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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

Motherboard Testing Methodology

After a few years of testing motherboards, I've noticed that motherboards based on the same chipset tend to have very similar performance. This wasn't always the case, but now that the memory controller's in the processor, and the PCI-E lanes are in the chipset, it's not surprising that everyone's "Y22" chipset motherboard performs pretty much alike...at stock settings, anyway.

So testing motherboards, unlike testing CPUs or video cards, is more about examining the proprietary features that make one different from another, as well as testing a board's overclocking ability, especially if it's marketed to the enthusiast community.

I tested the MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX board with a Core i7-4770K CPU at both stock and overclocked speeds. For the overclock, I used the OC Genie button at both its "Gear 1" and "Gear 2" settings, as well as the highest manual overclock I could achieve.

Test System

  • Motherboard: MSI Z87 MPOWER MAX with BIOS E7815IMS v1.2b1
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K "Haswell" CPU
  • System Memory: 8G (2x4G) Kingston HyperX Genesis DDR3-1600 KHX1600C9D3X2K2/8GX at 9-9-9-27 timings
  • Video Card: AMD Radeon HD6850
  • CPU Cooler: Prolimatech Super Mega
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Benchmark Applications

  • Finalwire AIDA64 v2.99.2446 (Beta version for Haswell CPUs)
  • SPECViewPerf 11
  • x264HD 5.0

I'll start with synthetic benchmarks 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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