Revamped MSI UEFI looks promising

IDF — MSI's first UEFI effort was a bit of a disaster. The user interface was sluggish and unresponsive, the mouse support was plagued by flickering and imprecise tracking, and the graphics weren't all that visually appealing. Fortunately, MSI has a revamped UEFI interface dubbed ClickBIOS II. The new firmware actually debuted last month on the Z68A-GD80, but I got my first taste of it earlier today on the IDF show floor.

MSI is keenly aware of the issues with its first UEFI effort, and ClickBIOS II addresses many of those problems. The new interface feels smooth and responsive, at least in part because mouse tracking has been sorted out and wheel support has been added. I did notice a couple of instances of flicker while flipping through the menus, but it wasn't an annoyance—or a seizure risk.

The GUI has been completely overhauled, and it looks much better than what we saw with the first wave of 6-series Sandy Bridge boards. MSI is still refining a few elements, through. The company says it's going to add the ability to key in variables like clock speeds and voltages directly rather than forcing users to make selections from lists of options or hammer the + and - keys to make incremental adjustments to their current settings. Improvements to what remains a relatively basic fan-control scheme are being explored, as well, and we could see memory and stability testing utilities added to the UEFI.

In addition to showing off its UEFI, MSI demoed a nifty voice-control module that it's been working on for a couple of years. The module plugs into a specialized onboard header that has been present on several generations of MSI motherboards, allowing for voice control independent of the operating system. Noisy trade shows aren't the best venues to demo this kind of technology, but being able to tell your PC to turn itself on is an interesting prospect. MSI hasn't decided whether the device will be sold separately or bundled with select motherboards.

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