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MSI Z87 MPOWER Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Benchmark Testing

Synthetic Benchmark Testing

SiSoft Sandra 2012

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The Sandra benchmarks are a fast and easy to determine how well the system's CPU and memory are functioning. The Z87 MPower board performs in-line with the other Intel Z87 based systems, illustrating that its CPU and memory subsystems are working optimally.

LinX

LinX is a graphical interface for CPU-based testing using the Intel Linpack benchmarks. It serves as a good indicator of proper system CPU functioning and is considered one of the most intensive CPU benchmarks currently available. LinX was run with Memory set to All and for a total of 3 runs. This test was repeated three times with the highest repeatable GFlops (Giga-Floating Point Operations Per Second) score recorded.

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This CPU torture test is good for proving out how well the CPU to motherboard interface is designed. The Z87 MPower's performance falls within expected thresholds, further proving the board's optimal working status.

Multimedia and System Benchmark Testing

Handbrake

Handbrake was used to convert an uncompressed version of the Iron Man Blu-ray movie in MKV format to a compressed 720P MP4 format. The Iron Man MKV file was ripped from the Blu-ray disc in the past with the file size for the uncompressed media coming in at 26 GB. Handbrake was run with default settings enforced with the exception of Anamorphic set to Loose and Video width set to 1280. This test was repeated three times with the lowest repeatable conversion time recorded.

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Video encoding is one of the more system intensive operations with good performance in the benchmark indicative of similar board performance. The Z87 MPower performs on par with the other Z87 systems here.

Maxon Cinebench 11.5

Maxon’s Cinebench 11.5 benchmark can be used determine a system's ability to render 3D content based on their Cinema 4D animation software. The CPU benchmark test was run three times, with the highest reproducible Cinebench points score recorded.

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Again, we see the Z87 MPower board easy keep up with the other Z87-based systems.

PCMark 7 Professional

Future Mark Corporation’s PCMark 7 can be used to reliably ascertain a given system’s performance in a Windows 7-based non-gaming type use environment. The professional version of the benchmark test was run three times, with the highest reproducible PCMark scores recorded.

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The Z87 MPower closes out the benchmark testing on a high note, taking the performance lead in this business application-centered benchmark.

July 5, 2013 | 12:13 PM - Posted by LochDhu (not verified)

The ALL NEW Z77. . .er, I mean Z87. . .

July 5, 2013 | 12:53 PM - Posted by mLocke

I find it somewhat odd that all these "gaming" motherboards come with extra SATA controllers slapped onto them for no apparent reason. No gamer would ever use more than 6 sata ports on their gaming rig, unless you're looking for a machine to pull the double duty of NAS and gaming rig. In which case, why are you torturing yourself running a NAS rig on Windows? Of course I'm making the assumption that all gamers are running Windows, but I feel that isn't too far fetched.

I would have thought that more minimalist boards would be up the alley of gamers; fewer chips on the the board, fewer useless things to disable in the BIOS, more dedication to boards surviving stressful conditions. Do Killer NICs even offer any performance benefits anymore when CPUs are never coming close to being fully utilized by video games? I can't help but think that all these checkbox features slapped onto mobos now does more harm than good for gamers. Seems more like a HTPC board than anything else.

July 5, 2013 | 02:42 PM - Posted by windwalker

They just add as much useless junk as possible for two reasons.
The first is that many gamers and power users are simply greedy about having much more generous feature sets and performance than they actually need.
Secondly, the OEMs can make more money by selling expensive over-engineered boards filled with bling.

Review sites play along by reviewing only the high end parts they receive for free from OEMs' marketing teams.

July 6, 2013 | 02:09 PM - Posted by Susudio (not verified)

Did killer nics ever provide much of a performance difference? My recollection is that their benefits were always dubious.

As for SATA connections, I don't see how 6 ports is too many. When i built my current rig (which is long in the tooth now), I had a Boot Drive, a data drive (because I always separate data from programs/OS) and a HD-DVD/BD/DVD(burner) drive. Later, I added a BD burner. That's 4 ports right there.

Now what if the gamer also uses the machine for Video editing or Photoshop? That's probably another drive. And yes, you could use a nas for some stuff, but do you really want to edit Photos or Video over a network connection? You might want to add a pair of SSDs either for Raid or one for Boot and another for whatever photo/video project you're working on.

200 is stretching what I'd pay for a MB, but in a world where MB's sometimes come in at 300-400, 200 isn't that bad. Besides, today's gaming rig may be tomorrow's NAS rig.

My file server uses the guts of my last game machine.

July 6, 2013 | 10:19 PM - Posted by Chris B (not verified)

Well, I still use my Gigabyte K8N pro with its athlon 64 3200 Venice core as a router. Having extra integrated IDE ports was one of the main reasons I bought it, back in the day.

My boards all pull double duty at some point. I'm really not happy that Intel's cut out VT-d support on the K series processors rather than just locking out VT-d when an overclock is applied...since they're trying to keep the K series processors from competing with xeons. This market segmentation severely alters how I can use my newly built i7-3770K 8 years from now.

However, it's on this board's z77 predecessor. So I'm certain that, when it's no longer my gaming rig, it'll be useful for other things even if not virtualization!

February 11, 2014 | 05:34 AM - Posted by Malawi (not verified)

The SATA thing is most likely due to that the Intel chipset does not support all SSD's that people want to transfer to their new system. Hence one have to use a different(extra) controller to circumvent the problem. Thus the extra SATA's are mainly a workaround that is dressed up as a feature.

July 5, 2013 | 05:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Where is the price??

July 5, 2013 | 05:30 PM - Posted by wolfraven004

Price would be good

July 5, 2013 | 07:48 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Board retail price in on the first page of review and prices from retailers (like amazon and newegg) are on the last page of the review...

July 10, 2013 | 10:05 AM - Posted by pdjblum

Thanks Morry. Nice job.

Never can get enough sata ports, so the more the better.

Morry, surprised you did not give this an editor's choice award, or did I miss it?

July 10, 2013 | 10:48 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

No award yet.  There will be a followup review in the near future covering lan and drive performance, overclocking, and some other things.  Based on how testing goes, then an award will be given...

July 13, 2013 | 10:58 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"The benchmark tests used should give you a good understanding of the board’s capabilities for both office and gaming use so that you, the reader, can make a more informed purchasing decision."

..except that you only ran it through benchmarks that are nearly identical on all mobos of a similar chipset, and did not test overclocking ability, the very task most likely to show differences between motherboards, and the very capability this board was designed and marketed for. Nor did you test power consumption. If I overlooked these things, I apologize.

July 26, 2013 | 12:38 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

Power consumption and overclocking will be covered in an upcoming follow-up review...

October 9, 2013 | 06:10 AM - Posted by oNN (not verified)

Hi editor,

Can i boot up my system (i7 4770k + gtx780 OC) with only one ATX 8-PIN cable connected ? (there is 2 atx 8 pin sockets )but my PSU only provided 1 ATX 8-pin power cable.

Can i use single PCI-E cable(splitted to 2 x 6+2pins) from PSU on my gtx 780 OC ? im not sure single cable can carry that load ?

October 28, 2013 | 01:50 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

You can boot the board with only a single ATX12V 8-pin cable connected.  The dual socket configuration on the board is provided to negate any possible power delivery related issues to the CPU during extreme overclocking.

As for the video card power cable, you "should" be able to use a splitter for powering the card.  However, if you decide to go that route, make sure to closely monitor the power cable temperatures (ie, feel them once in a while during heavy card usage) to make sure they're not getting hot -> hot cables is a sign of high power draw and load.  If the cables do get hot when using a spltter, then you'll have to use individual runs from your PSU or use a MOLEX to PCIe power adapter...

November 24, 2013 | 06:46 AM - Posted by PortlandTec jeff1 (not verified)

Hi all
I'm just starting to build my 2 ridge, but this 2nd one,is going to be my best one, well i'm trying too lol. Can anyone tell me a good liqued cooler to use on my cpu, going to run i7 with it, also try to look around for the mid cost ramm for MSI-Z87-MPOWER-Motherboard.Im hopping you can give me some help!!

If any one could give me some idea's on what would be the best-"Mid cost £"
For the full set-up. Not to sure the best power supply ???? For the amount it will be running

Thank So Much
If you can help

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