MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX Reviewccokeman - July 11, 2013
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MSI Z87 MPOWER Max Conclusion:
Looking at overall performance you can see the variation between boards does not differ by much when all else is equal. That in itself is a testament to the repeatability of the platform as it delivers that comparable performance from board to board. Kind of like visiting your local golden arches and one far from home. It's the same, more or less, is the point. With all else being equal it comes down to how long the platform will be in service and the ability of the board to do exactly what you want to do with it.
As far as overclocking goes I was happy with what the Z87 MPOWER MAX had to offer as far as tuning and how well the basic tuning of the board was setup. Once you get past setting up the peripherals, memory timings. and voltage. there are only a few settings needed to run the numbers. I was able to max out my 4770K in a matter of 10 to 15 minutes and was able to run it with a lower applied voltage than used on several of the previous boards I have tested. Overclocking my G.Skill DDR3 2400MHz modules to over 2600MHz was just as easy on this board as on the M6H and Z87-GD65. Adjust the timings and voltage, apply the clock speed, and go is all it took.
With this iteration of MSI's Click BIOS 4 we get a BIOS that is now familiar and is incredibly easy to navigate. Flashing the BIOS in M-Flash works as intended over several new BIOS that I received during this review. The only concern I had was one that only a select few will run into having to do with how the Mad Catz mouse I use sends its signals to the BIOS. By sending two signals instead of one to the BIOS you get both scrolling and movement when using the mouse to navigate the BIOS. MSI has contacted the manufacturer and is working on a solution I am happy to say. (Edit: MSI has now resolved the concern in the Click BIOS)
MSI's Military Class IV design and feature set are front and center with the Z87 MPOWER MAX delivering the usual Hi-C Cap, Super Ferrite Choke, and Solid "Dark" capacitors that we all know about, but topping it off by adding a six-layer PCB with a new tighter, fiber weave that improves humidity resistance, reduces EMI emissions, and improves ESD protection, a new 20 phase DigitALL all digital power circuit, and MSI's OC Essential package. This package includes a dual BIOS, OC Genie 4 (that performed flawlessly), Direct OC buttons, Dual Debug LEDS, Clear CMOS button and jumper, and what has to be one of my all time MSI favorites, the captured V-Check points. These are great but MSI added a few more measurement points just below the socket that should be accessible when running on air or liquid, but could prove problematic once you insulate the board for sub zero cooling.
MSI's Audio Boost proved to be enjoyable as far as my ears can tell, delivering clean, crisp sound throughout the range of music, movies, and games. The yellow and black color scheme looks good although is not for everyone but you never know, yellow could be the next ced and in reality the boards I have tested with this color scheme have been beasts. Maybe there is something to it!
All in all I was pleased with what MSI brought to the table with the Z87 MPOWER MAX. It compared well with the rest of the boards I have looked at and is fully capable of delivering as much performance as your components will allow. At $259, MSI's MPOWER MAX is not a low buck option but does allow you to get your money's worth. When it comes to the end of the road and it's your money on the line, you really cannot go wrong with the MPOWER MAX!
- Click BIOS 4
- Military Class IV
- V-Check points
- Audio Boost sound
- Memory OC
- Software suite
- Massive accessory bundle