This is the first of MSI’s overclocking motherboards that I have taken a look at and I have to say I am very impressed. Starting out with looks this has to be one of the best looking motherboards I have ever seen. The black and yellow design is awesome (especially being from Pittsburgh) and it really gives the black and red designs we have seen for so long a run for their money. I really like the attention to detail on the design as MSI has added the an “M” to the VRM heatsink and the heatsink on the PCH. Also the PCB isolation illumination and debug LED colors are yellow as well. The debug LED actually shows your CPU temperature in real time too, a nice little addition.
Of course this board is made for overclockers and you do get many overclocking features. First off this board is MSI OC Certified. What that means is that the motherboard has passed a military class burn-in test where they run Prime95 on a highly overclocked CPU for 24 hours and at the same time remove all airflow from the motherboard. This ensures that only the best motherboards survive. If a motherboard can survive this, it can survive any overclocking situation. The motherboard also boasts Military Class 4 components like Hi-c CAPs, Super Ferrite Core chokes and and Dark CAPs. These components will ensure stable and efficient overclocking. You do get voltage check points on this board and they have been improved so you can use 3 multi-meters at the same time. You do get base clock adjustment buttons right on the motherboard and you have slow and LN2 switches right on the motherboard.
Like most Z97 motherboards you have all of the features you would expect to get out of the Z97 chipset. We do not find any SATA Express ports on this board. There is an M.2 slot, which MSI does offer a SATA Express to M.2 adapter to bring SATA Express to this motherboard.
MSI provides a very great software suite with the Z97 MPower motherboard. The Command Center software allow you to easily tune your motherboard without having to go into the BIOS to do it. It also allows your to setup and tune your fans for the best performance. RAMDisk is a great addition to the software that allows you to create a RAMDisk out of available RAM in your system. Live Update makes it extremely easy to keep all of your drivers and software up to date. The BIOS itself works great and is extremely easy to navigate.
Of course being an overclocking motherboard we expected to easily be able to overclock our system. That was very true, I achieved a max stable overclock of 4.6 GHz on my Intel Core i7-4790K processor. I would have been able to go all the way up to 4.8 GHz, but temperature constraints kept me at 4.6 GHz. If you have an extreme cooling setup you are going to be able to push this motherboard quite far.
Right now the Z97 MPower motherboard is selling for $174.99 at my favorite online retailer. At this price you are getting a very solid motherboard that has a boatload of features. Overall ThinkComputers gives the MSI Z97 MPower Motherboard a 10 out of 10 score and our Editor’s Choice Award.
– Military Class 4 components
– Sleek design
– Useful software suite
– Easy overclocking
– Lots of great overclocking features
– Easy to use BIOS
– Audio Boost chip
– No SATA Express