We're not short of Z97 motherboards, and as we've mentioned during our first two reviews, we're going to be looking at them over the next few weeks. So far, we've had a chance to look at the ASUS SABERTOOTH Z97 MARK 1 and ASRock Z97 Extreme4. Both are great boards and really cater to two different audiences.
While both are great, it's possible that neither offer you exactly what you're looking for in a new motherboard. Enter the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC. The MPOWER series isn't new to us, and it focuses more on the overclocking side of things. It's looked impressive in the past, and we're hoping that the trend continues with the one we have here today.
There's not really a need to say too much more about what exactly we're dealing with here today as we've covered the Z97 a couple of times already, and until the new K series of processors come out, we'll be using our 4770K.
So, let's leave it at that and move forward and see what MSI is bringing to the table with the brand new MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC.
Package - What comes inside the box
Taking a look at the box, you can see that there's not a whole lot going on. The brand and model are clearly shown along with a couple of Intel logos and a mention that it's part of the OC Series. Flipping over the big M, though, helps reveal some of the main features that are being offered on the board.
You can see that Enhanced Components are brought to the table via the Military Class 4 and Guard Pro features. Enhanced Thermal is offered via MPOWER Heatsink Design and Smart Fan control. Enhanced Power brings DigitALL Power to help increase the overclocking ability. Enhanced BIOS brings Click BIOS4 and multiple BIOS. Finally, in the middle, you can see the OC Essentials, which brings Clear CMOS Button, OC Engine for unlimited BCLK adjustment, Debug LED, Easy Button 3, V-Check Point 2, and Slow Mode for extreme overclockers.
Moving over to the other side, you can see our first look at the board and the heat sink setup. We'll take a closer look at that in just a moment, though, when we move onto the actual motherboard. Finishing up our look at the box, you see a little bit more information on some of the main features that we mentioned previously along with the main specifications of the board and a look at the rear I/O panel.
Moving from the outside of the box and into the inside, you can see a bunch of paperwork, including a door lanyard and a case sticker letting you show the board you're using loudly and proudly. You can also see a couple of CDs with drivers and software along with SATA cable labels.
We've got the normal line up of cables, including six SATA cables alongside an SLI bridge and I/O cover. You can also see a pair of EZ Connectors and, below that, the cables needed to make use of the V-Check Point 2 feature.
Some of the more major extras that we see on the board include the eSATA backplate with cable and our Intel Dual Bad Wireless AC 7260 module offering both 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac support along with Bluetooth 4.0. Sitting with that, you can see we've also got a pair of antennas to make sure that the absolute best signal strength is received by your brand new PC.
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