Drive and Audio Performance ResultsOur drive and audio testing differs a bit from the rest of our testing for several reasons. First of all, when it comes to drive performance comparison, nearly every platform on the market is very close to one another, as most do provide external drive controllers which makes the numbers offered very platform agnostic. And finally, with audio, we do not list any numbers except for those reported by the product we are testing in order to provide the most information possible, as each audio CODEC will behave quite differently, and each board does not employ the same CODEC. As such, there is no standard we can use other than the numbers themselves. You can always check our other motherboard reviews in order to make direct comparisons in audio performance.
We tested each drive interface separately in order to provide the most complete numbers possible. Employing HDTune Pro for all of the testing, we tested each drive outside of the OS environment using a separate OS on a separate drive. However, we do use drives with a fair amount of data on the Corsair ForceGT (60% full) to simulate performance in real-world situations, and I also use the same drive to test all interfaces.
HDTune Pro (SATA2)
In HDTune Pro SATA 3 GB/s performance, the MSI Z77 MPower did really well, posting results equal to the tested ASUS board.
HDTune Pro (SATA 6Gb/s)
SATA 6 Gb/s showed to be a bit lower, but still performed decently.
HDTune Pro (USB3.0)
USB 3.0 drive performance tests are done using the same Corsair Force GT drive used to test SATA 3 Gb/s and SATA 6 Gb/s performance, and here we got results that continued to decline.
RightMark Audio Analyzer
Audio testing with RightMark Audio Analyzer provided pretty good numbers for the MSI Z77 MPower, rating the audio given by the onboard Realtek CODEC as "Good". Only noise was listed as "poor", something I did not expect considering this board is pretty light on add-on devices, and does use that 9-layer PCB. Volume and total tonal capabilities were pretty good. These are actually excellent results for an onboard solution, and it managed to deliver considering this is an overclocking product, not a mainstream or gaming product.