MSI Z87i Gaming ITX Motherboard Review
Published: 17th December 2013 | Source: MSI | Price: £134.99 SRP |
It might be small enough to almost fit in your pocket, but MSI haven't scrimped on the packaging for the Z87I Gaming, giving it the full Dragon treatment.
Accessories are minimal as you'd expect from such an affordable offering, but we still have a nice IO shield, the dragon gaming sticker, and the antenna for the onboard WiFi. The Z87I Gaming itself is as tiny as you'd expect a mini-ITX motherboard to be. No matter how often we review them, we're always stunned at how compact they are.
MSI really have utillised every precious inch of available space. About the only thing we really don't like is how far inboard the 8pin CPU power connector is, especially given how inflexible a lot of 8pin cables are. Many people will question why the CPU is so close to the PCIE slot and the chipset at the top of the board, this obviously isnt the best positioning for an enthusiast build but mirrors the plain Z87i that the Gaming is ultimately based on. Major changes would have no doubt meant a higher price and with the choices we have available nowadays with AIO coolers actually performing well now-a-days this really isn't the problem it may have been 2 or 3 years ago.
Tiny size doesn't mean tiny features though. MSI have included the KillerNIC 2200 chip to give you the smoothest online performance as well as combining the ALC1150 audio with a OPA1652 headphone amplifier that supports up to 600Ω headphones. Small, but powerful.