Micro-Star mainboards from the “Big Bang” series have one thing in common: the name. The boards within this series are totally different from one another, they were designed for different processors and platforms, had versatile features, but at the same time had nothing in common with the company’s regular mainstream products. They could boast such unique distinguishing features as the ability to support graphics cards from different makers or a large number of PCI Express slots, but when the MSI Z77 MPOWER mainboard joined this family, it seemed somewhat strange in the beginning. It seemed like a common mainboard that didn’t really stand out among others. It was also manufactured using high-quality “Military Class III” components, which reliability and stability were documented in an accompanying certificate, just like for other regular mainboards. The difference was that this mainboard underwent an additional test after all the quality controls have been successfully passed. This wasn’t just a common power-on test, but an intense 24-hour stress test of an overclocked system in the famous Prime95 utility, which generates heavy complex loads. This stress-test doesn’t just target the operation, but also confirms the board’s overclocking potential and allows marking it as “OC Certified”.
I have to say that the OC certification procedure is the primary and the most distinguished unique feature of the MSI Z77 MPOWER mainboard, but not the only one, of course. In our today’s review we are going to reveal new features and functions, which we have never seen before on Micro-Star’s mainboards, will uncover new BIOS settings and even new concerns. All this as well as performance, power consumption and much more will be discussed in this article.
Packaging and Accessories
Just like other Micro-Star mainboards from the Big Bang series, the front of the MSI Z77 MPOWER box is decorated with an image of a large explosion.
The front cover can be flipped open revealing a large photo of the mainboard and a list of its most important features.
The description continues on the back of the box, where you can also find the photo of the mainboard’s back panel and the list of its official technical specifications.
Besides the actual mainboard sealed in an anti-static bag, you will the following accessories:
- Four Serial ATA cables with metal connector locks, half with L-shaped locks and another half - with straight ones;
- A flexible bridge for 2-way Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
- A Wi-Fi antenna;
- I/O Shield for the back panel;
- “M-Connector” block including modules for easy connection of the system case front panel buttons, indicators and audio;
- “V-Check Cable” adapter set for manual voltage monitoring with a voltmeter;
- User manual;
- A booklet on proprietary software;
- Illustrated overclocking guide;
- A booklet with brief assembly instructions;
- Reliability certificate listing all component testing methods;
- DVD disk with software and drivers.