MSI Z97 Motherboard previews

Discussion in 'Intel x86 CPUs and chipsets' started by booj, May 5, 2014.

  1. booj

    booj Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,468
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Hey guys,

    There's still some time to go before the embargo lifts, but in the meantime, I am proud to showoff some pics and details of our upcoming Z97 boards.

    First cab off the ranks is the Z97 Mpower MAX.
    I felt the Z87 Mpower MAX was the best OC board MSI has made in a long time, and I'm happy to say that the Z97 Mpower MAX is better again ;)

    The box is pretty self explanatory.

    [​IMG]


    Layout wise, the board is pretty similar to the Z87 Mpower MAX. There are a few changes though. We've shifted the power/reset and direct OC buttons over near the memory slots, where they are no longer hidden by multi GPU setups. The heatsinks have been redesigned to allow more space for very large CPU coolers. The socket area remains clear for insulation ease.

    Also present are barbs to provide a watercooling option for those who wish to do so.

    [​IMG]


    USB 3.0 is becoming ubiquitous, with 8 ports present. There are single HDMI and Display Ports, a CMOS clear button and standard LAN, audio and PS2 connectors. The gap on the left is for a small daughter board to handle Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 duties.

    Even the I/O Shield has some tricky bits with EMI shielding, a padding layer and it's comes in blackerrrr...

    [​IMG]


    In the memory slot area we see the newly placed direct bclk OC buttons. We have a full discharge button carried over from the Z87 Xpower which restores the board to factory settings.

    Also present here is our OC Genie auto OC button. This will boost Haswell K CPUs to 4Ghz, however, it will be well above that for Haswell Refresh CPUs ;)

    Note the voltage check points. There are now 3 ground points allowing up to 3 simultaneous voltage readings.

    [​IMG]


    The socket area is very clean looking, with few components getting in the way of big CPU coolers or sub zero insulation. The PWM is all digital, with improved voltage offset control for those who want their CPUs to drop down at idle to reduce heat and power consumption.

    [​IMG]


    The slot area is unchanged from the Z87 Mpower MAX. It is optimized for two way SLI/CF allowing two cards plenty of room to breathe. The option is there for 3 way still. On the left is our Audio boost solution which brings PCB isolation, EMI shielding, dual AMPs, quality Japanese caps and gold plated audio connectors.

    [​IMG]


    That brings us to the new M.2 slot, which is based on a PCIe 2 x2 interface, allowing up to 10 Gb/s, which is a nice bump over the existing SATA 3.0. Why no SATA Express? It's because the SATA-E ecosystem is far from ready. We will have a small cheap adapter available for those who wish to go SATA-E, however, consumer SATA-E devices are not expected to appear before 2015 and not reach affordability for at least a year from now.

    [​IMG]

    Here we have 8x SATA ports and more USB 3.0 headers for case connections and bay devices.

    [​IMG]


    Nice looking heatsink :) No doubt this is a Mpower board

    [​IMG]

    Yes, this is most definitely a Mpower board :p

    [​IMG]


    I will update this week with some more boards. Stay tuned. Z97 Gaming 7 is up next!
     
  2. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    7,585
    Location:
    Cheltenham East 3192
    Show me the mATX :) I note this board has w/c on the mosfets.. are the barbs removable and replaceable with comps?

    Will the mATX also have w/c on the mosfets? And will the mATX be yellow themed or red?

    Mosfet cooling could be the deciding factor between this and a Gene....

    EDIT : Never mind, I see the board is available for pre-order already from some US sites. The site I visited has it at $199 (plus $100 shipping :( ) and it has no w/c on the mosfets but it is a nice pretty red theme. Thats going to make it cheaper than a Gene. Decisions, decisions...
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2014
  3. Paulie_AU

    Paulie_AU Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Messages:
    3,463
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Nice. Like the matt black. Might have to put this on the list of possible OC mobos.
     
  4. Bullants

    Bullants Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,708
    Location:
    Australia
    Board looks nice
     
  5. combatant3219

    combatant3219 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2013
    Messages:
    338
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Looks awesome.

    Love my Z87 MPower so if that's anything to go by these will be great. Now to wait and see what Devils Canyon offers up.
     
  6. MotoMan

    MotoMan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Messages:
    2,763
    Location:
    Wallan
    Pretty sure I will grab a MSI gaming 7 or Asrock z97 Extreme 6

    The asrock has to m.2 ports and a mini pcie (for wifi card)

    Just depends on price
     
  7. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    7,585
    Location:
    Cheltenham East 3192
    This one in stock (not preorder) at Newegg, AU$280.37 + $66.90 freight to oz.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    booj

    booj Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,468
    Location:
    Adelaide
    The Z87M Gaming board is coming a week or two behind the other (to AU) though as you say, it doesn't have WC barbs. If there is a OC mATX coming, it will be a while off as I have not heard reference to it.

    The barbs on the Mpower are indeed removable.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    booj

    booj Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,468
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Z97I Gaming AC

    The next board up is the Z97I Gaming AC. In the last year or so I've developed a real love for small form factor gear. My main daily system is plodding along with a 2600K on a Z68 board so I'm slowly beginning to look at an upgrade. I think this board would be it ;)

    It's kinda funny when this pic is larger than the actual box..

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The bundle consists of the usual manuals and driver disks, some SATA cables and I/O back plate. The back plate is all black and suits the overall theme of the board well. Wireless AC and Bluetooth 4.0 functions are controlled by a small daughter board and twin antennae.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    One of the things we've spent a lot of time on are the audio solutions for our Gaming boards. Although PCB size restrictions prohibit some of the features seen on the bigger boards, The Z97I Gaming AC doesn't miss out.

    It is common to trace problems with USB headsets and DACs to an unstable 5v USB voltage output. This is more likely to occur when many power sucking USB devices are present all pulling power from this 5v rail. Our boards are designed to always output a true 5v output, eliminating this potential problem. It's not uncommon for gamers to use DACs worth hundreds of dollars, so you don't want to go skimping on the output if that's the case.

    We've updated to Sound Blaster Cinema 2 software which brings updates such as surround speaker calibration tools and headphone optimizing profiles (buds or cans? big difference...) As a home theater enthusiast myself with about $6000 worth of speakers (would kill for a high end M&K set :D), I can say from experience that speaker calibration is critical, so it's good to see these sorts of capabilities extend to PC surround sound speakers.

    There's a OPA1652 headphone amplifier on board as well as Nichicon Japanese audio capacitors and gold plated connectors to keep audio signals as clean as possible from source to ear.


    [​IMG]


    Lot's of USB 3.0, Killer LAN, HDMI (x2) + Display port, eSATA x2 and a spot on the right for AC wireless and Bluetooth 4.0. Just on the right of that spot is a clear CMOS button.

    [​IMG]

    Despite being a long time overclocker, I tend to leave my daily use systems on auto. If I was building a system tomorrow, a Z97I Gaming AC, a 4790, something like a R9 290 or GTX 780, 2x8Gb ram in a case like a Corsair 250D is what i'd be building, but that's just me..
     
  10. t8y

    t8y Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    4,197
    Location:
    SA, 5011
    good onboard sound on ITX boards - about bloody time companies adopted this.

    i'm running a z77 ITX mobo atm and it was lacking on sound, ended up going with a USB based DAC hooked up (audioengine D1) in order to get something passable, side benefit of it amplifying my headphones (i dont use speakers any more, battlefield kept waking the kids...).
    not ideal but not left with any other choices really for sound, unless i wanted to lose the GPU :tongue:

    mpower board does look nice too.. :thumbup:
    besides the wifi and the WC heatsinks, whats the main difference(s) between the max and the non-max mpower boards?
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  11. OP
    OP
    booj

    booj Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,468
    Location:
    Adelaide
    I'd like my pics to be better, but 2 out of 3 of my lights fell over smashing the bulbs haha.. so the light tent is out of action for the moment... Would have to make a trip to bunnings or somewhere.

    The Mpower MAX has AC wireless, an 8 layer PCB (vs 6) the discharge button, the watercooling option and a four more USB 3.0 (12 vs 8)

    :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  12. lowdog

    lowdog Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2003
    Messages:
    4,299
    Location:
    Dreamland.
    This chipset Z97 with Sli or cfx is still 8 x 8 and not 16 x 16.....correct?
     
  13. VirtualNinja

    VirtualNinja Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Messages:
    911
    Location:
    North Parramatta
    I recently watched the TTL review off this board and he seemed completely unaware off this. Nor was he aware of the temp readout on the diagnostic led.

    Now many believe that the bards are fixed. You may wish to address this.
     
  14. Kurosaki

    Kurosaki Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2005
    Messages:
    4,770
    Location:
    Australia
    That's correct, Intel reserves the full x16/x16 stuff for 2011 based platform. Otherwise if you want to stick with 1150 your going to need to look for something with those PLX chips.

    There is one thing that has always bugged me for a long time. Why don't more manufacturers especially for high end board don't make the ATX power plugs right angled? I know it a pretty minor and petty thing but if I'm dropping decent money on a board, I'm going to be putting a decent effort to make the thing look nice, I don't want to hack my board up and re-solder a new plug on myself. And this isn't just directed at MSI, be everyone else in the industry, surely it can't be that hard if even EVGA can do it (btw, this is about the only thing EVGA gets right on their mainboards, everything else about them is just horrible).
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  15. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    7,585
    Location:
    Cheltenham East 3192
    Funny you should say that. I'm wanting right angled ATX connectors myself and spent half last night looking for a decent solution. I've found threads in various forums going back 10 years or more asking why nobody makes a cable with a right angled connector on it.

    You'd think someone would make one by now? Even a DIY plug, how hard can it be?
    A nicely sheathed Silverstone version would be even better.

    Some boards apparently came out with the sockets right angled, but they were pretty rare.

    The only option seems to be actually soldering a new socket onto the board, as those are available, but like you I wont be doing that shit.

    How about it MSI? Right angled sockets.. or a bonus right angled adapter in the box..

    and hey.. dont stop at just the 24pin..
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  16. Segression

    Segression Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,963
    Location:
    Wollongong, NSW
    I really like the matte black pcb. Looking sexah .. Bah might be time for a new rig! nooo!
     
  17. WishBone17

    WishBone17 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,411
    Location:
    Dundas (Sydney)
    after being a massive Asus whore and only using Asus mobo's. I finally made the switch to MSI.

    I must say, they make some mighty find boards! Love my z77 Mpower!
     
  18. Segression

    Segression Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,963
    Location:
    Wollongong, NSW
    Same as myself, except gigabyte. Have an MSI x79 board for one of my servers and its a really great board.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    booj

    booj Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,468
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Good to hear guys :D We are loving the positive feedback from users and media. First wave reviews are quite strong! :)

    Regarding the right angled 24pin, it does seem logical, but i think there is still some worry that some cheapie or compact cases might have a compatibility issue with a stiff 24pin cable requiring an extra couple of inches of space.
     
  20. lowdog

    lowdog Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2003
    Messages:
    4,299
    Location:
    Dreamland.
    How's the audio on this board (MPOWER)....I know it's specifically set up for overclocking but was considering it for a gaming rig?

    Any insight here Booj regarding this board for a gaming rig or would one be better off going the Z97 Gaming 7??

    The MPOWER looks like it may be more hearty for an overclocking system but then the Gaming 7 looks like no slouch in the construction department as well.

    Decisions :weirdo:
     

Share This Page