Review Index:
Feedback

MSI Z87 MPOWER Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

CPU Cooler Fit and Included Accessories

CPU Cooler Fit

To test the amount of space surrounding the CPU socket, we mounted the Noctua NH-D14 cooler to the CPU socket. This behemoth CPU air cooler sports a dual fan construction and two huge vertical cooling towers.

View Full Size

View Full Size

Oriented with the fans blowing air towards the rear of the case, MSI provided more than adequate room along the front, back, and left side of the cooler (paralleling the PCI-Express slots) for mounting without inhibiting the VRM heat sinks, memory, or use of the primary PCI-Express x1 slot.

View Full Size

View Full Size

From looking at the cooler mounting from the right side view, there is more than enough room for memory modules with larger heat spreaders. However, if you choose to populate all four slots while using such a massive cooler, you may run into space issues requiring the of DIMMS with lower profile heat spreaders because of the proximity of the lower portion of the aluminum cooling towers.

View Full Size

View Full Size

The Noctua hold down mounts provide a good measure of how much space is located in between the physical CPU socket and the VRM heat sinks. While the mounts do get close to the VRM sinks, there is plenty of room for these mounts without any space related issues.

Included Accessories

MSI bundles everything needed to get the board up and running with some added branding-themed articles just because they can.

View Full Size

View Full Size

MSI includes all the user manuals, documentation, and install discs you'll need. Additionally, a fold-out board poster, an overclocking guide, and a board quality and stability statement are included detailing out board features and overclocking pointers.

View Full Size

The included rear panel shield is done in a flat black color with yellow lettering and port highlights, matching the MPower themed coloration.

View Full Size

MSI includes a total of 6Gb/s rated SATA cables with integrated port locks and a mix of straight and 90 degree connectors.

View Full Size

MSI chose to include one NVIDIA SLI cable for use with dual NVIDIA video cards in SLI mode.

View Full Size

View Full Size

For 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality, MSI included an add-in card that plugs into a header in the rear panel and adds dual antenna ports to the rear panel assembly. The add-in card features an Intel-based 802.11 mPCIe card with support for Intel WiDi technology, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

View Full Size

For use with the Wi-Fi add-in card, MSI included two 802.11n-rated antennas. The antennas can be rotated in a 90 degree radius for optimal signal reception capabilities.

View Full Size

For use with the on-board front panel headers, MSI included their M-Connector plugs. You simply plug the front panel blocks into the M-Connector plug and the M-Connector plug into the appropriate board header. It makes installation the front panel header blocks much easier.

View Full Size

The included V-Check cables plug into the ports in the V-Check Point assembly to give easy access for measuring board voltages directly. Instead of having to stick multi-meter leads directly into the board headers, you can attach them to these extension cables.

View Full Size

View Full Size

In line with the gaming-centered theme of the board, MSI includes an MPower-themed door knob hanger and a a Dragon Gaming themed case sticker.

July 5, 2013 | 03:13 PM - Posted by LochDhu (not verified)

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

July 5, 2013 | 03:53 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 | 05:42 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 | 05:09 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 7, 2013 | 01:19 AM - 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 | 08:34 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 | 08:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Where is the price??

July 5, 2013 | 08:30 PM - Posted by wolfraven004

Price would be good

July 5, 2013 | 10:48 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 | 01:05 PM - 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 | 01:48 PM - 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 | 01:58 PM - 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 | 03:38 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

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

October 9, 2013 | 09:10 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 | 04:50 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 | 09:46 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

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.