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MSI Z97 Gaming 9 ACK (Intel Z97) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: May 14, 2015 2:12 pm
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: MSI

Temperature and Power Consumption

 

System power usage is measured at the AC/DC PSU (the AX1200i) which I have connected to another system to measure the test system and as a backup I have a wall meter to verify. The CPU power is measured through the 8-pin connector which is hooked up to a hall effect IC which measures current and puts out a voltage in proportion to the current. That voltage is logged by a National Instruments ADC which logs the DC voltage level, which I then convert into current.

 

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Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section we use our Seek thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board; I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about then I will state it, otherwise I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C then there really isn't anything to worry about.

 

All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the PCB and the chokes. Keep in mind that the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink.

 

Stock Tests:

 

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Here the board is idle on the left and full CPU/Memory load on the right (Intel Burn Test).

 

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This is an up-close of the front of the VRM.

 

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This is the back of the board at idle and load at stock speeds.

 

 

Overclocked Tests:

 

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Here the board is idle on the left and full CPU/Memory load on the right (Intel Burn Test).

 

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This is an up-close of the front of the VRM.

 

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This is the back of the board at idle and load at stock speeds.

 

VRM performance is very strong, and thermals are within excellent ranges (under 60C). At stock, it is obvious that phase shedding is engaged, meaning that only one or two phases are on to save power. The phases that are engaged at stock are towards the middle of the board rather than the top. Even at full load, it seems that heat is focused towards the middle of the board (bottom of the VRM).

 

When the system is overclocked, the heat is more evenly spread. Most of the time the temperature on the back is much lower than on the front, meaning the heat sinks are doing their job very well. The raise in temperature from idle to load is also very low, which indicates a high current capability and good thermals of the MOSFETs.

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