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Motherboard MSI Z77 MPower Review

The release of motherboards from MSI has always been accompanied by some boom. Either it's a new technological approach or a catching design that draws clients, but MSI managed to make its products a desirable acquirement. A new motherboard MSI Z77 MPower is not an exclusion. The manufacturer enlivens into the product all its developments which could be interesting for the most demanding enthusiasts and devotees of utmost frequencies.

Design and Delivery Set

The implementation of black color scheme into Z77 MPower design is a signifier of a high-end product. Black coloring has been given not only to the printed circuit board but also to the integrated sockets and outputs. PCB is characterized by dull coverage. The intensification of visual effects is achieved by gray and metallic components of the cooling system, as well as bright yellow stripes on the radiator plates. Such color combination adds refinement to the standard appearance of the motherboard.

The nominal delivery set of MSI Z77 MPower is quite versatile. The user will find a detailed manual, CD with dedicated software and drivers, a plug for the rear plate of the casing, SLI bridge, six interface SATA cables, Wi-Fi antenna with the extension cord, adapters for the connection of multimeter to V-Check Points, and M-Connector panels for the convenient connection of indicators.

Integration

Upon the whole, the motherboard integration is rather habitual. Power subsystem is represented by fifteen DrMOS II chips. The company employs the second generation of transistor layout that offers more efficiency and dual protection from overheating. The chips are covered by non-usual radiators which have got profile-like shape. Equal heat management is achieved due to 8 mm heat pipe. The central part of the board accommodates an additional radiator that partakes directly in the process of cooling; it is connected with the main power system coolers by a heat pipe. MSI employs high-quality components in the chains which correspond to the Military Class III specifications: throttles with ferrite cores, solid-state capacitors and tantalum capacities.

The motherboard is equipped with three PCI Express x16 slots that can be engaged in various configurations. When all slots are involved, they will operate in x8+x4+x4 mode; this will enable the creation of a configuration with three graphics cards in 3-way CrossFireX mode (AMD chips). If the user employs Nvidia adapters, he'll be able to create SLI configuration. In addition, the user can overclock the graphics cards in multi-GPU mode thanks to the supplementary 6-contact socket on the motherboard.

Expansion cards are connected by means of four PCI Express x1 sockets. MSI refused to integrate older PCI sockets in favor to the more progressive solutions. The top-right part of the motherboard accommodates an Easy Button 3 set (Power, Reset and OC Genie II). V-Check Points panel is located next to the main power supply socket; this panel allows the customer to monitor the voltage on basic board nods with the help of multimeter. Debug LED indicator is an integral component of the product, as well as two BIOS chips. The interface panel contains Clear CMOS button similar to other models delivered by MSI.

CPU environment is quite spacious for the installation of large cooling systems. Connection of the cooling system is realized via five 4-contact sockets. Total Fan Control technology provides for the adjustment of fan rotational speed from UEFI and operational system interfaces.

Functional

The layout of disk subsystem employs the facilities of Intel Z77 chip only: four SATA 3 Gb/sec and a couple of SATA 6 Gb/sec ports. The motherboard is furnished with the progressive Atheros AR9271 controller (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 3/0 module and an additional USB 3.0 controller which promotes for the connection of up to 8 devices. The interface panel boasts the availability of two USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, Ethernet plug, PS/2 port, and CMOS button. Video outputs are represented by DisplayPort and HDMI ports. Audio subsystem consists of six audio sockets and a single S/PDIF output.

System Settings

Along with a set of standard system settings, MSI Z77 MPower offers all customers a unique and useful option: GO²BIOS. There is a special button on the motherboard the activation of which automatically uploads UEFI shell right after the system restart. Such option will be beneficial for overclockers who would like to reduce the time on updates.
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  • 24 September 2012, 18:21
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