MSI Z77 MPOWER Motherboard
Looking at the motherboard the first thing we notice is the matte black color which as always makes for a great looking board. For the most part you can see a black on black color scheme with some yellow highlights and grey heatsinks.
Moving in closer we start to look at the expansion slots. Looking above you can see that MSI have chosen to skip any legacy PCI slots, and instead have opted for four PCIe x1 slots and three PCIe x16 slots which run in an x16 / x8 / x8 configuration, as seen from the pin layout.
The bottom of the board gives us a fairly standard setup with audio, USB and fan headers all present. We can also see on the far right a switch that lets us go between the two BIOS's that are installed.
Turning the corner we can again see the BIOS switch along with six SATA ports which come in the form of four SATA III and two SATA II which all run off the Intel controller. Often we see companies throw a second controller into the mix to expand past six SATA ports, but you can see MSI haven't worried about that. Along with this you can see we've also got the USB 3.0 header and next to that is the DEBUG LED readout.
Heading a little more north you can see we've got a bunch going on. We've got the typical four DIMM slots that support up to 32GB of DDR3 of speeds up to 3000MHz DDR via overclocking. Along with that you can see the main ATX power connector on the left along with a 6-pin one to help keep power stable. Next to that you can see the V-Check points while on the right side we've got a power and reset button along with the OC Genie II button.
Turning the corner you can see the main 8-pin CPU power connector tucked away in the corner sitting between a couple of heatsinks here. Moving back slightly and looking at the CPU area you can see as usual we've got a pretty clean looking setup. You can see we've got a pretty high quality heatsink design going on which highlights some of the MSI branding.
Finally we finish up with the I/O side of things and here we've got a fair bit going on. Starting from the left we've got two USB 2.0 ports and a combo PS2 port, and next to that we've got a BIOS reset button. Moving across again we've got six USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth 3.0 support, 802.11 b/g/n and Gigabit networking off the Realtek 8111E controller.
Finally we finish up with an optical connector, HDMI port and DisplayPort connector for video and the standard six auxiliary audio connectors that run off the Realtek ALC898 audio chipset.