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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Small Overclocking Test

Most low end boards are bundled with a minimalistic amount of accesoires, nor the includion of 3rd party chips on the PCB, to reduce the costs as much as possible. Usually the BIOS features are very rudimentary too. What we are especially missing are first of all the voltages for the CPU memory controller, which could be important when running high specced RAM kits. Of course you can start the discussion wether or not this is a real requirement as hardly anybody buying a cheap ass board will invest in a 400 dollar RAM kit. True, but sometimes it can be the difference between running eg. 4 DIMMS stable or not.

In our case we tested the G.Skill dual channel TridentX 8GB kit running stock at 2666MHz C11. Due to the lacking voltage settings we couldn't get these stable without loading the XMP profile. If we loaded the G.Skill XMP profile, the rig booted right up and passed the HyperPi 32M at 8 threads without any hickups.



XMP profiles have been heavily discussed between manufacturers and it's enthusiast end users. Imagine running an older kit based on PSC or BBSE rams. Your socket 1155 board dies and you opt for eg for this MSI Z7A-G43 motherboard. You might have to settle with running your 2133MHz kit at 1866 or worst case scenario at 1600MHz. It will all depend on the RAM kit, quantity ( 2-4 DIMMs ) and your CPU's IMC. My 2600K needs a small bump in voltage to stabilise it 2133MHz.




For our CPU overclock we didn't push hard as the board only allowed up to add with one bios version to +0,06. With latest 2.4 BIOS version we have access to +0,16 volts wich is far more acceptable. Keep in mind that the CPU Vcore voltage has a significant droop/drop. Even with the low +0,06 we were just able to keep our i7-3770K at 4500MHz. More than suitable for most demanding applications you can throw at it and the G43 has been running at them speeds for over a week now without any hickups.

The OC genie function also works on the light side. MSI opted to not go with BClocking nor RAM dividers adjustments. Just a small boost up to 39X multiplier. Once we enabled the XMP RAM profile we were stuck at 37X multiplier.



Both screenshots are done with prime95 running the small FFT test ( 8 threads ): on the left with XMP and OC Genie enabled, on the right without XMP and the setup is running a tad faster. Another thing the MSI bios team has to look into.

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