It is the 7th of May as I write this review, and here I sit again working on writing things up early due to other people in the industry breaking embargos. Honestly, this review was not even supposed to be published until the 12th of May, with much of the provided information covered by NDA until then, so me putting any of it on the site is not something I would have done until a couple days before then, when I would have handed it off to our general editor to fix my bad grammar and those typos. If you look at other websites today, you will find many have already posted coverage of Intel's latest Z97 platform. I am not sure why there was a rush to get this stuff out, but boards are already up for sale at various online retailers, so here I sit typing this out on Wednesday instead of Friday. To those of you that have me working extra to rush this review out (I mean you, Newegg et al.), bite me.
The first few pages you will find here are a complete repeat of what was posted earlier since I posted some early information on this board already, although pictures have been re-edited; stuff that was hidden before due to embargos has now been revealed, so you can see things clearly now, like the benchmark results from MSI's MTC. You will also find the rest of the items I usually cover. These begin on page 7, although I am now using new testing hardware and software and not nearly as many benchmarks. Every review I have posted in the past includes about 50 different result-specific graphs that cover a wide range of performance metrics. All that testing took considerable time, and as time has progressed, I find myself having less, so I have "optimized" the results I show to reflect performance given by the board itself, instead of including a bunch of performance figures that will change depending on what other hardware you have installed. For those of you interested in the efficiency differences between boards for benchmarking, I have kept a few of those benchmarks, like SuperPi and wPrime. Meanwhile, nine different Futuremark-designed benchmarks are no longer included, although both 3DMark and PCMark8 still make an appearance. Wanting to stay on the "bleeding edge of technology", I have also dropped Windows 7 for Windows 8/8.1 in my testing. I am quite eager to hear what you all think of my new review reporting, so feel free to leave some comments on that if you so desire. If you think I missed something, I can look at seeing it included in the future.
Since I have already introduced the MSI Z97 GAMING 5, explained why some information has been repeated, and why my benchmarking routine is now different, you can click HERE to get to the new stuff. If you have not seen my last coverage of MSI's Z97 GAMING 5, I have got to say that I am pretty impressed with this product in particular. You had best pay attention to the Z97 Gaming 5 if you are a gamer who does not need any OC-centric extras, but still wants some extra performance and a nice black and red motherboard because this board was very purposely built just for you.
|CPU SUPPORT:||4th and 5th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processor family for the LGA 1150 Socket|
|POWER DESIGN:||CPU Power: 8 Phases |
Memory Power: 2 Phases
|INTEGRATED GRAPHICS:||Dependant on installed CPU|
|MEMORY:||4 x DIMM, Max. 32 GB, DDR3 1333 to DDR3 3200+(OC)|
|BIOS:||AMI UEFI BIOS with 64 Mb Flash ROM|
|SLOTS:||3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot |
4 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slot
|HDD CONNECTVIITY:||6 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s |
1 x M.2Port
|NETWORKING:||1 x Killer E2205 Gigabit LAN|
|PORTS:||6 x USB 3.0 ports (2 at front panel, 4 at rear panel)|
8 x USB 2.0 ports (4 at front panel, 4 at rear panel)
1 x RJ45 LAN connectors
6 x OFC audio jacks
1 x HDMI port
1 x VGA Port
1 x DVI Port
|AUDIO:||Realtek ALC1150 High Definition Audio CODEC|
|FAN HEADERS:||5 x 4-pin PWM|
|FORM FACTOR:||ATX Form Factor (305 mm x 244 mm)|
As past MSI GAMING motherboards, the MSI GAMING 5 motherboard comes in the same thematic package, a nice black box with a large silver-colored red dragon on the front. The front and rear cover just what little bit of information you need and no more. MSI is not about to waste your time with a bunch of flashy logos and pictures.
My sample comes directly from MSI's MTC lab, which tests the hardware to make sure what I get to play with accurately shows what the product offers. Once testing is complete, they seal the box with a sticker and send it on its way. MSI's MTC always includes a hand-written list of what hardware they used to test the board, which drivers were used, and what their results were, so that I have something to base my own testing on. This sheet is always the first thing to greet me when I first open boxes from MSI's MTC, and it is a small touch I myself greatly appreciate.
Removing their piece of paper reveals the board itself on top, inside an anti-static bag. The included accessories are below the board and a piece of cardboard.
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