MSI has defended its decision, matched by rival Asus, to send hardware reviewers Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 board samples featuring a tweaked BIOS distinct from the retail release, but is offering the same BIOS for download to those who feel misled.
Hardware reviewers - including those who write for bit-tech - typically get hardware ahead of its retail release, in order to have time to fully evaluate it and still be able to publish the review on the day of launch. The hardware received by the reviewer is supposed to be no different to that which makes it onto shop shelves, but both MSI and Asus have been caught tampering with their review samples by sending the hardware out with a performance-enhancing BIOS missing from the retail models.
'MSI Review samples and MSI retail cards are identical in terms of hardware and performance,
' the company has said in a statement to press after being queried about the discrepancy betwix review and retail models. 'Retail cards are set to ‘Gaming Mode’ by default, which offers the best Performance per Watt, while still giving close to ‘OC Mode’ in-game performance. In order to enjoy the best performance and all features of MSI GAMING products, we highly recommend to use the MSI Gaming App which is available for free on MSI.com and the driver CD. The MSI Gaming App allows you to apply one of three performance profiles with a single click, instantly giving you the desired performance.
'As several reviewers have stated, software like the MSI Gaming App is often not used in reviews,
' the company went on to claim. 'This is why review samples of the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 GAMING X graphics cards are set to ‘OC Mode’ to ensure that reviews demonstrate the same performance available through the MSI Gaming App.
When a retail card is set to OC Mode rather than Gaming Mode through the MSI Gaming App, the company has stated, its performance should exactly match that of the review samples. To further alleviate customer concern, the company has also made the firmware used on the review samples - which defaults to OC Mode even without the MSI Gaming App being installed - available for public download in both GTX 1070
and GTX 1080