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MSI Z77 Mpower motherboard overview (with pictures!)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

MSI Z77 MPower overview 1

 

 ?ui=2&ik=ceb8e78979&view=att&th=139439d95b881737&attid=0.1&disp=emb&zw&atsh=1

MSI is the classic story of a company with great persistence. They may not have the best reputation on this forum, but these notions really should be pushed aside, because with the Z77 Mpower, they are on to something special. There are hundreds of physical overviews on the internet already, so I will keep mine to the point. Most of what is here are things that I personally REALLY like about the board. I will be breaking down the ICs and other chips on the board in a separate thread, so stay tuned.

 

Board layout

(camera was having trouble with the light here sorry)

tpwi1h.jpg

 

The Z77 Mpower uses a nice matte black PCB. This is completely matte black, and it looks amazing in person. The yellow accents are really tasteful. Haven’t seen many black/yellow builds out there, but maybe this will start a new trend. It is a nice break from the overused black/red motif that we see all too often today.

 

 

Eaf5jh.jpg

 

MSI redesigned their heatsinks for this generation. They termed it “low airflow optimized”. You can see by the low density that this would seem to be what they were aiming for. This is done likely to accommodate their target market, who often use liquid cooling, which does not allow for much airflow to the VRM. (see below, sorry for focus) Here we also see MSI’s “Super-pipe”, which is basically just marketing code for “really big heatpipe, that helps keep things cool”

 

moving on:

 

GBKQ1h.jpg

 

Here is a shot of the underside of that VRM heatsink, and the PCH heatsink. We can see that he third fin array on the VRM heatsink doesn’t contact anything, so it is there purely to increase surface area for the VRM only. Since the PCH has a TDP of under 7W, the supplied heatsink will be more than adequate.

 

bMB0Eh.jpg

 

From left to right: PS/2 + 2X USB 2.0, BIOS reset button, Bluetooth module+2X USB3.0, WiFi module + 2X USB 3.0, Gigabit LAN + 2X USB 3.0, digital audio out + HDMI + displayport, 7.1 audio.

 

Pretty standard as far as port selection goes. I doubt many users will find anything to be desired. Nice to see PS/2 especially on an overclocking oriented board. USB keyboards get a bit funky under sub-zero stuff.

 

Vf9d7h.jpg

 

MSI didn’t go too crazy with the accessory bundle on the board. For me this is nice, because I don’t need any more SATA cables, or SLI bridges…\

 

You can also see the “Certificate of Quality and Security” in this shot. Basically it just says that; this board has been tested for 24 hours under Prime95 to ensure stability and functionality. Every Mpower board that leaves the factory is tested like this. The idea is that it prevents DOA boards, and therefore should reduce returns, and end user hassle.

 

 

OC Specific features:

9YP6Lh.jpg

 

MSI calls these "Easy Buttons". They allow you to easily power on/reset the board while it is not in a case. (for example when it is on a test bench) Always one of my favorite things to see on overclocking oriented boards. So much nicer to be able to start the PC without having to use a screwdriver.

 

 

 

These two photos show the BIOS reset switch (top) and "GO2BIOS" button (bottom). The BIOS reset switch is convieniently placed so you can access it even when you have the Mpower installed in a case.

 

The GO2BIOS is a nifty little feature that allows the board to boot directly to the BIOS. No more hammering "del" and hoping it works. yay!

 

4Yytsh.jpg

 

MSI has been including V-Check points on their motherboards for a while now, and I am really glad to see it has persisted through to this generation. Easy voltage checkpoints like these are really a time saver when overclocking. Traditionally you would have to take your multimeter, and search around the board, to hope to find something that reads what looks like your CPU/RAM/PLL/etc voltage. These checkpoints just make all of that information available in one place.

 

 

That's all for now folks. Stay tuned, eventually I'll have a detailed breakdown of all the ICs and stuff on the board, as well as the VRM, and how it works. Furthermore, next week I hope to have some sub-zero results to post.

 

thanks for reading

-reflex

 

 

Big thanks to MSI for helping me out here.


Edited by reflex99 - 9/16/12 at 7:25pm
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post #2 of 6
Hurry up reflex, we need more indepthness.

Love my mpower so far.
 
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagle3092 View Post

Hurry up reflex, we need more indepthness.
Love my mpower so far.

what do you want to see? I can try to work on that first.

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post #4 of 6
VRM breakdown personally. Also I'm pretty sure theres only 1 bios reset, the one on the back. The other is for boot to bios if I remember correctly.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
Edited by nagle3092 - 9/16/12 at 5:47pm
 
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post #5 of 6
i like it relfex thumb.gif
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagle3092 View Post

VRM breakdown personally. Also I'm pretty sure theres only 1 bios reset, the one on the back. The other is for boot to bios if I remember correctly.
Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

 

I'm working on the VRM part. It is kinda strange i think.

 

Thanks for the correction, you are right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sin0822 View Post

i like it relfex thumb.gif

thanks. I had some inspiration ;)

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