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MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard E-mail
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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Monday, 06 May 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard
Closer Look: Z77A-G45 GAMING
Z77A-G45 GAMING Detailed Features
MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Software
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Benchmarks
Z77A-G45 GAMING Power Consumption
Z77A-G45 GAMING Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Closer Look: MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard

MSI are giving Z77 one last chance to show what it is capable of before Intel release Haswell CPU's and Z78 socket Motherboards. It makes sense for MSI to release it's gaming line-up on an established platform since all issues have been ironed out by now and stability is crucial when releasing something new.


The box tells you everything you need to know while remaining minimal. There is no doubt about the purpose of this motherboard.


The MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard has a black colored PCB and rich red accents on the heatsinks. The first potential issue I noticed is the placement of the SATA ports, they are directly in line with the top PCIe 3.0 x16 slot and I noticed that my video card makes contact. The MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING motherboard supports up to 32GB DDR3 memory in its four DIMM slots. Depending on your CPU and RAM, it will support memory speeds up to 3000MHz (OC).

The PCIe lanes are laid out as follows:

  1. PCIe 2.0 x1
  2. PCIe 3.0 x16 (16 lanes)
  3. PCIe 2.0 x1
  4. PCIe 2.0 x1 (When populated #3 will not function)
  5. PCIe 3.0 x16 (16 lanes)
  6. PCIe 2.0 x1
  7. PCIe 2.0 x16 (x8 electrical, x4 speed)


The CPU socket looks quite crowded but your CPU's mounting mechanism will be the deciding factor here. The mounting system of the Noctua NH-D14 provides ample clearance above the capacitors and chokes surrounding the LGA115x socket and a low profile set of Corsair memory modules sit comfortably in DDR3 slots 2 and 4.


The Z77 chipset supports the integrated GPU of 2nd and 3rd Gen' Intel Core processors. Which video ports a board will provide is up to the vendor; MSI provides VGA, DVI, and HDMI outputs. Starting from the left, there's a combination PS/2 port for a mouse or keyboard, two USB 2.0 sockets, the Clear CMOS button, RCA and optical audio outputs, two more USB 2.0 ports and the HDMI connector, a gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 connectors, the VGA and DVI ports, and last a standard analog audio panel.


Storage is not one of the strongest points of this motherboard, MSI have provided only the ports that are supported by the CPU. SATA ports 1~2 are 6GB/s compliant while ports 3~6 are 3GB/s compliant.


The MSI dragon has migrated from their gaming notebook line to the desktop gaming platform, making a statement about MSI's commitment to PC gaming enthusiasts.



# RE: MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboardwill 2013-06-23 05:09
"Take from this what you will, but the results are clear cut enough to convince me that that it is worthwhile enabling the power saving settings available on the MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING motherboard. In the 60's and 70's there was a big ecology movement after oil prices had risen sharply and we collectively realised that we could not sustain our then current level of consumer lifestyles. In the ensuing years the economy changed for the better and consumption ramped up sharply. We now find ourselves consuming more than ever and we once again need to realise that natural resources can't possibly sustain us forever. We need to demand more energy efficient products. We need to demand better built and longer lasting hardware. But most of all, we need self control and a more conscious approach towards our consumer habits"

What a fantastic quote, very unusual for a MB review. Bravo
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# RE: RE: MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING MotherboardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2013-06-23 11:07
Thanks for the kind words Will. :)
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# Knowing is half the battle...WhyNotV2 2013-06-24 02:47
"I didn't spot it right away but a closer inspection of the VRM/phase heatsinks reveals that they are shaped like the head of a dragon. This is a nice touch but it will be inevitably lost in an enclosed system with a large CPU cooler much like my own."

This may be true, but YOU know they are there :)
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