Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: An unbiased and unsponsored MSI Z490I Meg Unify Motherboard Review

  1. #1
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062

    An unbiased and unsponsored MSI Z490I Meg Unify Motherboard Review

    Lets start off with introductions. I'm a retired Professional Overclocker who had/still has a No thrills No bull approach to any hardware I work on. Reviews for overclockers by an overclocker.

    Some may remember me some may not. Some may like or dislike my tough love approach but to bad, you don't have to read it.

    Onto the board in question. Z490i Meg Unify. Retail board purchased at a microcenter like any other end user can. No pictures from me as the enclosure/build it's in is currently NDA so I will use pictures off MSI's site.

    I've taken the liberty to point out the only items that 90% of users will need concern themselves with. As you can see the power/reset etc is located in a rather less than optimal location Other than that no complaints. If you were bench testing on a bench station with this board your definitely going to want to carnage power/reset buttons from a case lest your screwdriver slips and you ground out on your VGA. No RGB thank god......still has headers though.



    When I saw a teardown of this board and seen a small fan blows at a heatpipe I was like well that looks useless. I was right. They should have put more USB ports on the back panel and beefed up heatsink enough to passively cool better.



    If you want detailed vrm analysis and specs I suggest watching buildzoids video but the summary is the vrm is fine both on paper and in real world.

    The heatsinks and heatpipe/vrm fan implementation is not so great however and even a low 800-1200 rpm fan blowing in the general direction of it is more than effective to keep things cool enough that the mosfet fan never even turns on.

    This also applies to the southbridge heatsink/SSD heatsink as that can get quite toasty with little to no airflow. Just make sure your case has some airflow and if not add a fan so it does.

    Passive


    Fan


    Voltages and extreme overclocking features or the lack there of.

    No Ln2 jumper on board that I can identify.
    No vtt voltage adjustments.
    Limited vcore (1.7v range IIRC)

    This is where you ask yourself questions like what is MSI is trying to do with this board? They have a 10 layer PCB, surface mount dimm slots, optimized trace layout and no vtt voltage control or monitoring for that matter.

    I can get the limited voltage no ln2 mode jumper as a 10900k on ln2 could potentially push this vrm and 8 pin a tad to far but I don't get the reasoning behind going all out on the memory layout and excluding vtt voltage/monitors.

    Default LLC on board is a tad overkill. 1.175vcore manually set will net you roughly 1.2v peak under prime 95 load. I suggest adjusting llc so you have a little vdroop which will lower power consumption and temps. This is probably why some youtubers were failing to match overclocks on this board compared to others. I had no problem hitting 5.1 on a 10600k.



    Test config.
    10600k
    Custom Asetek AIO ( cpu is cooling limited not board limited )
    2x16gb gskill Neo 3600 c16 Bdie
    MSI Meg Unify I z490
    Corsair SFX 750
    Reference 2080TI
    Samsung 970 Evo + 2tb

    Stability wise no complaints even cpu cooling limited it should be easy to dial in a memory OC with cpu Oc to 4.8 with a -1 avx offset.

    I don't put much stock in XTU as the end all stability test but since another vendors ITX board I tested refused to pass avx 512 for 5 minutes with anything resembling memory tuning I ran it anyway.



    I don't put much stock in Aida for a stability test but some people I deal with do so I ran that to.



    I do trust prime and since so many are "afraid" to run it I trust it even more



    HCI is another one I trust IF and this is a big IF you overkill the task scope.



    Apparently the new craze is TM5 with anta777 extreme so I ran that off while I was writing this with slightly some modified tighter timings as I'm still fine tuning.



    This is my personal favorite stability test which I call thrash the system. I usually let it cook for a 12 hour minimum.



    3d results on the board are good. Nothing out of the ordinary and everything is inline with what I would expect. I did not bother with results.

    Lets go back to the topic of memory as that is where we find some things that are not quite inline with what I would expect.

    One of the things I noticed is the RTL IO-L and the rtls in general just don't pull in quite like I would expect them to. In fact if you go to tight the board posts fine and sets them extremely loose.

    The side effect at least from what I have experienced is latency performance is poor as a result.

    Here's an example keep in mind this is 2x16gb so the memory clock speeds are on par with what I expected.

    The board can run c14 2000 as well although I did not test as to what kind of volts that would require nor if it was even possible to get stable.

    Going beyond 2000 seems to pose a problem with at least this particular config. I'll call c14 2000 2x16gb "bench stable"

    2000 c16 2x16gb bdie should be a realistic goal with 1.45v dimm. What it can't seem to do is produce latency results that one would expect at these timings and speeds.



    Conclusion.

    I don't draw conclusions. I present data. You draw your own conclusion.

    I draw an educated opinion and having worked with the board my opinion is the board has Identity crisis. It does not know if it wants to be a 2 dimm memory overclocking performance champ or not. I'm sure that the latency issue will get worked out via a bios update but i'm not 100% sure that they can give us full vtt control and monitors at which point anyone looking for a relatively affordable memory overclocking board is going to have to whip out a soldering iron void warranty and volt mod this board to get the required volts needed to play the xtreme memory overclock game.

    I mentioned 2000 was a realistic goal so I verified it. It's baseline and can be tweaked from here. I included timings. Voltages required are included in hwinfo and accurate however I suggest tuning your vccio/vccsa to your chip not mine.



    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by chew*; 09-05-2020 at 01:15 AM.
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  2. #2
    3D Team Captain Don_Dan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Munich, Germany
    Posts
    4,153
    Good to see you posting again!

    Quote Originally Posted by chew* View Post
    You can never have enough D9's.

  3. #3
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    Quote Originally Posted by Don_Dan View Post
    Good to see you posting again!
    Ehh some stuff was bothering me so I figured why not make a public post and go over the stuff youtubers omitted.

    Added realistic stable timings/voltages/stability tests for 2x16gb bdie @ 2000mhz c16.

    I'm not sure if will bother with testing Bdie 2x8gb royals in here unless someone really twists my arm.

    I can pretty much ballpark guess 4200 will be realistic maybe 16-17-17 depending on how much volts your willing to throw at them for 24/7 use.
    Last edited by chew*; 09-05-2020 at 01:27 AM.
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  4. #4
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    Update and putting screens here as I guess there is a 12 pic limit per post.

    I found the 2x16gb 4000+ wall culprit. Seems like there is a bug somewhere but I will just give you the steps to duplicate my results.

    Load defaults. set desired memory speed. Set the 3 primary timings loose as you can not adjust vddr vccio or vccsa manually or this will not work. That's part of the bug and the artificial wall. Set lucky mode on.

    Even if you copy the voltages that you see it default to it will give you a failed OC attempt. Manually setting voltages seems to be the key to why it fails OC.

    *Be warned* speeds 4500 and higher will set excessively high vccio/vccsa voltages if you try this. Do so at your own risk

    4400 vccio and vccsa is a touch high but not to scary


    4600 vccio and vccsa gets rather excessive.


    Rant on. The more things change the more they stay the same. I'm back to bug reporting bios issues for vendors yet again even though I'm really not. Sometimes I really hate my natural ability and instincts to find this kind of crap. Rant off.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  5. #5
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    1.2W custom bios solves latency for the most part. link https://community.hwbot.org/topic/19...ily-test-bios/

    Now its more or less me just being conservative.

    I'm sure if I went balls out it could probably get like 35ns. Now it just needs a few bugs nipped and some vtt adjustment and monitoring.

    Key feature added is very bottom of memory timing page in power options. Enable PPD. Set PPD 0.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by chew*; 09-17-2020 at 02:57 PM.
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  6. #6
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    With gains come losses so gaining better latency came at a slight stability cost.

    Had to drop tREFI to default when PPD 0 for time being to pass prime 95. Other than that no changes.



    Aida with the changes.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  7. #7
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    I didn't end up getting a chance to post the rest of the stability tests yet but moot point now. Working on another bios version already so starting from scratch again.

    version1.2z
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...yxMUc5yueZLN3S



    Adds DllbwEN options. 1T support for SR. Appears to be more stable with DR. Possible to boot 4100 now tuned with DR. Shotgun loading my 2k profile works from defaults every time now.




    To sum up and this is just my personal opinion on my particular config. It's an improvement but the bios is not quite "there" yet.
    Last edited by chew*; 09-17-2020 at 02:56 PM.
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  8. #8
    Xtreme Addict
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1,225
    Quote Originally Posted by chew* View Post
    I didn't end up getting a chance to post the rest of the stability tests yet but moot point now. Working on another bios version already so starting from scratch again.

    version1.2z
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...yxMUc5yueZLN3S



    Adds DllbwEN options. 1T support for SR. Appears to be more stable with DR. Possible to boot 4100 now tuned with DR. Shotgun loading my 2k profile works from defaults every time now.




    To sum up and this is just my personal opinion on my particular config. It's an improvement but the bios is not quite "there" yet.
    I am pleased that you are using this board chew! I will try your bios.
    i9-10900k@5.3ghz//MSI MEG z490 Unify//32GB Gskill TridentZ b.die@DDR4666//RTX 2080ti(+150/+700) kingpin bios//Samsung 970 Pro//Corsair AX1200i
    Custom Loop: Dual DDCs->Dual EK XE360 w/GT's -> HK IV CPU -> HK IV GPU ->EK X3 Res controlled by Aquaero 6

  9. #9
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    Testing some stuff now but setting all the dllbwEN /dll bandwith options to 0 buys a lot of headroom for memory OC's/tighter timings at no performance penalty that I can measure. I probably could have nailed that 35ns latency if I had increased the ring frequency which is capable of 48 on this chip.

    Example.




    Threw up a bunch of stress tests @ 2000 on latest beta.







    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by chew*; 09-19-2020 at 12:16 PM.
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  10. #10
    Xtreme Addict
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1,225
    very nice, I am flashing this test bios this evening MEG Z490 UNIFYA2V.zip
    i9-10900k@5.3ghz//MSI MEG z490 Unify//32GB Gskill TridentZ b.die@DDR4666//RTX 2080ti(+150/+700) kingpin bios//Samsung 970 Pro//Corsair AX1200i
    Custom Loop: Dual DDCs->Dual EK XE360 w/GT's -> HK IV CPU -> HK IV GPU ->EK X3 Res controlled by Aquaero 6

  11. #11
    Xtreme Addict
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1,225
    so far the bios is playing well, any new test bios out there chew?
    i9-10900k@5.3ghz//MSI MEG z490 Unify//32GB Gskill TridentZ b.die@DDR4666//RTX 2080ti(+150/+700) kingpin bios//Samsung 970 Pro//Corsair AX1200i
    Custom Loop: Dual DDCs->Dual EK XE360 w/GT's -> HK IV CPU -> HK IV GPU ->EK X3 Res controlled by Aquaero 6

  12. #12
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    Quote Originally Posted by Circaflex View Post
    so far the bios is playing well, any new test bios out there chew?
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...yxMUc5yueZLN3S

    A2W should be update. Ill have to flash the 1.3T to see what changed on the I.

    *Edit* Physical changes in bios are in command rate options 1t 2t 3t 4t "real 1T" whatever that means.

    Other than that see no changes and nothing that benefits my DR dimms.

    Still has the weird 24/7 user boot wall around 4100 with DR and I guess it's around 4300 on SR according to a few users.

    I can still do 4600 with DR dimms but only with my bug work around.

    For 1T on 2x8gb you may need to leave vccio/vccsa auto over 3600 for testing.
    Last edited by chew*; 09-28-2020 at 07:36 PM.
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  13. #13
    Xtreme Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    163
    I'm sorry if I miss read.
    What ram you are using in that board and chip in it, do you cherry picked them to get to that result ?

  14. #14
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    Quote Originally Posted by Massive View Post
    I'm sorry if I miss read.
    What ram you are using in that board and chip in it, do you cherry picked them to get to that result ?
    no cherry picked parts. random 10600k and the memory is gskill trident z neo 3600 16-16-16- 36 @ 1.35v purchased from an e-tailer

    The only cherry picking going on is explicitly ensuring the memory IC was samsung Bdie which is easy. If timings are = IE 16-16-16 it can only be samsung bdie.
    Last edited by chew*; 10-05-2020 at 09:40 AM.
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  15. #15
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    Added screens for stability testing on 13T bios.

    Settings not listed.
    PPD enabled
    PPD 0
    Lucky Mode enabled
    dll banwidth 0
    dllbwEN 1-4 = 0

    2000 OCCT 13T bios trefI.jpg
    2000 aida stress13T bios trefI.jpg
    2000 prime 95 13T bios trefI.jpg
    2000 HCI Tm5 Anta extreme 13T bios trefI.jpg
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  16. #16
    Registered User MaddMutt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    Kodak, Tn 37764
    Posts
    10
    WOW!
    I had heard you had "Officially Retired" and was "RIP" from the OC crowd. Welcome Back :-)
    ^ You know OCing is addictive so be careful.
    I used to Bench-a-Lot but now I Bench-a-Little. Do You Bench your CPU?? It can Make it Stronger and Smarter. Just ask a Bencher
    DO OR DO NOT, THERE IS NO TRY <- From Master Yoda
    To ASSUME - Is to make an ASS out of U and ME - Is the MOTHER of all F***UPs <- From Under Siege 2

  17. #17
    Brilliant Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hell on Earth
    Posts
    11,062
    Quote Originally Posted by MaddMutt View Post
    WOW!
    I had heard you had "Officially Retired" and was "RIP" from the OC crowd. Welcome Back :-)
    ^ You know OCing is addictive so be careful.
    I've always got my ear to the streets but mostly just helping out the 24/7 crowd. Time will tell. Not really motivated to do any extreme stuff. Only taking on small jobs here and there.
    heatware chew*
    I've got no strings to hold me down.
    To make me fret, or make me frown.
    I had strings but now I'm free.
    There are no strings on me

  18. #18
    Xtreme Addict
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    1,225
    I am so glad you are still around chew*
    i9-10900k@5.3ghz//MSI MEG z490 Unify//32GB Gskill TridentZ b.die@DDR4666//RTX 2080ti(+150/+700) kingpin bios//Samsung 970 Pro//Corsair AX1200i
    Custom Loop: Dual DDCs->Dual EK XE360 w/GT's -> HK IV CPU -> HK IV GPU ->EK X3 Res controlled by Aquaero 6

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •