The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard still sports the same color scheme, which didn’t change much from its previous version on the Z87 chipset motherboard. Some might think this color scheme is a little over-played, but we think that the theme is still very much appreciated! This is because the black and red aesthetics are a huge improvement in design appeal over the older traditional classic design motherboard. MSI added some revisions to the dragon logo on the S/B heatsink, and we also see changes on the VRM heatsink with a new claw style. We enjoy the new unique look. We appreciated this from MSI and hope we continue to see this design or maybe different variations of it in the future.
When it comes to the software package, MSI continues to include an abundant variety. The extensive software package that was available with the motherboard really made it stand out. They continue to impress in this sector with each new motherboard release. It’s like getting all the bells and whistles without paying that premium price tag. Some may think that all this is bloatware, but we find many of the applications to be rather useful. We did see quite a few software improvements as well, and this was especially appreciated since this board offered quite a bit of unique features such as the Killer E2200 NIC, Audio Boost 2 udpates, and Xsplit Gamecaster. All of these were designed to enhance your experience while gaming or playing media.
For performance, this motherboard performed as we expected. Because this board was developed on an ATX format, the layout hasn’t changed much with the exception of the M.2 PCIe Gen 2 x2 slot. We also had no trouble with its installation and set-up, which was a great sign. With the 4770K, we found that our 2133MHz memory was able to run at the advertised speeds with little to no work. All we had to do was enable the XMP profiles and we were set. In the OC sector, using the OC Genie to reach speeds of 4.0GHz was easy, and we were able to manually overclock to 4.5GHz with little work. While overclocking can vary, its nice to see a small package packed with a punch.
As far as performance is concerned, when we look at our benchmark comparisons with the Z87 series boards, we didn’t find a whole lot of benefit changing from your current Z87 chipset motherboard. That is, unless you plan on taking advantage of the M.2 SATA port, or plan to upgrade to the newer Intel processors that are due to release sometime next year. The board overclocked quite nicely as we mentioned. While the overclocking will vary from chip to chip, the motherboard does play a big role in its overclocking stability. We didn’t have any stability issues with the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Edition board up to 4.5GHz. Only heat became our enemy in this sector as we moved the voltage up. Still, with the 4770K Processor, all we had to do was find its sweet spot with speed and voltage and we were off to the races. Once you find that, this motherboard is rock solid.
We found the board priced at $159.99 on Newegg.com, which is a great value for a mid/high range Gaming Motherboard. Intel’s NDA on the board releases were originally set for May 11th, 2014, but it seems that many have already broken the NDA and started sales on the board as early as last week. Considering everything we learned today, we cheerfully honor the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard with the PureOverclock Editors Choice Award. It is a rock solid and aesthetically appealing piece of hardware.