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MSI Z87 MPower MAX Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
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

MPOWER MAX Software

With the base capabilities of any motherboard defined by the CPU and the chipset, vendors strive to distinguish their products, which they can do either with enhanced hardware or software. Most of the top tier vendors these days do both: MSI adds enhanced power circuitry, wireless connectivity, extra USB and SATA ports, and other hardware features, but with their Z87 line they've stepped up their software game. The main exhibit here is the new MSI Command Center. The idea is to provide some of the status and control you'd normally need to drop into the BIOS to work with up at the Windows level.

command_ctr_cpu.jpg

Of course if you're overclocking from the Command Center, you'll need to be able to adjust voltages too. Command Center doesn't provide power control (vdroop, etc.) though.

command_ctr_voltage.jpg

You can leave Command Center running, and by doing so you get some useful capabilities, like the ability to set warning thresholds for voltages, fan speeds, and component temperatures.

command_ctr_warning.jpg

A recording feature lets you designate what to record, and for how long, great for stress testing and overclocking runs...or just seeing how toasty things get during a gaming session with your overclock settings.

command_ctr_history.jpg

As you'd expect, you can also use Command Center to drill down deep into hardware details, such as RAM timings.

command_ctr_memory_detail.jpg

You can collapse the Command Center main window into a small status window you can leave on the screen. Since Microsoft has tossed the idea of sidebar apps, stuff like this is especially useful under Windows 8.

command_ctr_status.jpg

I'll continue with the bundled MPOWER MAX software 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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