MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Motherboard Review

Motherboards/Intel S1150 by leeghoofd @ 2014-09-26

MSI continues to update their range of Overclocking motherboards with each new major chipset release. When Intel released their brand new socket 1150 Z97 chipset MSI was ready with another three motherboards targeted at the OC crowd. The affordable Z97 MPOWER exists in two versions: the Z97 MPOWER and the Z97 MPOWER MAX AC and the ultimate flagship of all LGA1150 motherboards must be the Z97 XPOWER AC. The latter being the one and only Z97 based motherboard supporting out of the box 4-way SLI GPU setups. The included accessories are too numerous to list, most interesting for overclockers will be the inclusion of the Delid guard and the OC Fan stand. Time to unravel MSI's latest OC addition...

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Delid Die Guard Tested

One of the nice bundled accessories with this Z97 XPOWER is the MSI Delid Die Guard. If mounted it replaces the normal LGA 1150 latch locking mechanism. Ideal when using a delidded Haswell or Devils Canyon Processor. We delidded our i7-4790K Engineering Sample via the traditional razor blade method. No redneck method with hammers at the MadShrimps office ! The Delid Die Guard assures the optimal mounting pressure and thus protects the core from being crushed by the utilized  cooler. We only tested the Noctua air cooler and the EK Water blocks Supremacy water cooler and even after numerous remounts the processor core was still in mint condition. Take note that the Delid Die guard is not usable for Extreme cooling methods as it has a negative effect on the total OC.


To unmount the stock mounting mechanism one needs a Torx screwdriver, too bad MSI didn't include one in the package.



A few minutes later one ends up with the below result:



Position your delidded processor and secure the Delid Die Guard by re-using the threee Torx screws:



We have to admit our i7-4790K ES was out of the box already a quite good performer in both overclock as in Temperature output. Stress testing via AIDA64 software was no problem at 4700MHz at 1.3Vcore, however to keep testing reduced to a minimum we just reran 3 loops of WPrime 1024. Included in the charts are the stock processor, the delidded version with Gelid solutions GC grease and the original IHS put back on and finally the naked processor (Die Guard) with direct contact with the Noctua Air cooler. Depending on the processor and cooling used your mileage can vary.



The biggest temp gain is achieved after removing the IHS and redoing the Intel Thermal paste with the Gelid Solutions GC Extreme Thermal paste. A temperature drop of close to 10°C is an excellent result for a 5 minute job. Enhancing stability and longetivity of your Haswell Processor. After installing the Delid Die Guard another 4°C was gained versus the delidded results. Best of all was we could benchmark our CPU even 100MHz higher with a slight bump in voltage. The output temperatures were only slightly higher than when being tested at 4700MHz which is in fact what this Delid Die Guard is all about.


Some of the test screens:


Stock results  ( click image to enlarge )


Delidded results ( click image to enlarge)


4800MHz at 1.325Vcore ( click image to enlarge )



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