MSI has made a wise move for its software portfolio by introducing the MSI “App Manager”. It is a sensible idea to have a single application that pulls together MSI’s wide range of optional motherboard utilities. Gigabyte has long done something similar with its “APP Center” software and now that MSI has joined in on the action we’d be surprised if ASRock and ASUS didn’t follow suit.
MSI App Manager will detect all installed MSI applications and display them in a tiled dashboard-style interface. All the icons are displayed by default but are “greyed out” and are “coloured in” as each utility is installed. Applications must be double clicked to launch and you can install or uninstall by right clicking on each icon.
Command Center is the Windows performance tuning software for the MSI Z370 PC Pro with on-the-fly overclocking tools for the CPU, DRAM and iGPU, as well as fan controls. The virtual Game Boost button can also be toggled from within here but we find for the effort required users are better off doing some quick research to overclock their CPU since MSI has to overestimate the voltage to account for variations across all CPUs which usually results in considerably more voltage than is necessary being applied.
Under the Advanced sensor settings there is a nice visualisation provided of temperatures across the motherboard, there’s also more detailed recording and monitoring functionality available including system alerts under the Setting and Information sections.
DPC Latency Tuner feels redundant since the majority, if not all, of the functionality is already embedded within Command Center. Any options or functionality that are unique to DPC Latency tuner should be embedded within the Command Center App to cut down on clutter. This is one of the utilities that you may want to omit.
Live Update 6 will keep itself, other MSI software and core motherboard drivers up to date on your behalf. It can be programmed to check for updates on schedule or only when asked by the user. It’s a fairly powerful tool for those who don’t have the time to manually check for updates themselves. MSI might benefit from baking the functionality of Live Update 6 into its App Manager to further reduce unnecessary software clutter.
MSI Mystic Light is the main LED controlling functionality for this motherboard. The user is able to access a wealth of additional lighting modes and colours by expanding out to the secondary window by selecting the “Setting” option under the Device Setting on the launch page. This motherboard has just a single RGB zone for configuration but an optional 12v GRB RGB strip can be added through the provided header. There is a long list of different lighting modes for controllable zones including ‘Off’, ‘Breathing’, ‘Flashing’ and so on.
We had previously referred to “buggy behaviour” in MSI’s Mystic Light software that makes it difficult to access the secondary motherboard device setting page. After further analysis we discovered the culprit to be the following:
The Mystic Light application will only open the motherboard device setting page when the “MB” icon under “Sync Devices” is white. This means even if you have MB selected in the “Device Setting” box and click the “Setting” button it will not work without that white MB Icon under Sync Devices.
The unintuitive user interface aside, the core functionality and controls are all there for MSI’s software to effectively control the onboard LEDs.
X-Boost seems to be a new MSI utility which functions similarly to something like the ASUS EPU/TPU power & performance profiles. MSI offers five different profile presets (Game, Office, Home Theater, File Transfer, Video Editing) which adjust the priority given to one of five key areas (CPU Performance, Graphics Performance, Storage Performance, Audio or Power Consumption).
RAMDisk is probably more useful on X299 where up to 128GB of RAM is supportable making RAM Disks of genuinely useful capacities possible. However, we tested this with a 4GB RAM Disk in a previous review and achieved read and write speeds in the realm of 14GB/s, for reference the fastest M.2 NVMe drives will do around 3.5GB/s (for now, at least).
MSI’s Network Manager, called Gaming LAN Manager on Gaming series products, is a repackaged cFos product that lets you enable packet prioritisation rules for software on the host system. It has a number of baked-in profiles for different usage scenarios including streaming, gaming and file sharing.
MSI Smart Tool is used to create a Windows 7 installation on a USB flash drive or configure a software RAID that doesn’t include the system disk.
MSI Fast Boot toggles a number of UEFI settings that speed up the POST of the motherboard during booting.
Super Charger has no visible interface to display since it just speeds up USB charging for Apple devices.