Preview: MSI Z77 MPower

Published by Christian Ney on 25.09.12
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Connectors and I/O

Totally MSI equipped the Z77 MPower with default SATA count for Intel's Z77 chipset. This means you get four SATA 3.0 and two SATA 2.0 connectors driven by the Intel Z77. No extra SATA chips.
Nothing special also if you look at the the PCIe connectors. With this motherboard you get three PCIe 16x Gen 3.0 and and four PCIe 1x Gen 2.0 all black coloured. From top to bottom for the PCIe 16x you have: 16 lanes, 8 lanes and 8 lanes. Which mean you can do 8x/8x SLI/CrossFire and 8x/4x/4x CrossFireX (3-way). Again nothing extra than what is provided by Intel's Z77, no PLX chip found on the PCB, MSI seems to keep things as simple as possible.
Something standard nowadays you find practical onboard power-, reset-buttons as well as a debug LED. But MSI added some extra stuff like a two physical BIOS switches as well as another switch to select which one you actually want to use. Furthermore there is an OC Genie button, voltage reading points and a Go-BIOS button. This last one is here to help you get into the BIOS on next boot after pressing it, Windows 8 ready I would say (for the record Windows 8 is know to be so fast to boot that you can't get into BIOS anymore spamming the del key.
The BIOS can be cleared by removing the battery or simply by pushing the clr_CMOS button located in the back panel. Common to multi-GPU boards these days you also find a power plug plug to provide enough power. This one has been located just next to the ATX12V and isn't a Molex plug but a PCIe-6pin. One will not like MSI for using a PCIe-6pin as most of power supplies under 700 Watts only have two PCIe-6pin power plug that will be used to power your graphics card(s) so you have kind of a problem. Luckily there are 6-pin adpaters which you can plug to two Molex connectors. Too bad MSI didn't think of bundling it to the Z77 MPower.


Totally you'll find five fan headers on the MSI Z77 MPower which is more than enough to provide even an overclocking rig or even a high-end gaming machine with plenty of fresh air. Bellow the locations of the fan headers, all of them are PWM (4-pin).  

Looking at the external connectors directly at the back-panel MSI equipped the Z77 MPower with one PS2 mouse/keyboard connector, six USB 3.0/2.0 ports (two provided by the Intel Z77 chipset and the four others by two NEC/Renesas uDP7220 controllers) along with a two USB 2.0 and one LAN gigabit ethernet port (provided by one Realtek RTL8111E). Furthermore there is a CLR CMOS button. Video outputs (one HDMI and one DisplayPort) are driven by a Parade PSB101 chip.
At first we saw MSI trying to keep things as simple as they could for the circuit of the board to make it like the X58-OC from Gigabyte, featuresless. But here we see that they added a Bluetooth and a Wi-Fi modules to their OC board. It doesn't match, why not make two different boards, one MPower and one MPower Bluetooth/Wi-Fi edition for exemple ?
As for the audio, the chip you find on this board is from Realtek and is an ALC898. This one gives you an an analogic panel (6 Jacks) and an optical connector.  

Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Connectors and I/O
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 5 - Conclusion
Page 3 - Layout

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Preview: MSI Z77 MPower - Motherboards Intel Z77 - Reviews - ocaholic