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MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX Review (w/ 4770k / HD7990 / 2,933mhz DDR3)

We like the appearance of the MSI Z87 MPOWER Max – it is based around a black PCB with yellow accenting on the heatsinks.
The MSI Z87 MPOWER Max is an ATX Form Factor board measuring 30.4cm x 24.4 cm. MSI claim this board is ‘OC Certified’.

They say “OC Certified is a military class burn-in test for motherboards. Running Prime95 for over 24 hours with a highly overclocked CPU is already a stressing endeavor, but removing all airflow from the motherboard ensures that only the best motherboards survive. If a motherboard can survive this, it can survive any overclocking situation.

The MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX motherboard is equipped with all the necessary features to make sure you get the most out of your system. From the Enhanced PWM and Thermal Design that give you the best stability to all the easy features that ensure that you don’t have to perform a lot of tricks to get great stability in your quest for performance.”

The latest Military class ‘4’ is incorporated into the board design. MSI are using Hi-C Caps, Super Ferrite Chokes and Dark CAPs to ensure stability under the most taxing situations.
There is a large heatsink around the CPU socket, although there is plenty of room for large coolers to fit. MSI are using a new board design for this product, formed on 6 PCB layers.

They say “50% more layers are used. This allows us to optimize all traces for overclocking. Power and signal traces are isolated, resulting in higher efficiency and performance and more features can be installed relatively close to each other without causing interference.”
There are two eight pin power connectors to help improve overclocking stability. We only needed to use one of these throughout the review today, more on that later.
There are four DIMM slots on this board, Supporting up to 32GB of memory in a dual channel configuration. It supports DDR3 3000(OC)/ 2800(OC)/ 2666(OC)/ 2400(OC)/ 2200(OC)/ 2133(OC)/ 2000 (OC)/ 1866 (OC) / 1600 / 1333 and 1066mhz. There is full support for Intel’s Extreme Memory Profile (XMP).
The board supports 2 Way Crossfire and 2 Way Nvidia SLI Technology and Lucidlogix Virtu MVP 2.  If you have no experience with overclocking, there is an OC Genie button at the bottom. We like the Go2BIOS button – press it before you start or restart the system and it will post immediately into the BIOS.

MSI are using a Killer E2200 internet chip with this board – with the dedicated software installed on the optical media.

The complete audio circuitry is isolated from other features, you’ll enjoy less interference and more stability.

• Studio level integrated 600Ω headphone amplifier
• Golden audio jacks for pure audio signals
• EMI shielded audio codec
• High quality audio capacitors
• Illuminated audio PCB separation

There are eight SATA connectors on the board, six of these are controlled by the Intel Z87 Express chipset and the remaining two are controlled by the Asmedia ASM1061 Chipset. They are all SATA 6Gbps ports which is a great improvement over the previous Z77 chipset. No more hunting through a manual to find which ports to use with a new Solid State Drive.

There is RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 support as well via the Intel Z87 Express Chipset.

The rear panel has the following connectors:

  • 1x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1x Clear CMOS button
  • 6x USB 3.0 ports
  • 1x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
  • 2x HDMI ports
  • 1x DisplayPort
  • 1x LAN (RJ45) port
  • 6x OFC audio jacks

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