MSI BIG BANG Z77 MPOWER Socket 1155 Mainboard Review

Motherboards/Intel S1155 by leeghoofd @ 2013-01-21

Designed for overclocking, usage of high grade military components and extreme durability are a few of the slogans the marketing people like to use to label a new product. The catchier the better, all of course to draw the attention of any potential buyer. Sometimes it's only the inclusion of an overclocking tool on the included driver CD that makes up for some of the bold PR claims. However for the enthusiast crowd almost each motherboard manufacturer has got a board or even an entire lineup specifically built with the highest quality components, OC friendly BIOSes and idem ditto board layouts. Sadly most of them boards retail at a steep price, as most OC designed boards are at the top of the lineup. Prices of over 350 dollars are quite common for an ATX format OC board. The Big Bang series are available already since the release of Intel's P55 chipset, MSI's range that are targeting gamers and enthusiasts. The Intel Z77 chipset based version is baptized as the BIG BANG Z77 MPOWER. Time to find out how this board reacts to the treatment at the Shrimps lab.

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A Closer Look Part II

Before we finish the tour of the top part of the board, let's have a look at the backplate. Benchers will applaud the presence of a PS2 connector. A total of 6 blue USB 3.0 ports and two black USB 2.0 should fulfill most needs for connectivity. Two USB 3.0 ports are controlled by the Z77 chipset, while the remaining four are handled by the Renesas® uDP72020. The purple plastic cover is for the Bluetooth, the black plastic one for the Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n adapter. Note that included in the box are also an antenna and a Wi-Fi range extender.





The backside of the PCB remains also pretty clean, you can see the heat-sink fixation screws. The MSI MPOWER has got three PCI-Express 3.0 16X slots and four PCI-Express 2.0 X1 slots for add-on cards. Too bad MSI didn't opt to include at least one 4X slot.



Spacing between the SLI/Crossfire ready 16X slots is ideal for most dual slot VGA cards. Only SLI and up to Tri-Crossfire is supported. The position of the CMOS clear jumper is a bit off, luckily the engineers provided us with a second clear CMOS RESET function via a button on the backplate.






A total of six Intel controlled S-ATA ports are foreseen, no addition of any aftermarket chips onto the PCB for extra SATA ports. This is one way of reducing the manufacturing costs and normal end users will have more than sufficient storage capacity with the ones provided. The USB3.0 connector is at a 90° angle, probably to aid the cable management, but once installed in a case it can be hard to reach. The LED poster serves two purposes, one is indeed displaying the post codes, but once in windows it starts to function as a temperature readout.


A dual BIOS option is welcome on a benchers board. One safe BIOS for daily usage and one for die-hard OC sessions. Or to just have backup when one bios might get corrupted. The Direct2Bios function button, allows us to enter straight into the bios without having to hammer the DELETE button on the keyboard.

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