MSI Z87-G45 Gaming ReviewBluePanda - August 7, 2013
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MSI Z87-G45 Introduction:
Almost two months ago, ccokeman showed us MSI's Z87-GD65 motherboard with full features built around the Z87 PCH and LGA socket 1150 Core series processors. Today I'll be showing you just a step down from that MSI board -- the MSI Z87-G45. For just a little less than the GD65, the G45 can be owned by you for just $154.99. It's still a bit up there in price if you are looking for an "affordable" board -- but it is one of the lower priced boards on the market that is still of relatively high caliber. The MSI Z87-G45 was designed for gaming and with the imposing look of the MSI Dragon on the box and board, it really sells a strong look. High frag and low lag with the Killer E2200 Game Networking, clear sound with Audio Boot, superb graphics with VGA Boost, and blazing fast boot times with Super RAID are all supposed gaming weapons of the Z87-G45; but is it all talk? Or, can this dragon really breathe fire?
This board does indeed look as neat as the MSI Z87-GD65, and without laying them directly next to each other you'd almost swear they were the same board. The colors and general layout are the same as well as the clever dragon cutout on the lower heatsink. There are some obvious loss of features from the higher end board (such as the heat pipe on the VRMs and some OC buttons) but I would expect such for the reduced cost to me. Let's get this board to the test bed and see how well it performs; not everything is about how it looks (though this is pretty stellar despite my distaste for red and black themes).
MSI Z87-G45 Closer Look:
Taking a look at the retail packaging, it's quite the attention whore of a box; however, if you aren't too careful you'll easily mistake this for the Z87-GD65 or vice versa. It has the same bold black and red coloring with the tribal-style dragon emblem drawn up on the front. In all actuality the box is a near replica of what we've seen on the GD65; it's EXACTLY the same front and back with the phrasing Z87-GD65 replaced everywhere with Z87-G45. It's not too surprising really, as both boards are targeted at the same group; only real difference is the cost and some onboard hardware changes. But back to the box, in case you missed it in the other review, there is a the large gold seal on the front showing off the MSI three-year warranty. You actually have plenty of time for something to go wrong and still be covered by MSI's services. The box also sports the Killer E2200 NIC it has built in and the major support to Intel for the core and chipset.
The back of the box goes on to rattle off some more key features, again promoting the Killer 2200 Ethernet, which is said to do away with lag by eliminating latency and ping spikes while you play. There is also the Audio Boost, which you'll see is also advertised on the board itself, to "reward your ears". It is built with EMI Shielding, high-quality parts, and is all there to ensure you get the most optimal audio reproduction in games, movies, and music. Among other things is the multiple-GPU capabilities, Sound Blaster Cinema software, Class IV Military Standard components to "keep you cool in the heat of a battle", and the ever infamous OC Genie 4. AND, if you are super serious about your gaming, the board features special PS/2 and USB ports with triple gold plating for high-frequency gaming devices -- nothing can stop you! (Heed my sarcasm.)
The box is neatly packed inside with the MSI Z87-G45 board sitting on its own little platform inside the box, thus all you see when you open the box is its wonderful glory. Beneath it is two separated sections providing support to the board as well as neat little containment for all the extra gizmos that come along with it. You get your standard documentation with a user guide, warranty information and a CD with drivers and utilities to install (so no need for the Internet to start). Then you'll see your red and black backplate, a couple SATA cables, and an awesome door hanger to keep out any nuisance during your gaming hours.
It's a neat looking board and shares quite a lot with its grander sister -- let's just hope it can bring to the table an equivalent amount of awesome!