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MSI Z87M Gaming mATX Motherboard Review

The performance of onboard storage interfaces is crucial on a modern motherboard. We use the ATTO disk benchmark to measure the speed provided by the motherboard’s onboard USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s storage controllers.

For SATA 6Gb/s testing we use a Kingston HyperX 3K SSD. We tested USB 3.0 performance using the same Kingston HyperX 3K SSD connected to a SATA 6Gb/s to USB 3.0 adapter powered by an ASMedia ASM1053 controller.

sata-kingston-hyperx

Given that MSI uses the Z87 chipset for its internal SATA 6Gb/s ports, it is no surprise that speed limitations with a fast SSD are non-existent.

usb 3

usb3-kingston-hyperx

Lacking a specific UASP-activating tool, the USB 3.0 performance of MSI’s Z87M Gaming cannot compete with alternatives which make use of UASP. While higher numbers for USB 3.0 transfer speeds are clearly favourable, the proportion of the Z87M Gaming’s target audience which will be using an external drive capable of more than 300MB/s is going to be very small.

On the other hand, for those who do possess a fast external drive to transfer large amounts of content from system to system, the default USB 3.0 transfer speeds provided by MSI’s motherboard are a far cry from those output by competing options from ASRock and Asus. The 18-27% performance deficit against ASRock’s typical option will not be welcomed by a user who regularly transfers game data or recordings.

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