If there’s one trend for motherboards this year at Computex beyond adding Thunderbolt, then it has to be motherboards designed specifically for overclockers.
MSI introduced its new MPower series of motherboards at Computex which akin to what ASRock was showing, are scaled back motherboards in terms of features, but with a range of additional tweaks that should make them appeal to serious overclockers.
First up we have the Z77 MPower and as you can see right off from the bat, this board doesn’t have a lot of fancy bling beyond the heatpipe cooler for the power regulation circuitry. MSI is using its typical Military Class III components on the board which includes tantalum capacitors around the CPU socket. The board has three x16 PCI Express slots, although we have a feeling that only the two top-most slots are PCI Express 3.0.
There are also four x1 PCI Express slots, the standard set of six Intel SATA ports and an angled header for two front USB 3.0 ports.
MSI has been fairly conservative with features for overclockers on this board though, as it has the typical Voltage read-out points which MSI has on several of its regular models too, a POST80 debug LED and the only really new addition is the 6-pin power connector at the front of the board for extra power to the graphics cards and a pair of BIOS chips with a manual switch to select between the two. However, the key selling point of this board as far as overclockers are concerned is that MSI offers a warranty that covers overclocking, in other words, if the boards fails due to being overclocked, MSI will repair or replace it.
The rear I/O is home to a PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out, a DisplayPort and an HDMI port, as well as a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi dongle. We have to applaud MSI for getting rid of the D-sub connector that the company even included on its high-end Z77A-GD80 motherboard, there’s simply no need for that connector on motherboards over a certain level.
Next up we have the X79 MPower which as the model name suggests is based on the Intel X79 chipset. Here we get three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots as well as two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots and a single x1 PCI Express slot.
MSI has also kitted out the board with eight DIMMs, six SATA 6Gbps ports, four SATA 3Gbps ports and two front USB 3.0 ports. There are fewer overclocking specific features here though, although you do get two 8-pin 12V connectors here for extra power delivery to the CPU and the same selectable BIOS option as on the Z77 MPower.
The rear port layout is similar to its Z77 sibling with a PS/2 port, four USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-channel audio with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Kitguru says: You do of course get the same warranty with the X79 Mpower and we can see these boards being particularly popular with new overclockers that want to give LN2 cooling a try.