Value & Conclusion
|8.7||It's pretty funny to me that the benchmarking results had the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING provide enough performance to take the top spot in many of the tests, beating out every other tested board to date. For a "medium-grade" product priced at under $160 USD, that really caught my attention as it confirmed the "feel" the build gave me when I was using it; it was somehow faster without any clear indication as to why. I already mentioned that some board makers use custom Turbo profiling to get that extra performance, and that certainly seems to be the case with what is offered by the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING. So, for those not interested in overclocking but decent GAMING-focused performance right out of the box, the MSI Z87-G45 is pretty much the perfect choice if you dig the red and black color scheme.|
When looking at the bigger picture, it is hard for me to ignore the clear differences between the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING and the MSI Z87-GD65 GAMING. Ignoring all other options on the market today and just focusing on these two, I felt that the cost somehow did not reflect the differences in features, and I was not sure what was going on. Either the MSI Z87-GD65 GAMING is hugely under-priced, while the Z87-G45 GAMING is overpriced, or the changes between the two really come at little cost to the end user. Everything that is OC-oriented is gone with the Z87-G45 GAMING; the buttons, probe header, dual BIOS, OC Genie switch, and a SATA 6 Gb/s controller are all missing, and we have a different, less efficient VRM. The slot layout is quite similar, overclocking ability is similar, but performance seems to at times be greater with the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING, leaving me truly confused. A close examination shows that the two boards don't share the same base PCB, so there's more to the differences here than first meets the eye. This is not a case of MSI simply creating another product by removing some parts here and there; these are completely different products from the ground up. Honestly, a bit of research might have made the $30 difference appear as unjustified, but a close look at part choices really explains away the difference easily as there are differences in circuit design, which the higher audio performance of this board highlights. With power considerations and its additional features, taken into account, the Z87-GD65 GAMING is a better board for sure, and you do pay for it, but if you want to save a few dollars on your rig, the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING is no slouch, and should not be overlooked.