MSI Z77 MPower Review
Published: 26th October 2012 | Source: MSI | Price: |
It would be easy to treat the MSI Z77 MPower as a board worthy of comparison against the very cream of the Z77 crop. After all it's part of the much vaunted Big Bang series from MSI, and that alone would make us see how it performs in correlation to some very high-end models.
Then you look at the price and realise that, name and packaging aside, this is actually priced high for an MSI motherboard but mid-range when compared to other manufacturers. Considering how cheap this is we don't mind losing a few pointless features to help keep the cost down. For nearly everybody this has everything you could desire. Sure it's missing Firewire, and eSATA, but most of us don't utilise those features such is the overwhelming domination of the USB format.
Overclocking is as easy as we've experienced, thanks to the exceptional quality of the power phases. It takes a very special motherboard indeed to achieve 4.9GHz on our i7-3770K, and so although the 5GHz overclock wasn't stable enough to benchmark with, it shows the potential available should you have a particularly good CPU to hand. As it was we obtained our regular 4.8GHz overclock and the MPower was, throughout our testing, equal to all but the very highest scores we've seen.
We think that at stock the MPower is, if anything, more impressive than it is when overclocked as stock is a better test of the motherboard than the overclock, which depends as much upon the speed obtained as it does on the abilities of the motherboard to not hold back your results. Although we believe that overclocking the current suite of Intel hardware is so simple that anybody should be able to perform it, we understand that a lot of users prefer to just plug and play. For them it's reassuring that the MSI demonstrates itself to be such an accomplished motherboard. Should you prefer not to tinker in the excellent BIOS then the OC Genie is able to, with a single button press and power cycle, give a modest overclock and the performance benefits therein.
Because of the issue with obtaining a BIOS that recognised our i7-3770K ES the testing of the MSI Z77 MPower was initially frustrating but most definitely worth the effort involved. Stock performance is excellent, and the overclocked results are up there with some of the best. The MPower has no weaknesses and, at a mere £150, is a stunning looking, highly featured motherboard that is a worthy winner of our OC3D Gold Award and wont disappoint anyone who takes the plunge on the all-black MSI offering.