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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Test Setup and Specifications

Testing Methodology and Results

Our test setup comprises out of the following hardware :

  • Intel i7-3770K ES CPU at 4500Mhz
  • 16Gb G.Skill RipjawsZ 2133 C9-11-10-27 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.

Specifications of the MSI MPOWER board are:

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