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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

Motherboard Testing Methodology

Motherboards based on the same chipset tend to have very similar performance. This wasn't always the case, but now that the memory controller is in the processor, and the PCIe lanes are in the chipset, it's not surprising that everyone's "Z77" chipset motherboard performs pretty much stock settings, anyway.

The MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard is, as the name suggests, primarily a gaming platform. With the right CPU overclocking is facilitated, but this motherboard isn't all about overclocking. There is only a 6-phase CPU power setup, enhanced power circuitry and extra power connectors are reserved for the Z77A-G45's bigger brother, the Z77A-GD65 GAMING Motherboard.

I will test the motherboard using the synthetic AIDA64 benchmark's CPU tests as well as a "real world" benchmark, SPECviewperf, at stock, OC Genie overclock settings, and the best "hand tuned" overclock I can reach. MSI's "OC Genie" raised the 2600K's stock speed of 3.4GHz to 4.2GHz, and I was able to reach 4.5GHz after a little bit of tweaking and a few BSOD's when I pushed too hard.

Test System

  • Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING motherboard with BIOS V17.0B4
  • Processor: 3.4GHz 2nd Gen' Intel Core i7-2600K "Sandy Bridge" CPU
  • System Memory: 8GB Corsair LP DDR3 1600MHz CL9
  • Disk Drive 1: OCZ Vertex 2 60GB
  • Video Card: MSI GTX 560Ti HAWK
  • CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14
  • PSU: Corsair HX750W 750 watt Modular
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (SP1)

Benchmark Applications

  • AIDA64 v2.85.2400
  • SPECViewPerf 11

Let's start out with AIDA64 synthetic benchmarks.



# 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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