MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC Review
MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC
Intel Core i7-4770K
Corsair Vengeance Pro 2400MHz
Corsair Neutron GTX
Windows 7 x64
One of the downsides to review samples is that they have to be given to us early to enable us to test them so that we can let you know our thoughts prior to them going on general sale. This means that usually there is a beta-BIOS which doesn't often have issues but can, on rare occasions, not want to play ball with our Intel Engineering Sample CPU. The MSI MPOWER MAX AC is one such BIOS. It works well but the vDroop optimisation isn't perfect which means that, on our particular CPU, the voltage is a little less stable than we'd like and thus the overclock isn't fully stable. We still got a very impressive 4.9GHz from our i7-4770K which worked in nearly all of our tests. Unfortunately it wasn't fully stable in everything and so we've had to bench at 4.8GHz.
The complex reasoning is if you set the BIOS volts to 1.26v the LLC under load ups the volts to 1.28 (way over what our CPU needs). The instant reaction is to lower the CPU volts so the LLC then ups it under load to 1.26, and we did indeed try this but because of the voltage fluctuation not always being as quick as the load programs put the CPU under it actually became unstable. MSI's last gen of boards had no vdroop issues to the point you didn't have to touch the LLC at all, we hope that with a BIOS revision or two this will be rectified but for the minute its a bit of a black mark against what is intended as an overclocking board.
Naturally the side-effect of this fluttering CPU voltage is increased thermal loading, and so it's no surprise to see the MSI getting our Core i7-4770K much hotter than the ASUS Z97A did.