- Intel Z77
- Core i7 / i5 / i3 (LGA1155)
- DDR3 2667(OC)/ 2400(OC)
Fun, Full Featured Board 11/12/2012
I chose this board for a system upgrading a 775 platform. I'm really pleased with just about every aspect of it.
-OC'ing of 3770K to 4.2GHz@1.075V, email@example.comV, firstname.lastname@example.org shown stable by 10-hr Prime 95 test.
-Dual BIOS and 6 OC Profiles. BIOS GUI is a little uninspired, but it's a bit nicer than old style BIOS screens. Debug LED. (BIOS can be reset from rear panel.)
-Automatic PLL overvoltage and compensation for voltage droop.
-Voltage check points for easy measurement of vcore, VTT, and RAM with digital multimeter. While some software utilities showed vcore voltage drop of roughly .015V under heavy load, the DMM shows that the board actually adds voltage over user selection, of about .005 at idle and up to around .010 at load.
General utility and installation:
-8 SATA ports. Angled SATA ports prevent interference with long graphics cards. (Untested: 1394/Firewire header and 8-channel audio.)
-RAM slots easily compatible with Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler. Standard and medium-height (Ripjaws Z, 41mm) RAM modules fit without issue.
-Super Charger is enabled on one of the three USB2 internal headers. This has charged my iPhone at least at the rate of USB3, and it even works when the system is shut off.
Appearance and presentation:
-Attractively styled in blue. Has a set of bright blue LEDs at the top; they can be turned off easily.
-MSI is clearly appealing to novice builders and overclockers. SATA III ports are labeled with a sticker: Plug in your SSDs here. A full-size, glossy, six page folder is filled with info, including backgrounders, how-tos on OC'ing with explanations of several different voltage settings, and a chart with recommended settings for 3770K. With this as my third complete build, I was pleased to have the OC guidelines.
-Stickers peeled off easily. In fact they were barely stuck down, only in the centers. MSI should keep putting effort into the stickers; I have to admit that I enjoy unboxing a carefully packaged product.
I'm satisfied with the board, but here's the nits:
-OC software falls short, taking forever to load, and not allowing (for example) multiplier and hyperthreading changes without system restart.
-Only 4 USB ports (2 of them using 20-pin internal header). The Z77 chip has a capacity of 8.
-Silly cartoonish heatsink design. The heatsinks don't seem to be built with the goal of max heat transfer. On close inspection, I noticed that one of plastic shrouds on the two main heatsinks is shaped like an assault rifle barrel. I game FPS all the time, but I still think that looks dumb.
-No bluetooth or WiFi, though that's probably asking a lot at this price.
I'm looking forward to more overclocking with this board. I can't quite get to 4.7GHz at 1.300V or less, but I haven't yet tried higher voltages very much. I tried 4.9 at 1.400, but Prime 95 went straight to Blue Screen. It will be fun to see just how close I can get to 5.0.
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