MSI 845 Ultra-AR - Page 2

..:: Package ::..

The 845 Ultra comes along with a decent software bundle, much like what we are used to seeing from MSI. It brings with it a full version of PC-cillin 2000, a near common inclusion nowadays with certain mainboard manufacturers. The other included software programs are MSIís own Fuzzy Logic III, a program that can be used to overclock your processor while in Windows, PC Alert III, a system monitoring program, and the Live! Update program. The latter allows you to flash your BIOS through Windows, something I have never had confidence in, and more than likely ever will. It will also check your system drivers and inform you of any possible updates, etc.

The package also comes along with a user guide for the 845 Ultra Series of motherboards, a quick user guide for the Promise ATA/133 RAID Controller, the driver diskette for the Promise Controller, two ATA/100 Cables, one Floppy Cable, the Driver / Software CD, and lastly, MSIís D-Bracket. This is a feature that has been recently absent from many of MSIís motherboard packages but due to popular demand seems to be re-emerging.

..:: Special Features ::..

The 845 Ultra-AR comes along with a few nice features, those being some of the software mentioned above. These programs are Fuzzy Logic III, PC Alert III, GoodMem, and MSIís D-Bracket. First off, letís take a look at the different software programs, along with the driver disc and see what else the 845 Ultra has to offer.

Fuzzy Logic III is MSIís own overclocking program. The program is run in Windows and the user can adjust the FSB via the GUI. There are three main options to pay attention to, Auto, Manual, and Turbo. If you select Auto, the program will slowly raise the FSB in 1MHz increments, test the speed, and then if the system is stable it will move on. If it becomes unstable, the system will freeze and the program will remember to down clock the CPU speed when the system restarts. Manual allows the user to adjust the FSB to whatever speed they may wish, and then tests that given speed for stability. The Turbo setting will configure youíre system for the best performance.

PC Alert III is the system monitoring software provided to you by MSI. This software does a very adequate job with handling temperature readings, voltage readings, and fan RPM readings. The program will take a reading of all voltages, temperatures, etc. every three seconds and report them. As time progresses the different windows will form graphs showing you the rise and fall in RPMís for example. This is great as you can visually see any drastic increases or decreases in any of the monitored areas.

GoodMem is simply MSIís memory monitoring program. GoodMem runs in the taskbar and refreshes the systems memory every few seconds. You can also choose to manually select how much RAM you would like the system to attempt to free, and then execute the program yourself.

Next up, we have one of the features MSI is very well known for, the D-Bracket. This bracket takes up only a single expansion slot and provides an extra two USB ports that plug into the motherboardís onboard connector. Also on the D-Bracket are four diagnostic LEDís. These can really come in handy if youíre experiencing problems during POST or the boot process. The LEDís either show up as red or green to represent the different events during the POST. If you experience a problem, simply look at which LEDís are which color and match it up with the problem in the user manual.

The last thing weíll take a look at is the driver disc provided by MSI. If we take a look around weíll come across the programs mentioned above, along with a few others. These other programs are PC-cillin 2000, Intel Application Accelerator, E-Color 3Deep, X-Setup, and a Remote Control Utility. The driver disc also provides links to MSIís website, along with links to download various drivers from Intel, NVIDIA, and ZDNet among others.