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MSI Z97I GAMING AC (Intel LGA 1150)

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by cadaveca, May 15, 2014.

  1. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2014
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  2. bepari220

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    I'm so confused. should I go for this or wait for VII impact ? :confused:
     
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  3. ChaoticG8R

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    It's exactly what I was hoping to read :D My plans for my iTX build are nearing completion!!
     
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  4. LeonVolcove

    LeonVolcove

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    Am i mistaken or i dont see any m.2 slot in that Mobo?
     
  5. bepari220

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    only the ASrock and the Asus ones are equipped with m.2
     
  6. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    Nope, none. Given the target audience and the cost vs performance ratio, I don't see such users buying M.2 unless a sales guy convinces them. You buy SSD, mechanical, RAID them, and get roughly the same thing anyway, @ 550MB/s, with a 60 GB drive.

    Full-size boards, must have M.2.

    IMHO.
     
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  7. robE New Member

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    M.2 is always nice to have, for the future....i don't think everyone replaces their mobo every 2 years. Imho it should still be a CON, even if it's a -0.1 one, other than that...nice board but i think impact will be nicer :D
     
  8. puma99dk|

    puma99dk|

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    another nice review Dave, i totally have the matching board and gfx u have in that setup :lovetpu:
     
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  9. Nokiron

    Nokiron

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    Nice review. But I don't understand it getting a 9.8 with a layout like that? Who thought that the placement of the 8-pin and the socket was a good idea?

    Seems like Asus is the only one who knows how the layout of a mini-ITX board should be.
     
  10. TheWorldForgotten

    TheWorldForgotten New Member

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    I disagree. In a Mini-ITX board especially, the M.2 functionality is of essence, as you want to build it as cramped as possible, with little space left to spare for 2.5" drive bays. But the real deal breaker with this board, is the CPU socket layout.

    [​IMG]

    If you take a look at for instance Asus Z97I Plus, you will discover that there is much more space between the CPU socket and the PCIe x16 lane. Why does this matter? As mentioned in the article, you are hence not able to fit big aftermarket coolers. In particular for mini-ITX builds, the Noctua NH-L12 is of special importance, as it can cool an overclocked i7 4970K, while fitting onto a mini-ITX board and not drawing taller than the dedicated GPU. If you want to make an ultra-compact build like a MSI Radeon R9 270X Mini + Noctua NH-L12, then you can't with this board.
     
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  11. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    OR you could simply use an AIO cooler, and the socket area doesn't matter.

    M.2 isn't properly available locally. It's more expensive and only the slower drives are available, the M500 M.2, and only in 240 and 120 GB sizes.

    If that's the case, yeah, even stores don't think M.2 is important, PERIOD.

    Now, if these companies were smart about Z97 launch, drive would have been in stores at the same time as boards, but the lack of availability for drives here is part of why I feel I do...I cannot even see any benefit to M.2 at this time. You can disagree all you want, but you cannot change drive availability.


    If I could go any get 1.2 Gb/s out of an M.2 drive... and actually buy one...my opinion on this subject would change.

    I truly feel that by the time drives are available, next platform will be launched, and no one will care about Haswell much any more. In my eyes, M.2 is a failure, just like mSATA is.


    How many users here have mSATA drives? Uh...me? Any others? Nah, didn't think so.
     
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  12. Nokiron

    Nokiron

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    Hang on a minute, motherboard-manufacturers should NOT depend on AIO-coolers for their layout.

    Well, in my country you can order Crucials M550 up to 512GB, M500 up to 480GB and Intels 530 up to 180, no problem.
    Its dirt-cheap aswell. The M.2 version is only $20 more over the 2.5".
     
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  13. TheWorldForgotten

    TheWorldForgotten New Member

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    Exactly. We have availability here as well. I have designed case blueprints for 5,3 liters, where there is actually no room for a 2.5 inch drive, believe it or not.

    And I also find it laughable that a motherboard should depend on water cooling. Large AIO won't even fit in a compact Mini-ITX case anyway.
     
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  14. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    Meh. BitFenix prodigy and how popular it is, as is watercooled gaming rigs in mITX cases, say hello.


    Like, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying your wants or needs are not important, however, they are not the only ones, either.

    Many users...would save that $20 on a M.2(um, who doesn't try to save money building a PC...that's WHY you build a PC yyourself!!!), and buy SSD, simply because M.2 drives are ugly. Eww, gotta stick this green PCB in my nice matte black motherboard?


    Like, that's the future for M.2. Black PCB, or bust!

    :p

    I feel M.2 is too expensive, simply because it's new (uh, no case like SSD, no plastic SATA connector, smaller PCB, why TF is it more costly?), it's ugly, and actual fast drives aren't widely available.


    Newegg having Intel and Crucial only is not good enough. WHERE IS SAMSUNG AND PLEXTOR !!!???!!!


    When users can actually buy an M.2 drive, and it offers something over normal SSD instead of offering the same SSD in new form factor with higher consumer cost, I might change my opinion.


    BTW, I have both H90 (on GTX 780) and H100 (on 4790) in my mITX build. That's TWO AIO units, one mITX case.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
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  15. Nokiron

    Nokiron

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    What? They are rated at the same speeds. Or even faster in the case of Plextor M.2 PCI-E based series, with insane read/writes and massive IOPS.
    And those are readily available here aswell, although they are pricier.

    M.2 support is one of the reasons i bought an Maximus VI Impact (even though that runs via SATA) so i could lose SATA-cables + power and run the entire thing of the drive at the M.2 slot.

    And there is no way in hell you are going to see that M.2 drive mounted on your motherboard with all other components installed.

    I don't understand your reasoning against M.2 since almost every point is invalid from my point of view according to availablity, pricing and performance in my country. It seems like you have a personal agenda against the format?

    And the H100 and and H90 isnt very mini is it? The Prodigy is NOT a Mini-ITX case by size, just look at the M-version.
     
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  16. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    But not here. NO Plextor, no Samsung. If they were, yeah, my opinion might be different. But if those drives are available in your country, and not North America, clearly even the drive makers see that N.A/ market does not have as much interest in these devices.


    When 1.2 Gb/s drives can be purchases by anyone, like I said, my opinion will change slightly. When I wrote this review, even, weeks ago, not even Crucial drives were out yet, BTW. @ standard SATA 6 Gb/s speeds...yeah, I don't want M.2.

    But at the same time, even fast drives, I'll still hate the green PCB. AS well many others. You don't see green PCB in many memory modules, and that was complained about too.

    My opinion on that subject won't change. That doesn't make yours invalid though. That's the joys of the internet, different people who want different things get to come together. We want different things, and I don't see that as a problem. Like you said, there are boards that will meet your needs, and this one can be ignored by you. But if you have no interest in M.2, there's not reason to look elsewhere, really, unless cost or other feature.
     
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  17. TheWorldForgotten

    TheWorldForgotten New Member

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    Then again, the U.S. only accounts for 300 million people. Europe got 700, and the world contains over 7 billion. So I don't know who exactly you imagine yourself to be, telling that the technology is a flop globally.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (Above picture shows size compared to Fractal Design Define R4 on right)

    This is the potential of mini-ITX motherboards with M.2 and room for a Noctua NH-L12. What are you looking at? An i7 4790K, AMD Radeon R9 270X Mini Silverstone SFX PSU and Noctua NH-L12 cooler. The reason you can fit water cooling into Bitfenix Prodigy, is because it's a bloated case more suited for mATX in physical size. The Prodigy is 25 liters, I could get these specs inside 5.3 liters. AIO cooling, nope. SSDs, difficult so.
     
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  18. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    So, you buy a different board? Why is that a problem? Everyone must purchase the same board and want same features? I don't understand...


    I agree, if you want to build in smallest space possible, M.2 might have appeal. But for many, small space = heat =lower clocks, or noise. IN dealing with those problems, a larger case must be used, and in such instances, space for 2.5 drive is no problem.

    Did you get that? In smallest space builds, I agree. But not everyone builds in smallest space possible = M.2..not that important.

    Roughly 140 million motherboards sell each year. I truly wonder what % of that is mITX.
     
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  19. Nokiron

    Nokiron

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    Well, that might be because the nordics (mostly Sweden) is one of the biggest componentpart-consumers in Europe. I know that Nvidia sent Titans here if they had any available because they were bought instantly, and we are for some reason spending huge amounts of money on it here. So im not surprised we are getting it pretty early, we are somewhat tiny according to populace, but we spend a lot of money on stuff :p

    But what i dont understand is why dont WANT M.2, there is no reason NOT to want it is there? The only reason they are still green is because its only solder mask. They are not painted.
    They are new on the market and when people start buying these drives and the products needs to meet demands. That is when we are going to see black drives for example.

    Yeah, i didnt said your opinion was invalid, i said the points were from my view (according to availability and pricing).
     
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  20. TheWorldForgotten

    TheWorldForgotten New Member

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    It is not a problem for me, I'll just go with AsRock or Asus. It is however a problem for MSI losing customers, because I am a huge fan of the board if it hadn't been for these missing features. They are things that can be implemented without losses. It is plain bad engineering design and righteously described as a con. :)
     
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  21. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    Yeah, I agree, but that speed thing.. man... unless something actually offers something for higher cost, then it doesn't get a lot of interest. being "new" isn't good enough. M.2 offers NOTHING other than better mounting options for me.

    Devil's Canyon reviews that are out now highlight this same opinion. Either offer something real, or get some bad hype.

    I don't play brand favorites. Other boards can offer similar feature set and capabilities, offer THAT m.2, and get a perfect score. Or they can offer that M.2 and have shitty audio, and get a lower score.

    It is not like I said this is the best ever...it did not get a perfect score. There is still room for other boards to do better, which has me feeling your ideas here are a bit alarmist. I have not reviewed these other boards you mention, first of all... There is no con here. :p
     
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  22. Nokiron

    Nokiron

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    I agree with this, the layout absolutely sucks. Im just gonna spew some opinions here on motherboards:

    Asus have a seriously good layout on their boards with
    • Power-connectors being on the edges where they should be
    • Building on available height, as they have been doing for a while
    • Making room for tower-based coolers
    I have bough everything from the original H50, through the H70 and the H100i. I'm even on my second Swiftech H220 which sits on my shelf because that, like the first one sounded like crap. I have always returned to my trusty NH-D14 and Prolimatech Megahalems. Slightly higher temps but boy are they a whole new world of quiet. The pump noise will always be a problem, no matter how silent it is.

    And finally, something that has been bothered me for ages. Why does everyone have such aweful UEFIs and software?

    Even Asus UEFI is going haywire with the latest Z97-boards. The one they had with Z87 and X79 was the best I have ever seen. But Asus still have the best of both, and that is by a long shot.
    AI Suite is miiiiles ahead of anything else.
     
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  23. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    Good points to cover, for sure. ASUS software is excellent, no doubt. Layout..man, impact + add-in PCB and M.2...many tower cooler don't fit. You have MPCIe Combo II + IMPACT AUDIO cards on one side, dimms on 2nd, power PCB on third, and rear I/o towers on fourth. Wiring is almost worse with front panel plugged in. I did review this board, and do have pics. :p


    But NOTHING OC's memory like IMPACT. IMPACT, to me, is dual-duty bench + game; that's why those add-in cards are add-in to begin with, and it has beefy VRM design. It is a COMPLETELY different product. At the same time, the idea of using mITX and having such a hugely capable board almost defeats the purpose of mITX. Using a tower cooler, eliminates many of these "I want smaller case" ideas, too. Low-profile cooler support on IMPACT is HORRID. At the same time, it's pretty poor on ALL mITX boards.

    UEFI..I prefer ASUS Z87 to ASUS Z97. But there is still issues with ASUS UEFI, too. I can corrupt too easily. The stuck-clock problem, corrupted MEI, USB 3.0 problems, etc...

    ASUS has done something really interesting with mITX, since they offer clocking in such a way with ROG boards...people expect a lot. I don't expect that ROG experience from anything, but ROG. ASUS has best fan control.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2014
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  24. Nokiron

    Nokiron

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    My impact has the NH-D14 on it, with the M.2 card installed, it fits no problem!

    Well, they have the Z77-I Deluxe. It has the same daughterboard and that is not meant for benching :p

    Really interesting to hear about that, i have a looot of Asus boards. The Z77-I Deluxe, Rampage IV Black Edition, Maximus IV Extreme P67, Maximus VI Impact and I have owned the Maximus IV Gene-Z and Rampage IV Gene aswell.

    Never had any problem with their BIOS though? (The motherboards have taken a stern beating with overclocking mind you)
     
  25. TheWorldForgotten

    TheWorldForgotten New Member

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    So you are admitting that MSI has poor CPU socket placement, lacks SATA Express and there are superior UEFI interfaces out there... and 9.8? That's pretty vivid.
     

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