MSI Z77 MPOWER
OverviewHardware: CPU & Motherboards
WHAT WE LIKED:MSI's Z77 MPower has outstanding performance and is a juggernaut of an overclocker.
WHAT WE DISLIKED:Main power 24 pin area a bit cluttered, only 6 SATA ports.
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Months ago, we tested MSI’s Z77-GD55 and Z77-GD65. Both motherboards shined in every aspect. Today, MSI continues the trend with their latest product named the Z77 MPower. With rumors flying around that Asus is bidding to aquire ASRock, MSI is positioned to fill the number 3 spot of motherboard manufacturers with some kick ass product. In the past few years, we have seen MSI rise to the occasion with their Military Class components, overclock and performance capabilities, extensive UEFI Bios and the most comprehensive utility software package in the industry.
Starting with the UEFI Bios, it is very robust but if we were to nit pick, the main overclocking screen is a bit cluttered. Regardless, it has everything needed for SandyBridge and IvyBridge processors. The Overclocking software called Big Bang Control Center is also robust and has everything you need. The kicker of BBCC is it is incorporated into the mothertboard and all overclocking (including dry ice runs) can happen in Windows with no crashing. Click Bios II is also another creative feature that gives a duplicate interface of the UEFI Bios in Windows with the same tabs. (How much easier can all this get?)
All the add ons MSI includes are ridiculously extensive. Network, Teaming, Audio and Video Genie are a few extras MSI includes to make the package complete. The Z77 MPower is one of the few products that includes a huge variety of intuitive extras, and that is why MSI is on the rise. When it comes to features and extras, they stay outside the box (no pun intended) and we haven’t even hit on the overclocking prowess yet.
The layout of the MSI Z77 MPower is good. MSI does clutter the 24 main power connector with voltage checkpoints and an extra 6 pin power connector for additional graphics cards, but again, this is just a niggle. Perhaps they can relocate one or the other next run so we will leave that as minor recommendation. Also, the Z77 MPower only has 6 SATA ports so if your looking for mega raid or multiple drives, you will need to look to MSI’s Z77A-GD80 for additional SATA ports. The aesthetics bring a black mono look and MSI keeps up with the industry trend here by adding a hint of yellow. The look is not borax or overdone. Overclocking prowess took our Intel core i7 3770K to another level. Using Overclock Genie, the MPower tuned 4.2GHz stable 24/7 for a small performance boost by pushing the OC Genie button on the motherboard or selecting it in Control Center. We hit just short of 5.1GHz using custom water, which is an outstanding result. The temps immediately shot up to the high 80’s with Prime95 causing us to abort any stabilty testing, so be careful when overclocking these IvyBridge processors. The bonus was our Dry Ice run. Although we tried in vain to hit 6GHz, we settled for 5.93GHz which is amazing. MSI lives up to some serious overclocking potential with the Z77 MPower.
Time to take a breath… Usually, there are some high points and a few low points when testing motherboards but we had nothing but great things to say today. We could go on for sometime talking about what a treat and how much we enjoyed testing the MSI Z77 MPower, but we will simply say that MSI has a really great board here. The tip of the iceberg is the price. The Z77 MPower retails at $210 making it priced very competitively. We have seen some Z77 motherboards go for up to $280, and they did not live up to the performance prowess of this board. We are proud to award the MSI Z77 MPower a Pure Overclock Editor’s Choice Award.
“Pure Point: If you’re looking for great performance, top knotch overclocking potential without breaking the bank, The MSI Z77 MPower is exaclty what your looking for.”