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MSI Z87M Gaming mATX Motherboard Review

Automatic CPU Overclocking (OC Genie 4):

BIOS-OC-Genie-default-1 BIOS-OC-Genie-default-2

MSI’s OC Genie 4 automatic overclocking tool can be configured via the UEFI BIOS or via the onboard button. The default setting applied a 4.00GHz CPU frequency to our 4770K and opted for a 1.100V VCore. Other settings remaining untouched.

Our memory operated at its rated frequency of 2133MHz, but OC Genie 4 had automatically applied the secondary XMP profile which used a 50mV higher DRAM voltage. This didn’t present an issue for us, but it may for users of memory kits with XMP profiles of different frequencies.

This is actually a fairly well-tuned setting for the 4770K as it provides a small clock speed boost, but does so with a reduction in the VCore level.

OC-Genie-low

We had no stability problems with the default settings that MSI’s OC Genie 4 applied.

Eager to see what OC Genie 4 was capable of at its higher setting, we flipped the board-mounted dip switch to the position nearest the onboard buttons.

BIOS-OC-Genie-High-1 BIOS-OC-Genie-High-2

After a quick reboot we were met by a 4.20GHz CPU frequency for our 4770K. OC Genie 4 set CPU VCore at 1.225V in order to maintain stability at 4.20GHz. As was the case with OC Genie’s default setting, all other voltages and frequencies remained untouched, with the exception of our memory’s XMP profile.

OC-Genie-High-Switch OC-Genie-High-valid

The automatic overclock validation using OC Genie 4’s highest level can be found here.

Manual CPU Overclocking:

To test the MSI Z87M Gaming motherboard’s CPU overclocking potential, we first increased the CPU VCore to 1.325V, Cache voltage to 1.275V, and CPU Input Voltage (called VCCIN) to 1.900V.

BIOS-OC-Manual-1 BIOS-OC-Manual-2

Taking our 4770K to its limit of 4.50GHz was as easy as increasing our desired voltages and setting the multiplier to 45x. Unlike some motherboards from competing vendors, MSI’s Z87M Gaming was happy to take our desired settings and actually apply them. We didn’t need to fuss about with load-line calibration or offset voltages.

The ease of overclocking with MSI’s Z87M Gaming motherboard is a testament to its stable and effective (performance-wise) BIOS implementation.

4500MHz-OC 4500MHz-OC-valid

Voltage accuracy from the Z87M Gaming was excellent. The motherboard set our CPU VCore to within 1mV of what we set through the BIOS.

We pushed for stability at 4.6GHz, but as has been the case for every other Z87 motherboard that we have tested with our 4770K, a BSOD would quickly ruin our attempts.

Our 4.5GHz overclock validation can be viewed here.

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