MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Motherboard Review
Published: 3rd June 2014 | Source: MSI | Price: |
The range of Z97 motherboards we've reviewed certainly show how well Intel have got their game on with the Z97 chipset, as nearly all of them provide very close results.
Our last MSI motherboard was the MPOWER MAX AC which was decent, if unspectacular. Given the previous successes of their Gaming range we have to say that our expectations were high. Knowing that this is the lower end of the MSI Gaming range, and at a nearly unbelievable £115, we didn't expect to see 5GHz overclocks and earth-shattering results, but we were still hopeful for some excellent benchmarks.
Thankfully the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 delivered in spades. Putting out a 4.9GHz overclock on our i7-4770K is excellent, especially when compared to the Gigabyte Gaming 5, and doing so whilst maintaining a 2933MHz XMP setting on the DDR3 is very impressive for such a value package. The results certainly bore this out with the Gaming 5 up near the top of our graphs in nearly every test, and even those where it wasn't amongst the front runners it certainly wasn't a mile behind either.
If there is one area that the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 shone, it's in the 3D tests. It was pretty much at the top of our graphs in all versions of 3D Mark, Unigine, and even the gaming benchmarks showed the excellent performance available from this black and red beauty.
It's amazing how far a good value motherboard has come in design terms. It was only the last generation where you would expect a £100 and some change motherboard to come with multi-coloured plastics, vertical SATA ports, and maybe a couple of USB ports. With the MSI Gaming 5 you're getting an all-black look both with the PCB and plastics, with a little red on the heatsink, audio separation line and audio label. We think it looks fabulous.
When Gigabyte announced their motherboard was also going to be called the Gaming 5 we were confused, given the importance of a recognisable brand. However when we saw the looks, and then the performance, it's clear that in every department the MSI has kept hold of the Gaming moniker, and indeed the Gaming 5 belongs to it too. It has excellent performance, great looks, superb pricing. Given that there are Gaming 3, 5, 7 and 9's available, as well as the G45, GD65 and MPOWER range, it's possible that MSI are spreading themselves too thinly. However, the Gaming 5 hits all the sweet spots and for that reason wins our OC3D Gold Award.