MSI Big Bang Z77 MPower Intel LGA 1155 29

MSI Big Bang Z77 MPower Intel LGA 1155 Review

CPU Performance Results »

Test System

Test System
CPU:Intel 3770K
3.5 GHz, 8 MB Cache
Memory:16 GB DDR3 (4x 4 GB) Corsair Dominator Platinum CMD16GX3M4A2666C10
Cooling:CoolerMaster TPC 812
Motherboard:MSI Z77 MPower
Intel Z77 Express, BIOS V17.0B15
Video Card:Gigabyte WindForce Radeon HD 7950 3 GB
Harddisk:Corsair ForceGT 60 GB SATA 6 Gb/s SSD(DATA)
Corsair F60 60 GB SATA 3 Gb/s SSD(OS)
Velocity SuperSpeed USB3.0 External Dock w/Corsair ForceGT
Power Supply:Silverstone Strider GOLD 750W
Case:Antec P280
Software:Windows 7 64-bit SP1, ATI Catalyst 12.8 w/ CAP 12.7 v3

Initial Setup

Initial setup and testing was uneventful with the MSI Z77 MPower. I noticed a more aggressive Turbo profile, set to 3900 MHz for each core, pictured in the CPU-Z screenshot above. Other than that, things worked as they should at stock, with no surprises at all.

Install was good, with a dual-GPU slot layout perfect for the addition of an audio card or other PCIe x1 devices in the top slot. You could easily fit another PCIe x1 device between the cards, but that might affect the airflow of some cards, like the 7950's. I had no issues with clearance for the Coolermaster TPC812 even though those VRM heatsinks appeared fairly large, as shown in the last image above.

If you use the lower PCIE x16 slot for a VGA, you'll need to pay attention to how tall your headers are, while also making sure the card fits into the slot all the way. MSI does use pins of varying heights and, as you can see in the image above, that fan header fit, if only barely. Also keep in mind that there is no space between the lower two cards if you use dual-slot VGAs.

Power Consumption

We measure CPU power consumption since one of our first tasks is to truly verify system stability. I isolate the power coming through the 8-pin ATX connector using an in-line meter that provides voltage and current readings, as well as total wattage passed through it. While this may not prove to isolate the CPU power draw in all instances, it does serve as a good indicator of board efficiency and effective VRM design. I also measure total system power consumption, allowing you to get an idea of how much power the board and installed devices draw.

Idle power consumption for the MSI Z77 MPower's VRM was very good, right in the middle. At the same time, full system power consumption was a bit higher, but given the extra PCIe connectivity and such, that comes as no surprise.

Load power consumption was another matter with the MSI board drawing considerably more power, both in 8-pin and Full System testing. I am not too sure why.
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