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We took a walk with Shiv Madan to discuss how his company, Blockparty, introduced blockchain into the entertainment industry. He shares his perspective on the future of the event industry in conjunction with blockchain technology.
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MSI MEG X570 Godlike Review
A motherboard with a name like “Godlike”—and it’s not MSI’s first bite at the apple with that family name—sets some serious expectations. Though we’re not here to debunk the dominance of this deluxe motherboard, we have to observe: Its price is as equally high in the heavens as its name. As MSI’s flagship Ryzen board, the MEG X570 Godlike serves as the company’s most powerful AMD X570 chipset platform for AMD’s AM4-socket processors. It comes with an encyclopedic list of features and two snazzy add-on cards, at a $699.99 price that, alas, makes it all a bit hard to swallow. We’d recommend looking to make sure you actually need both of the add-on cards and are truly entranced by the radical, showy design before paying the major premium to this PCB deity.
A Board That Animates Ryzen
The MEG X570 Godlike is a visual standout thanks to MSI’s Dynamic Dashboard, a small monochrome LED panel placed beside the RAM slots. This simple display, by default, shows some basic system information and plays animated GIFs featuring MSI’s dragon mascot. You can configure the panel to display a custom 256-by-64-pixel image or GIF file of your choice. If you don’t have a chassis with a transparent side panel, consider this a wasted effort; you won’t see this nifty premium inside an opaque chassis.
With the same thought in mind, the motherboard is adorned with RGB LEDs around the chipset, and a gaudy “infinity mirror,” wholly gratuitous bling that creates the optical illusion of an LED-lit bottomless pit receding into the depths of your motherboard, on the rear I/O shroud. These features add lots of color to the otherwise black and gray board, though they lack the animated customizability of the Dynamic Dashboard. Again, if you’re unlucky enough to have a solid-metal PC case, the infinity mirror is just an abyss into which you threw more money than you needed to.
As an ultra-high-end motherboard, the MEG X570 Godlike board features a large 14+4+1 phase power regulation system cooled by beefy heatsinks and a long liquid-filled heatpipe. This pipe extends down to the motherboard’s chipset. As the chipset heatsink has a rather large fan, this should help to actively cool the heatpipe and further improve its thermal efficiency.
It should come as no surprise that the Godlike comes with a wide array of overclocking features. DDR4 memory overclocked up to 5,000MHz is officially supported, and the board features MSI’s Game Boost knob for on-the-fly overclocking, which I’ll discuss in more detail in the BIOS section. The board also has all of the usual high-end overclocking features, including two BIOSes (one for rollbacks if you go too far tweaking the other), onboard power and reset buttons, LED debug lights, and buttons to clear and flash the BIOS.
The last of these can be found on the rear I/O panel, which makes it quick and easy to recover from a bad overclock. Also on the rear panel are USB Type-A ports that use a mixture of USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 3.2 Gen 2 protocols. One USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port also resides here, along with two RJ-45 jacks and some less conventional hardware.
Actually, the PS/2 port MSI placed on the MEG’s rear I/O panel isn’t so much unconventional as out of place on a modern flagship board. If you have a legacy keyboard or mouse you just can’t let go of, great. Otherwise, for most folks, it’s wasted space on the I/O plate.
Even more unusual is the use of a 6.3mm headphone jack. This is essentially just a larger version of the common 3.5mm jack, and it presents scant benefit in terms of audio quality or performance. If you happen to have a set of older consumer “banana plug” headphones or a set of studio-grade cans, you’re in luck; otherwise, MSI provides a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter so you can use this port. It feels satisfying to plug the larger audio connector in, but it’s a niche feature, to be sure.
MSI did opt to connect the 6.3mm jack to a dedicated audio codec. This ESS ES9018 audio codec, on paper, appears to be superior to the Realtek ALC1220 codec that’s used to drive audio to the 3.5mm jacks and SPDIF port. I tested out both ports using a set of speakers and couldn’t detect any difference between the two, but this may be because my speakers simply weren’t of high enough quality to make the distinction heard.
MSI equipped the MEG X570 Godlike motherboard with relatively high-end networking capabilities. One of the aforementioned RJ-45 jacks connects to a 2.5Gbps Killer NIC, whereas the other one is powered by a plain old Gigabit Ethernet Killer NIC. These both might go unused, however, as MSI also supplies a 10Gbps Super LAN PCI Express card in the box for cutting-edge networking connections…
This motherboard also comes with a built-in Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 chipset that enables a fast Wi-Fi connection up to 2.4Gbps. Between the card and the chipsets, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more complete and current connectivity loadout than on this board.
The board has plenty of storage connection potential with a total of six SATA 3.0 ports and three M.2 Key-M slots. MSI also bundles its M.2 Xpander-Z Gen 4 card with the motherboard. Able to host two additional M.2 solid-state drives via a PCI Express expansion slot on the board, this card also has a rather large heatsink and a fan to help keep them cool…
It’s a bit of overkill for two M.2 storage devices, but I’m not about to knock MSI for building something too well.
A Brief Look at the BIOS
MSI installed its usual Click BIOS 5 software on this motherboard. If you’ve used one of MSI’s Click BIOSes before, you’ll know what to expect. I don’t particularly like the design of the BIOS myself, notably the way it’s laid out, but that’s due more to my personal taste than anything else.
Upon entering the BIOS, you will first be greeted by an Easy Mode interface that displays some basic details of the system’s specs. You can also change a few basic settings from this menu, including the boot order and the memory XMP/AMP profile. In the upper left corner is a control dial that enables you to adjust the board’s hardware Game Boost Knob “virtually” (i.e., in software). MSI’s Game Boost Knob is designed to overclock the system on the fly by simply turning a physical dial located on the motherboard.
Adjustments made by turning the physical or virtual knob don’t occur in real time, and you should be careful if you choose to test out this feature. The increase in clock speed, as well as any other changes made to the processor, won’t actually show until you restart the computer. Each turn of the knob will also bring with it an adjustment to the processor’s voltage, which means you should carefully test your system for stability and ensure the processor isn’t getting overheated before cranking the knob up a notch.
I’d also recommend that you not leave your system overclocked with the Game Boost Knob. It can be a useful tool to determine if your processor is stable at various clock speeds, but you never want to expose your CPU to excess voltage. Overclocking manually will allow you to find the true limits of your processor and the lowest voltage required to maintain that frequency. You’ll want to use the physical or virtual knob just one careful tick at a time, testing for stability at each step up. Don’t turn it up to 11 all at once.
The Easy Mode BIOS also lets you switch the storage drives between AHCI and RAID modes and provides controls to adjust the board’s RGB LEDs. Last, if you need to flash the BIOS, there’s an option to do that.
Switching to the Advanced BIOS interface gives you access to more-granular controls for system settings, including an extensive list of manual overclocking options. Also available from here: a built-in tool for wiping data from SSDs.
A Mixed Bag of Software
The MEG X570 Godlike comes with five software utilities which gave me an assortment of problems during my test build. As with the Asus ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero, with this board it’s best to proceed with caution with the software and look for fixes or new versions online.
The most prominent utility MSI provides is the MSI Dragon Center app, which promises several functions including a LAN manager. In cumbersome fashion, this app requires you to download additional files after downloading and installing the main executable from the online support page. This takes extra time and feels retrograde.
In my case, when I installed Dragon Center for the MEG X570 Godlike board, all it allowed me to do was adjust the color of the display and the color of the board’s RGB LEDs. The aforementioned LAN manager controls were missing, as were several other functions. This app is still probably worth having, though, as it’s the only way you can control the board’s LED display.
One of the remaining four utilities that comes with the board is just a reskin of CPU-Z, which opened and ran without issue. I was unable to test the other three, however—the Nahimic and Realtek audio utilities and the Killer Control Center for the board’s networking hardware. When I built out my test system, these apps couldn’t be downloaded directly from MSI, but had to be fetched from Microsoft’s Windows 10 store. I attempted to download these files and waited several hours for them to finish downloading, but for some reason they never did. The Realtek Audio Controller continuously errored every download attempt, and while the other two said they were downloading, they never finished.
Since the downloads come from the Windows Store, I’m not sure this is truly MSI’s fault, but at the same time, MSI needs to allow for access to these files directly.
More Tycoon-Like Than Godlike
Before I bring this review to a close, I must discuss the most important aspect of the MEG X570 Godlike: its price. With an MSRP of $699.99, it’s by far the most expensive AMD AM4 motherboard I’ve reviewed to date. (In fairness, Gigabyte does offer a similarly priced X570 Aorus Extreme, and Asrock tops these both with a $999.99 limited edition X570 Aqua for very committed liquid-cooling hounds.)
Still, no doubt: This is a pricey board, and it’s not even on AMD’s deluxe TRX40 platform for its monster Threadripper chips. The Godlike is roughly double the cost of the MSI MEG X570 Ace or Asrock X570 Phantom Gaming X, and you could buy three Asrock X570 Extreme4 motherboards for the price of one X570 Godlike. The MEG X570 Godlike needs a few more redeeming qualities to justify its lofty price. The board is stable and appears to work perfectly fine, but so do many cheaper platforms. The BIOS is essentially the same as what I saw on the company’s MEG X570 Ace, which isn’t cheap itself at $369.99 but still a far cry from the Godlike. The included software is uneven at best, and there’s some wasted space on the rear I/O panel due to some unconventional choices of ports.
The Dynamic Dashboard panel is a genuinely unique and eye-grabbing feature, but that’s about all the board has going for it to help stand apart from the crowd, aside from the deep accessories bundle, which may or may not be useful. The included add-on cards may seem nice, but I’d argue that it would have been more useful and cost-effective to solder the 10Gbps LAN controller directly onto the board in place of the Gigabit NIC. This way you wouldn’t have an add-on card taking up space on your board, and you could have 10Gbps Ethernet plus full use of all the PCI Express slots. The M.2 riser card is arguably more practical, but realistically, few people are going to have more than three M.2 SSDs in a single system, so the onboard M.2 slots will suffice.
Long story short: While the MSI MEG X570 Godlike has a few unique features, nifty bling, and cool add-ons, you really need to appreciate all of that to justify the high price. You can find solid AMD X570 platforms for far less, and you can opt for one of those, plus a whole host of blingy RGB add-ons and whichever expansion cards you need, for less money.
The Bottom Line
MSI’s MEG X570 Godlike AM4 motherboard runs fine, looks stupendous, and has some cool features and accessories, but its soaring price makes it hard to recommend unless you truly need everything in the box.