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MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Testing:

Testing the MSI Z97 XPOWER AC motherboard will involve running it through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which includes both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, so we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and NVIDIA drivers for the NVIDIA GTX 770. In the past, we had locked the clock speed on the processor to eliminate any easily controlled variables due to processor speed. However, there is a difference in how each manufacturer handles the CPU default and boost speeds, creating opportunity for one board to deliver a higher level of performance. This variable is a point of difference between boards. The majority of users will run the stock settings, making this point a valid concern, so we are changing up the test methods to capture this difference.

Testing Setup: Socket 1150


Comparison Motherboard:



Overclocked settings:

Different boards seem to like running my ES 4770K at different speeds, even though it is capable of running Prime 95 stable at 4.7GHz under water. In fact, every board I have tested with this chip has delivered a clock speed between 4.61GHz and 4.7GHz; a less than 100MHz range that when it comes down to it, is not a deal breaker since the juice is usually not worth the squeeze. This go round, with MSI's overclocking specific motherboard, I was fit right in that range at 4671MHz by using the 46 multiplier and a bclk of 101.55 using 1.29v set in the Click BIOS. The extra bclk gave me a little bit of a boost in the memory testing, but not a lot of other benefit. Then again, these little tweaks are what enable overclockers to set new records.

Manually tuning the BIOS is not the only way to overclock with the Z97 XPOWER AC. Due to the widely variable silicone available, there are some pretty hard and fast rules for the average user that have been debated over and over; but the general consensus has been 1.25v for high end AIO coolers and 1.30v for dedicated liquid cooling loops. That being said, using MSI's OC Genie one-touch overclocking in Gear 1, you get a 4.0GHz clock speed that is just barely over the 3.9GHz Turbo Boost speed of the Core i7 4770K. Moving to Gear 2, OC Genie gets a bit more aggressive and delivers a solid 4.2GHz clock speed with all cores loaded, and up to 4.4GHz when running in lightly threaded applications. Not bad for the press of a button and a redemption of the tool after the minimal overclocks over the past couple boards I have looked at.




Maximum Core Clock Speed:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the listed overclocked speeds. These clock speeds will represent the level of performance shown by the overclocked scores in the testing.




  • Scientific & Data:
  1. PCMark 7
  2. SiSoft Sandra 2014
  3. Cinebench 11.5
  4. X.264 5.1
  5. AIDA 64 3.00
  6. CrystalDiskMark
  7. ATTO 2.47
  8. iPerf
  9. RightMark Audio Analyzer
  • Gaming:
  1. 3DMark
  2. DiRT 3
  3. Metro: Last Light

  1. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Closer Look: The Board
  3. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Closer Look: Programs & Utilities
  4. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Closer Look: The BIOS
  5. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC: Specifications & Features
  6. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  7. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Testing: PCMark 7, SiSoft Sandra
  8. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Testing: Cinebench 11.5, X.264, AIDA 64
  9. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Testing: CrystalDiskMark, ATTO 2.47
  10. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Testing: iPerf, RMAA
  11. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Testing: Gaming
  12. MSI Z97 XPOWER AC: Conclusion
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