MSI Z77A-G43 Socket 1155 Motherboard Review

Motherboards/Intel S1155 by leeghoofd @ 2012-10-04

Mostly we cover high end motherboards at the Shrimps due to our enthusiast reviewing nature. However not everybody has the funds to opt for a 200 or more Euros board. Sometimes a balance has to be found between the different components used, to stay below a certain budget. Most compromises have to be made in onboard features. Users tend to cash out more on the fastest CPU and/or GPU they can afford. In builds it's usually with motherboards where cutbacks are done and sometimes even a motherboard with a lower specced chipset is chosen. For socket 1155 MSI offers the budget minded user the choice to be able to buy a motherboard, based on the high end socket 1155 Intel Z77 chipset, yet all at a very affordable price. That's where the Z77A-G43 pops up, time to give the board a spin in the Madshrimps lab.

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Testing Methodology and Results

Let's see how the this entry level MSI Z77-G43 fairs against the competitors boards. Our test setup comprises out of the following hardware :

  • Intel i7-3770K ES CPU at 4500Mhz
  • 16Gb G.Skill RipjawsZ 2133c9-11-10-27 1T (XMP profile)
  • Nvidia GTX480 290.62 drivers
  • Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB HDD
  • Corsair 850TX PSU

Now why run the CPU overclocked ? This is done to avoid discrepancies between board manufacturers that either stay loyal to the Intel rules regarding the Turbo function or others that trick the Turbo into a single speed for all cores. Secondly it's an extra test to see if each board can keep our ES 3770K stable at 4500Mhz during the entire test suite. The 16GB of G.Skill memory also give a little bit more strain on the IMC ( memory controller ) as the four banks are being used. For the RAM  timings, we only set the main timings of 9-11-10-27, command rate 1T at 1.65Vdimm. All the second and tertiary timings are set by the bios. This allows us to get an idea how tight or loose them timings are programmed by the bios engineers.

Note that the two listed ASUS boards have been tested with very early BIOSes and results can vary.

As usual we are starting off with two tests that are being used at HWBot. SuperPi 32M is a single threaded ram related test, that depends heavily on RAM bandwith and timings. Wprime 1024 is a raw CPU test. Stressing all the cores thoroughly. Any weaknesses in Vcore or such will be imminent visible.



The little MSI Z77A G43 isn't fastest board out of the bunch. It's in fact a tad slower then the rest of the competition. Nice to spot in synthetic benchmarks, yet in real life conditions the end user will hardly notice the half a second difference in SuperPi 32M, nor the slowest result in WPrime 1024. If we look at the AIDA bandwith test the board is settling amongst the other boards, typical behaviour when we test motherboards based on the same chipset. BIOS refinements/optimisations make or break the board in these synthetic runs.




AIDA Photoworxx, relying heavily on the memory subsystem shows a similar outcome as the SuperPI 32M. The G43 scores just below the expected standard performance. But as stated before, during daily usage you hardly will notice the fewer percentages in performance. Cinebench continues in the same trend, while it's younger CB11 brother shows the Z77A-G43 right where it should be.





Fritz 12 Deep Chess test and X264HD encoding test continue on the same pace. The cheapest board in the line-up scoring average in the bench suite.




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