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MSI Z87 MPOWER Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

The Z87 MPOWER board is one of the first boards released as part of MSI's Z87 update of the much vaunted MPOWER line. The board supports the next generation of Intel processors based on the LGA1150 socket (Haswell), and is packed full of features and overclocking goodness. In-line with the MPower's established theme, the Z87 MPower board maintain's the black and yellow stylings from the last generation with the MSI brand logo proudly displeased on the chipset heat sink. At a retail price of $229.99, the Z87 MPower would be a nice value add to any enthusiast or gaming system.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

In keeping with its enthusiast appeal, MSI incorporated a full 16-phase digital power delivery system into the Z87 MPower, ensuring CPU stability under the most intense system loads. MSI integrated the following features into the Z87 MPower: eight SATA 6Gb/s ports; an mSATA 6Gb/s port; a Killer E2205 GigE NIC; Atheros 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth adapter support; three PCI-Express x16 slots for up to tri-card support; four PCI-Express x1 slots; Lucidlogix Virtu® MVP 2.0 support; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, base clock control, OC Genie, and Go2BIOS buttons; multi-BIOS and OC Genie mode switches; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of MSI

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z87 MPOWER motherboard!

Technical Specifications (taken from the MSI website)

CPU

• 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 / Core™ i5 / Core™ i3 / Pentium® /Celeron® processors for LGA 1150 socket Please refer to CPU Support for compatible CPU; the above description is for reference only.

Chipset

• Intel® Z87 Express Chipset

Memory

• Support four DDR3 DIMMs 1066/1333/1600/1866*/2000*/2133*/2200*/2400*/2600*/2667*/2800*/3000*(OC) DRAM (64GB Max)
- Supports Dual-Channel mode
- Supports non-ECC, un-buffered memory
- Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Slots

• 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots
- The operating mode will be x16/ x0/ x0, x8/ x8/ x0, or x8/ x4/ x4. Please always install expansion card into the PCI_E2 “First”.
• 4 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots

On-Board SATA

SATAIII controller integrated in Intel® Z87 chipset
- Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.
- 1 x mSATA 6Gb/s port*
- Supports six SATA ports (SATA1~6) by Z87

SATAIII controller integrated in ASMedia® ASM1061 chipset
- Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.
- Supports two SATA ports (SATA7~8) by ASM1061
*The SATA6 port will be unavailable when a SSD installed in the mSATA port.
** Supports Intel Core processors on Windows 7 and Windows 8.

RAID
- SATA1~6 ports support Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (AHCI / RAID 0/1/5/10) by Intel Z87

USB

Intel Z87 Express Chipset
- 4 x USB 3.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB connectors)
- 8 x USB 2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 6 ports available through the internal USB connectors**)

ASMedia ASM1074 Chipset
- 4 x USB 3.0 ports on the back panel
** internal JUSB1 connector supports MSI Super Charger

Audio

• Realtek® ALC1150 Codec
- 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
- Supports S/PDIF output

LAN

• Supports one PCI Express LAN 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Killer® E2205
*The Killer Network Manager is only available for Windows 7 and Windows 8 currently. The supported drivers for other operating systems would depend on the vendor providing or not.

Multi-GPU

• Supports 3-Way AMD CrossFireTM Technology*
• Supports 2-Way NVIDIA® SLITM Technology
• Supports Lucid Virtu MVP 2.0*
*Supports Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Internal I/O Connectors

- ATX 24-Pin power connector
- 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
- 2 x 4-pin CPU fan connectors
- 3 x 4-pin System fan connectors
- 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- 3 x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 6 USB 2.0 ports)
- 1 x USB 3.0 connector (supports additional 2 USB 3.0 ports)
- 1 x Discharge jumper
- 1 x Multi BIOS Switch
- 1 x TPM Module connector
- 1 x Front Panel Audio connector
- 2 x System panel connectors
- 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
- 14 x V-Check points (7x V-Check connectors, 7x V-Check spots)
- 1x GO2BIOS button
- 1 x OC Genie button
- 1 x Reset button
- 1 x Power button
- 2 x Base Clock control buttons
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
- 1 x OC switch
- 1 x 2-Digit Debug Code LED
- 1 x Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth module connector

Back Panel I/O Ports

- 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port
- 1 x Clear CMOS button
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF-out port
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- 6 x USB 3.0 ports
- 1 x RJ45 LAN jack
- 1 x 6 in 1 OFC audio jack
- 2 x HDMI® ports with max. resolution up to 4096x2160@24Hz, 24bpp/ 2560x1600@60Hz, 24bpp/1920x1080@60Hz, 36bpp
- 1 x DisplayPort with max. resolution up to 4096x2160@24Hz, 24bpp/ 3840x2160@60Hz, 24bpp

This platform supports dual-display and triple-display function

BIOS

• The motherboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
• The motherboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your motherboard specifications.

Dimensions

• 30.5cm(L) x 24.4cm(W) ATX Form Factor

Mounting

• 9 mounting holes.

 

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

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