MSI Z77 MPower Review
Published: 26th October 2012 | Source: MSI | Price: |
The box packaging for the MPower is certainly eye-catching, with a chromatic effect dominating the front and the main highlights beneath a Velcro front flap. We like it a lot. Inside you have a surprisingly small selection of accessories, with just some probes standing apart from the usual array of SATA cables, manuals and driver CD.
At first glance you'd be forgiven for thinking this is a Zotac motherboard, all black with yellow highlights. We so often see red or blue slots that it's nice to see a motherboard that wouldn't be out of place on a Spinal Tap album.
The CPU area is well served by an enormous amount of power, and some rather attractive heatsinks. There is always a balance to be sought between form and function, and we think that MSI have done a fine job. The heatpipes between each heatsink are 8mm thick, which is the type of thickness we're more used to seeing on GPUs.
PCI slots are well spaced indeed, especially considering most people will only run a dual-card arrangement anyway. The battery placement is a bit of a faff, especially if you prefer to clear your CMOS with a battery removal.
One very useful feature is the inclusion of a switch to change between the two available BIOS's. With high-end overclocking boards it's always nice to have the ability to have a stable one and then tweak the other.
The RAM section is very busy indeed. As well as the ATX power there is an additional 6pin PCIe power input for multi-GPU setups, voltage monitoring points, and the now standard power/reset buttons.
Storage is handled by two SATA 6Gb/s ports and four SATA 3 Gb/s ones. At the rear we have a wealth of USB ports, DisplayPort and HDMI for iGP, WiFi/Bluetooth and the CMOS clear button.