MSI Z97 GAMING 5 (Intel LGA 1150) Review 39

MSI Z97 GAMING 5 (Intel LGA 1150) Review

(39 User Comments) »

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

  • The MSI Next-Gen GAMING 5 is available for around $160.
  • Packed with GAMING features to keep your system fast and ready-to-game
  • Provided fan connectivity and control is excellent
  • Audio Boost for added "BOOM" to your in-game explosions
  • Includes 6-month premium subscription to XSplit
  • Excellent software package that caters to gamers of all types
  • Wide-open BIOS ready for tweaking to the limit
  • Fully functional AMI UEFI BIOS that includes mouse functionality and support for 3 TB+ drives
  • No Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
  • No Intel Thunderbolt
  • No digital audio output except via HDMI
  • Color scheme used may not appeal to all
After having spent a few weeks with the MSI Z97 GAMING 5, I have to admit that I am rather impressed with the complete package, which directly targets gamers with the features they need and nothing else. From the included features and software and down to the physical design and esthetics, the MSI Z97 GAMING 5 offers everything you need from Intel's latest and a 6-month premium subscription for XSplit, so you can stream all that butt-kicking online for everyone to see. Add in the board's retail price of around $160 and you are looking at a pretty mean product with decent features, for a decent price.

I cannot ignore the high voltage it took for stability when it came time to overclock the i7-4770K I have used for the past 12 months. It troubled me at first, and given that overall power draw has been reduced, there is definitely something strange going on here, although what it really is does not matter to me. Other boards from other brands behave the same way, so this is a theme inherent to the platform itself, which MSI cannot really change, but do keep that in mind if you plan on buying into Intel's Z97. At the same time, it does not bother me one little bit, and I do not think it should really bother you.

I cannot emphasize how impressed I am with the drive performance on all interfaces enough, or how good the audio is, although my testing equipment did not register much of a difference with the provided Audio Boost feature enabled. I think I heard a difference, but that might just be me imagining things. The audio design is pretty darn good without it, and moving the power supply to a molex plug rather than the 24-pin plug makes me happy anyway. I did not really think MSI would be able to one-up themselves and their Z87 designs, but they definitely have done a decent job with this platform, and I am excited to see more of what they have to offer. Keep your eyes on the front page to see more of those other offerings soon!
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