MSI Z77 MPower Big Bang Motherboard Review
Power Consumption and Conclusion
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- CMOS battery and CMOS reset jumper placement
- Lack of additional SATA III capable ports
- Lack of eSATA ports