MSI's new budget board, the Z77A-G41

Subject: Motherboards | September 12, 2012 - 07:06 PM |
Tagged: msi, MSI Z77A-G41, lga 1155

MSI adds to the value end of their Z77 based motherboard lineup with the Z77A-G41 at a mere $100, $90 after MIR.  For that price you get a board with a pair of PCIe 16x slots as well as a pair of both PCIe 1x and PCI slots.  [H]ard|OCP were less than impressed with the SATA ports, while there are six in total they are vertical and so add to the clutter of the machine as well as being in the way of the second PCIe slot.  They have never been fans of MSI's ClickBIOS, an opinion this board did not change nor were theu impressed with the overclocking abilities of the board, no matter how long they spent adjusting setting in the UEFI implementation.  That is not to imply that this board is not a good choice for everyone, it is only the enthusiast that will be disappointed, those looking for a stable motherboard to build an inexpensive machine will find this board fully up to the task.

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"While it's usually the high end boards that get the most attention, it's often the lower end and mid-range boards that many people purchase. With this in mind we get back to basics with the Z77A-G41 which is an entry level offering from MSI that boasts many enthusiast features."

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Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Titanium Power from MSI; the shiniest of the GTX 660s?

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 6, 2012 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: msi, gtx 660 Ti, GK104, factory overclocked, Twin Frozr, 660 Ti Power Edition OC

MSI's GTX 660 Ti Power Edition OC will set you back $300, the same price as most other GTX 660 Ti cards, however that is where the similarity stops.  This card sports the famous Twin Frozr IV cooling system, Military Class III components, Triple Overvoltage with Afterburner support and is overclocked above the reference design.  If you like the sounds of the card so far does knowing that [H]ard|OCP managed to push the card frequencies farther past the factory overclock than the factory overclock was above the reference design? 

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"MSI is offering a custom cooled and factory overclocked rendition on the recently released NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti. We examine how well MSI's Twin Frozr IV cooling technology allows us to overclock this new generation video card. We will compare it to a Radeon HD 7950, an overclocked Radeon HD 7870, and a GeForce GTX 670."

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Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #216 - GTX 660Ti Roundup, AMD Steamroller Details, Multi GPU Graphics Card Rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2012 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: zotac, Steamroller, ssd, revodrive, podcast, ocz, msi, MARS III, Intel, galaxy, evga, asus, arm, ARES II, amd, 7990, 690, 660ti

PC Perspective Podcast #216 - 08/30/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 660Ti Roundup, AMD Steamroller Details, Multi GPU Graphics Card Rumors and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:01:56

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. PCPer moving to pcper.com/live
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. http://pcper.com/podcast
  5. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:15 GeForce GTX 660 Ti Roundup
    2. 0:16:00 AMD Steamroller details from HotChips
    3. 0:27:30 ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Review
  2. 0:29:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:30:25 EVGA 1500 watt power supply
    2. 0:34:30 Powercolor HD 7990 Devil 13 graphics card
    3. 0:37:26 AMD releases FX-4130 and lowers prices
    4. 0:39:24 Synology refreshes DiskStation
    5. 0:40:50 ASUS MARS III GTX 680 - dreamers only
    6. 0:43:17 EVGA Mini ITX Z77 motherboard
    7. 0:45:15 NVIDIA shows Unreal Engine 3 on Tegra 3
  4. Closing:
    1. 0:51:11 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2
      2. Jeremy: Something to vie for your upgrade budget
      3. Josh: Can never have enough space
      4. Allyn: Kingston HyperX Genesis 32GB DDR3 1600
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

 

Author:
Manufacturer: Various

Multiple Contenders - EVGA SC

One of the most anticipated graphics card releases of the year occurred this month in the form of the GeForce GTX 660 Ti from NVIDIA, and as you would expect we were there on the day one with an in-depth review of the card at reference speeds. 

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The GeForce GTX 660 Ti is based on GK104, and what you might find interesting is that it is nearly identical to the specifications of the GTX 670.  Both utilize 7 SMX units for a total of 1344 stream processors – or CUDA cores – and both run at a reference clock speed of 915 MHz base and 980 MHz Boost.  Both include 112 texture units though the GeForce GTX 660 Ti does see a drop in ROP count from 32 to 24. Also, L2 cache drops from 512KB to 384KB along with a memory bus width drop from 256-bit to 192-bit. 

We already spent quite a lot of time talking about the GTX 660 Ti compared to the other NVIDIA and AMD GPUs in the market in our review (linked above) as well as on our most recent episode of the PC Perspective Podcast.  Today's story is all about the retail cards we received from various vendors including EVGA, Galaxy, MSI and Zotac. We are going to show you each card's design, the higher clocked settings that were implemented, performance differences between them and finally the overclocking comparisons of all four.  

Continue reading our roundup of four NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti cards!!

Live Review Recap: MSI Z77 MPower Motherboard Preview and GPU Lineup

Subject: Motherboards | August 22, 2012 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: z77 mpower, Z77, video, msi, mpower, live review, live

Earlier this week MSI's Alex Chang stopped by the PC Perspective office to show off a new motherboard, the Z77 MPower.  If you missed the live stream, you can check out the replay right here below!  Be sure you keep an eye on our LIVE schedule on the right hand side as future events pop up!

MPower introduces a 24-hour burn-in test that is one of a kind. Electronic components are manufactured on an assembly line and then statistical sampling is used to ensure quality of construction. Every MPower board is tested using a full Prime95 burn-in test for 24 hours under a heavy overclock.

msimpower.jpg

While you can probably reproduce this yourself in the comfort of your own home, MSI basically is doing this at the factory level to ensure every single board performs at the highest level. Not only are we changing the game of overclocking, but we’re also ensuring consistent and enduring performance from a desktop mainboard.

Source: MSI

MSI MPower Motherboard Q&A - Ask your questions!!

Subject: Editorial, Motherboards | August 21, 2012 - 10:18 AM |
Tagged: Z77, msi, mpower, live

Tomorrow on our PC Perspective Live! channel we are going to be hosting MSI's Alex Chang, the man in charge of product marketing for motherboards and GPUs - so you'll definitely want to stop by and see what he has to say!  In preparation for his visit we wanted to give our readers a chance to ask some questions about the new product line coming from MSI, the MPower motherboards. 

msimpower.jpg

Starting with the Z77 model that has been teased at various locations (including our own PC Perspective Hardware Workshop at Quakecon 2012), the MPower motherboards will be doing some unique things like extending warranties to overclockers and running overclocking tests on EACH motherboard board it ships to retailers.  Here is a quick note from MSI on the topic:

MPower introduces a 24-hour burn-in test that is one of a kind. Electronic components are manufactured on an assembly line and then statistical sampling is used to ensure quality of construction. Every MPower board is tested using a full Prime95 burn-in test for 24 hours under a heavy overclock.

While you can probably reproduce this yourself in the comfort of your own home, MSI basically is doing this at the factory level to ensure every single board performs at the highest level. Not only are we changing the game of overclocking, but we’re also ensuring consistent and enduring performance from a desktop mainboard.

MSI has posted some new information on its website recently as well including some details on the overclocking burn-in tests:

OC Certified is MSI's OC testing procedure where Z77 MPOWER mainboards tested for stability with a 24-hour Prime95 stress test. OC Certified test a mainboard in three key areas:
• Higher Performance
• Enhanced PWM Cooling
• Better Power Stability

Higher Performance means all OC Certified tests are run at 4.6 GHz CPU speed. The Enhanced PWM Cooling test ensures that, even without airflow in a high-temperature room (30°C) without airflow from a CPU cooler. Better Power Stability is tested by running Prime95 for 24-hours in these conditions.

I would imagine that you have some questions about the product - its features, its new warranty, the overclocking capability for it, etc. and we want to offer you the chance to ASK those questions of MSI directly. 

You can comment on our post here (no registration is required) and then join us tomorrow at 1pm ET / 10am PT for the LIVE discussion and presentation of the MSI MPower Z77 motherboard.  We will have some prizes for those of you that ask the best questions so be sure to get your question in EARLY!

pcperlive.png

Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

Spicing up the GTX 670

The Power Edition graphics card series from MSI is a relatively new addition to its lineup. The Power Edition often mimics that of the higher-end Lightning series, but at a far lower price (and perhaps a smaller feature set). This allows MSI to split the difference between the reference class boards and the high end Lightning GPUs.

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Doing this allows users a greater variety of products to choose from, and to better tailor users' purchases by their needs and financial means. Not everyone wants to pay $600 for a GTX 680 Lightning, but what if someone was able to get similar cooling, quality, and overclocking potential for a much lower price?  This is what MSI has done with one of its latest Power Edition cards.

The GTX 670 Power Edition

The NVIDIA GTX 670 cards have received accolades throughout the review press. It is a great combination of performance, power consumption, heat production, and price. It certainly caused AMD a great amount of alarm, and it hurriedly cut prices on the HD 7900 series of cards in response. The GTX 670 is a slightly cut-down version of the full GTX 680, and it runs very close to the clock speed of its bigger brother. In fact, other than texture and stream unit count, the cards are nearly identical.

Continue reading the entire review!

Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

The HAWK Returns

The $300 to $400 range of video cards has become quite crowded as of late.  If we can remember way back to March when AMD introduced their HD 7800 series of cards, and later that month we saw NVIDIA release their GTX 680 card.  Even though NVIDIA held the price/performance crown, AMD continued to offer their products at what many considered to be grossly overpriced considering the competition.  Part of this was justified because NVIDIA simply could not meet demand of their latest card, and they were often unavailable for purchase at MSRPs.  Eventually AMD started cutting back prices, but this led to another issue.  The HD 7950 was approaching the price of the HD 7870 GHz Edition.  The difference in prices between these products was around $20, but the 7950 was around 20% faster than the 7870.  This made the HD 7870 (and the slightly higher priced overclocked models) a very unattractive option for users.

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It seems as though AMD and their partners have finally rectified this situation, and just in time.  With NVIDIA finally being able to adequately provide stock for both the GTX 680 and GTX 670, the prices on the upper-midrange cards has taken a nice drop to where we feel they should be.  We are now starting to see some very interesting products based on the HD 7850 and HD 7870 cards, one of which we are looking at today.

The MSI R7870 HAWK

The R7870 Hawk utilizes the AMD HD 7870 GPU.  This chip has a reference speed of 1 GHz, but with the Hawk it is increased to a full 1100 MHz.  The GPU has the entire 20 compute units enabled featuring 1280 stream processors.  It has the 256 bit memory bus running 2GB of GDDR-5 memory at 1200 MHz, which gives a total bandwidth of 160 GB/sec.  I am somewhat disappointed that MSI did not give the memory speed a boost, but at least the user can enable that for themselves through the Afterburner software.

Continue reading our review of the MSI R7870 HAWK Graphics card!!

MSI Possibly Working on SandForce SF-2000-series SSD

Subject: Storage | July 14, 2012 - 07:43 AM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, SF2000, sandforce, msi

The solid state market is heating up as spindle-based drives continue to sell at much higher prices than last year and NAND flash is getting cheaper. The latest entrant may be motherboard and laptop vendor MSI, if a recent addition to SandForce’s SSD partner list holds true.

msi_ssd.jpg

Unfortunately, we do not have any further details so it’s hard to say what sort of drive this will be other than it will use solid state NAND flash. Being a 2000-series SandForce controller is promising for performance, however. Stay tuned for more details as they develop. I’m excited to see what MSI can bring to the SSD table, and here’s hoping that they break a cost/GB record (I can dream heh). For now though, we will have to suffice with the currently available SSD options, which you can check out on our SSD Decoder at pcper.com/ssd. What do you think about the prospect of an MSI SSD?

Source: SandForce

MSI's mid range enclosure, the Ravager

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 13, 2012 - 06:26 PM |
Tagged: msi, ravager

MSI's second case has hit the market, a mid-tower case called the Ravager which comes with a $100 price tag.  On the exterior, apart from a nice paint job and window you will find two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports as well as audio ports and the HDD LED.  The blue interior is quite striking, even before any parts are installed and tool-less quick mounts for the six 3.5" and three 5.25" hard drives are well appreciated though some 2.5" adapters would be a nice touch for SSD users.  Techware Labs really liked this case; it is good to see MSI's quality extend into new markets.

TWL_msi-ravager-02.jpg

"MSI has sent us the new Ravager mid tower case. If the black with blue claw marks on the sides doesn't get your attention, the price will at just $99 MSRP at the time of this review. The blue color scheme continues inside with most of the motherboard mounting plate, HDD trays and quick-release clips for the 5.25” drive bays. The Ravager comes with many features that can be expanded upon and upgraded easily so the consumer can not only purchase the case at a great price but is able to customize case with what he/she wants. Lets' dive into what the Ravager has to offer..."

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CASES & COOLING