MSI Z77A-G45 Gaming Review
Straight away you can tell that the Gaming has been deliberately designed to be something different, rather than a standard model with a fancy appellation. The box, as well as being replete with the MSI Dragon logo, is matte black. The whole texture is different to the endless parade of glossy boxes we have through the OC3D offices.
As you would expect from the base model, the accessories are minimal with just a IO shield, manual, driver disc and some SATA cables. It's nice not to see a plain IO shield though. In such a crowded marketplace those little touches that make the difference.
We're going to come right out and say it, we love the looks of the G45 Gaming. So often a base model is plain blue, or if the company have given you a black PCB you're lumbered with odd plastic parts or the barest minimal heatsinks. The MSI offering looks fantastic, and the gorgeous heatsinks demonstrate what a lot of care has gone into the design.
A slight design niggle from the placement of the CMOS battery, requiring the removal of the GPU just to reset the CMOS, but otherwise the G45 Gaming is excellent. There are a few fan headers spread nicely on the edges of the board, and the 8pin CPU power input, so often placed somewhere that ensures our fingers are permanently scarred, is perfectly positioned.
We can't help but love the dragon heatsink. It lends an air of class to proceedings and, let's not deny it, looks cool. The big difference between the base G45 and the other models in the Gaming range is the inclusion (or in this case lack) of the OC Genie switch on the PCB. Indeed the G45 lacks any buttons at all.
Connectivity is fairly standard. It's worth pointing out that MSI have increased the amount of gold plating on the leftmost USB ports, so that your mouse and keyboard remain with an optimum connection regardless of how often you unplug your peripherals.