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Written by David Ramsey   
Saturday, 01 June 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI Z87 MPower MAX Motherboard
Closer Look: Z87 MPOWER MAX
Z87 MPOWER MAX Proprietary Features
MSI Z87 UEFI
MPOWER MAX Software
Bundled Software Continued
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
x264HD 5.0 Tests
ATX Motherboard Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

ATX Motherboard Overclocking

There are few signs that a motherboard was designed for overclocking more obvious than dual EPS power connectors such as the ones we see on this motherboard. If you overlook those, perhaps the signed and dated 24-hour overclocking test sheet would be a clue, or the giant (handy!) fold-out overclocking tips sheet.

But the results on the overclocking test sheet were from an OC Genie "Gear 2" overclock, which bumps the multiplier to 42x resulting in 4.2GHz. While the benchmarks in the previous sections show it's a nice dollop of free performance, no automated process (yet) beats some hand-tweaking.

Although Intel's made the classic base clock adjustment a viable overclocking mechanism with Haswell, my experience with this same is that it overclocks even worse than Ivy Bridge, itself a significant step down from Sandy Bridge. Granted, as of the time of this review this is the only functioning motherboard I've been able to test the Core i7-4770K in, but I suspect I won't see anything dramatically better with other motherboards.

haswell_oc.jpg

Many people don't seem to realize that Intel's quoted maximum boost multiplier of 39x only applies to one core under load-- load down all four cores, and you're looking a only 57x (3.7GHz). Yeah, that's conservative, and many motherboards (including this one) offer "Turbo Enhancement" features that run all four cores at the maximum multiplier. That's the way I like to run, but you'll need a really good cooler to be able to sustain a 45x multiplier under load for any amount of time. Like Ivy Bridge, Haswell runs very hot under load, 22nm low-leaking transistors notwithstanding. The best I was able to do was 4.5GHz on all cores at 1.3v. Even adding another 50MHz with a base clock tweak would cause the system to crash in some benchmarks.

Of course, this relatively modest overclock didn't come anywhere close to needing the second 8-pin EPS power connector MSI provides, but perhaps it could be pressed into service for dry ice/acetone or LN2 runs.

I'll give my final thoughts and conclusion on this motherboard in the next section.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: MSI Z87 MPower MAX MotherboardChris 2013-06-10 05:05
It's a pretty good board - my bet is that the main competition will be the Asus Maximus VI Formula, which I imagine will have a similar price point.

The higher end version is the XPower II, which is basically a bigger version that can support 4 GPUs.

At this point, to be honest, I really don't have a preference for motherboard makers - it's really going to come down to what they offer. I personally am willing to pay more, but where the experience is worth it.

I find that the top of the line boards right now don't offer much for the average air/water OC'er the "Maximus Extreme" or "XPower" (unless you run 3-4 GPUs), but that the tier right below though is basically as good as it gets for air cooling.
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# RE: MSI Z87 MPower MAX MotherboardChris 2013-06-10 05:34
I seem to be getting issues with the comment system - not sure why. Hopefully this posts (I had to split this in two).

Among the other competitors, I should also mention that Gigabyte Z87X-OC, which is a pretty good board as well - it's pretty much a stripped down board. I haven't seen Asrock's or the other competitor's boards.

Right now I do feel like Asus has the best EFI implementation. The other components though - yeah it's well, too close to call I think. It'll come down to a combination of your faith in the brand, what the company offers at the price point you're looking for, and the general reaction of these boards.
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