Review Index:
Feedback

MSI Z77 MPower Big Bang Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Power Consumption and Conclusion

Power Consumption

View Full Size

While the Z77 MPOWER's idle numbers fall below those of the other Z77-based board, its load numbers far exceed that of the other board (by almost 70 watts). I guess that's the price you pay for performance though.

Note that the power consumption numbers are consistent with what you would see using a medium to high-end video card with the board, since the ATI 5870 series are notoriously power hungry.

Performance

From all angles, the MSI Z77 MPOWER board is a winner. It manages solid stock performance numbers and its overclocking performance was the highest I've seen with any board on the test bench. There seems to be a lot of hidden and not-so-hidden potential in this board.

Pricing

As of December 25, the MSI Z77 MPOWER motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $189.99 after mail-in rebate with free shipping. The board was also available from other retailers such as Amazon.com for $189.99 after mail-in rebate  and TigerDirect.com for $199.99 with free shipping.

View Full Size

Conclusion

Before continuing with our final weigh-in on the board, we would like to take this opportunity to give our friends at MSI a hearty “Thank You” for giving us the pleasure of reviewing the Z77 MPOWER board. To say that I've been eager to put this board on the test bench would be putting it mildly. Since hearing MSI's claims concerning the performance and overclocking potential of the board, I've wanted nothing more than to prove them wrong. Well, I didn't by any stretch of the imagination. This board is a rock-solid performer in both stock and overclocked settings. The engineer in me appreciates the over-engineered nature of this board. By over-engineered, I'm talking about the use of over-the-top power circuitry and components in its design which gives it such great overclocking and performance potential. Pair that with the features and stylized look of the board, and any computer enthusiast would go wild.

The Z77 MPOWER did have a few minor shortcomings and areas of concern. The first was the odd placement of the CMOS battery and CMOS reset jumper. In order to access either of them, you would have to physically remove the video card seated in the primary PCI-Express x16 slot. The other feature that was lacking was more SATA ports. Most higher-end Intel Z77-based boards contain a minimum of eight SATA port, 4 of them being SATA III capable instead of the 2 SATA III ports included on this board.

Strengths

  • Sleek flat black and black chromed appearance
  • Overall performance, both stock and overclocked
  • Available network adapter options
  • Usable PCI-Express x1 slot with all PCI-Express x16 slots in use
  • Power and Reset buttons
  • Diagnostic LED location and visibility
  • UEFI BIOS design and usability
  • Motherboard manual information

Weaknesses

  • CMOS battery and CMOS reset jumper placement
  • Lack of additional SATA III capable ports
  • Lack of eSATA ports

View Full Size

January 3, 2013 | 12:28 AM - Posted by Angry

Very very nice!

:EDIT:
Nevermind, Im a dufus. Shouldnt read hard reviews on the john with the Kindle.

Anyway, is 8x4x4x Sli really worth it? Say 3 GTX 670s?

January 12, 2013 | 06:40 AM - Posted by rrr (not verified)

8x vs 16x shows differences of around ~5%. x4 shows about ~30% of difference, so certainly NOT worth it.

January 17, 2013 | 10:35 AM - Posted by WillRock (not verified)

That's BS:

http://tpucdn.com/reviews/Intel/Ivy_Bridge_PCI-Express_Scaling/images/pe...,

PCI-E 3.0 x4 equals to PCI-E 2.0 x8, which is easily sufficient for a triple GPU setup.

Why do you consistantly keep on going around making up bullcrap Rafal? Stuart? Is your name even Rafal or Stuart? Oh nvm, you're a total moron...

January 3, 2013 | 04:25 AM - Posted by Sean Sinha (not verified)

The CMOS battery location isn't as big of an issue thanks to the rear-panel CMOS-clear button. I am a big fan of the current MSI Z77 stuff and this board is probably the best mix of high end features and overclockability you're going to find in the sub-$200 range.

January 3, 2013 | 12:32 PM - Posted by cyberwire

Overclocking Results page is using the same CPU-Z screenshot for both frequencies. The 4.2Ghz one is missing.

Otherwise great review!

January 3, 2013 | 07:09 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Thank you for poiting that out cyberwire.  The images on that page have been corrected...

January 6, 2013 | 01:54 AM - Posted by Peter Wong (not verified)

Has anyone get the phase LEDs to change in Windows 8? during system boot up they blink but in windows 8 they all stay on.

Thanks,

January 8, 2013 | 04:59 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Have not played with the board in Windows 8, but teh BIOS does have Windows 8 specific settings.  You may want to try messing with those setting to see if you have any better luck...

January 22, 2013 | 10:26 AM - Posted by markdek (not verified)

AMD does not have FXAA, so how can this be in the Batman test settings w/ an AMD 5870?

I really want to know, because I cannot duplicate your Batman test w/ this setup.

January 23, 2013 | 11:25 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

With the 5870, I have the option in the graphics options screen (not in game, only accessible from startup) to force FXAA type rendering, as shown below

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.