MSI’s first foray into the world of extremely high-end motherboards built from the ground up for overclocking came with the Big Bang XPower for the Intel Sandy Bridge platform, and most recently the Sandy Bridge-E platform with the XPower II. Both were very impressive boards, offering incredible value for money and impressive feature set. Today I’ll be looking at MSI’s latest in the series of Big Bang motherboards, this time for the Ivy Bridge platform with the Z77 MPower.
As mentioned earlier, the XPower motherboards were designed with heavy overclocking in mind, and the MPower follows the same design philosophy. Each and every MPower motherboard is ‘OC Certified’ which basically means that every motherboard is tested for 24 hours running Prime95 in MSI’s labs on an Ivy Bridge processor running at 4.6GHz.
Obviously what makes the Z77 MPower such a capable base for overclocking is thanks to the hardware components used. These are the Military Class III components where the DrMOS II chip, Solid Capacitors, Super Ferrite Chokes and Highly-conductive polymerized capacitors go through a number of high-low temperature, pressure, shock and humidity tests up to Military Standard 810F to ensure the components will survive the harshest of conditions. For us regular folks that means that the motherboard can take high levels of overclocking and voltage increases without breaking a sweat, ultimately providing better stability and power efficiency.
While overclocking the Z77 MPower, you’d also want to have accurate readings of voltage, conveniently available through the V-Check points located on the right of the DIMM slots. The Power and Reset buttons are also nearby, as is the built-in OC Genie II button which automatically overclocks your processor at the touch of a button. The Debug LED shows the startup steps, and then goes to show the temperature reading of the CPU when booted into Windows. The Clear CMOS button is, thankfully, located on the rear I/O panel.
Included in the packaging are four SATA III cables, an SLI bridge, the V-Check point cables, the WiFi extender antennae and a rear I/O panel shield. Apart from that you have the driver CD and manuals.