Mode 1). When it's disabled, the board will work like usual, with your overclocked settings applied when the BIOS runs at startup. Finally, Mode 2 will apply some extent of overclocking (believed to be 80% of the desired settings) when booting up and only after the board enters the OS phase is the full extent of the overclocking applied. We feel that this should help users in their overclocking, as they can at least boot into BIOS to tweak if the overclock fails when starting up Windows.

If you're having problems getting your overclocked FSB to run stable, you may wish to enable this Multi-step OC Booster option in the BIOS. What it does is to allow some control over when your overclocked settings kick in, e.g. take effect only when you enter the OS instead of right at boot up.

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