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MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Power Consumption and Conclusion

Power Consumption

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The Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt's power consumption numbers fell within expectations with higher load power usage but lower average idle power usage.

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 AMD Radeon 5870 series cards are notoriously power hungry.

Performance

Performance-wise, the MSI Z77A-G45 comes in strongly with top-tier stock performance in a mid-range-priced package. Its overclocking performance was within expectations for an Intel Z77-based board, but not quite reaching into the upper tier.

According to our own research and the marketing folks at MSI, the Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt motherboard shares the same PCB layout and design as the other boards in their Z77 board line with a few features slightly tweaked or ommitted from its design. This includes their flagship board, the Z77A-GD80. As such, the stock and overclocked performance of the Z77A-GD45 Thunderbolt should be close to matching that of its big brother the Z77A-GD80. See our MSI Z77A-GD80 review to come to your own conclusions.

Pricing

As of March 14, the MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $139.99 after $10 mail-in rebate. The board was also available from other retailers such as Amazon.com for $139.99 after $10 mail-in rebate (Prime eligible) and TigerDirect.com for $142.75 after $10 mail-in rebate.

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Conclusion

Before continuing with our final thoughts on this 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 Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt motherboard. Going into the review, I had high expectations based on my experiences with MSI's Z77 MPOWER board. The Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt did not disappoint. While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the higher boards, MSI kept to a usable feature set and did not compromise on the board build quality or design layout. The board performs well in both stock and overclocked conditions with its performance more than I expected from such a moderately priced board. One of the more impressive features of the board is its included Thunderbolt port in the rear panel - MSI was able to include that in the board's design without compromising much.

There was really nothing glaring wrong with the board, just some in consistencies and odd design choices. In the gaming benchmarks specifically, performance seemed to be either under or over that of the other board. Design-wise, the positioning of the CMOS battery and reset jumper are questionable, especially when using video cards with larger coolers in the board. You would have to remove the video card to get to either item.

Strengths

  • Performance, both stock and overclocked
  • Included Thunderbolt port
  • Accessible PCI-Express x1 slot with all PCI-Express x16 slots filled
  • Price
  • UEFI BIOS design and usability
  • Motherboard manual information

Weaknesses

  • CMOS battery and CMOS reset jumper placement
  • Inconsistent gaming benchmark behavior
March 21, 2013 | 02:13 PM - Posted by Douglas S. (not verified)

I bought this board when I built my system last Christmas and I am very happy with it. I am not using the Thunderbolt port at this point, but I wanted my computer to be ready for when Thunderbolt is being used more.

June 12, 2013 | 10:46 PM - Posted by Maribel (not verified)

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March 29, 2013 | 01:20 PM - Posted by moonkeey danny

donde la puedo conseguir, me gusto esta tarjeta madre pero no se donde la puedo adquirir. AYUDA

March 29, 2013 | 10:09 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

What country are you in my friend?

April 1, 2013 | 07:13 AM - Posted by Bman (not verified)

I've had this board for a few weeks now and the OC Genie really impressed me. I have no hesitation to recommend this board

August 24, 2013 | 01:43 PM - Posted by Mick (not verified)

Hi,

I am building a pc and there are a number of cables from the front panel of the pc case (usb, pc power etc). I can find all the ports to connect these cables to on the motherboard (MSI Z77A-G45) except the SD/MMR cable. Do you know where this connects to on this motherboard?

Thanks in advance.

Mick.

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