MSI Z87 XPOWER motherboard review

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We do not generally review expensive products unless they are flagship items. The Z87 XPOWER is an expensive gaming motherboard from MSI. MSI incorporated all the latest technologies into this motherboard in order to give gamers an unrivaled gaming experience.

What is in the box?

MSI Z87 XPOWER comes in a premium boxing. The box includes the XPOWER motherboard, MSI Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/WiDi module, SLI connectors, two Wi-Fi antennas, driver disks, power cables, data cables, a mouse pad, a few additional port modules, the I/O plate, overclocking, a nice sticker, warranty, and other documents. Nothing in the box looked or felt flimsy.

Design

msi z87The MSI Z87 XPOWER is built with Intel Z87 chipset. This motherboard supports LGA 1150 socket based processors that include 4th Gen Intel Core, Pentium, and Celeron processors. It supports DDR3-3000 RAM, USB 3.0, and SATA 6Gb/s.



Z87 XPOWER highlights 4-way Multi-GPU support, which means, you can use NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFire technology to use up to four graphics card at once to gain an unparalleled graphics power boost with your system. MSI optimized the design of XPOWER motherboard in order to accommodate 4 graphics card at once. It has ample space between PCI slots so you can use four cards without obstructing airflow, or causing your system to heat up. Z87 XPOWER also includes a dedicated 3rd generation PCI-E x16 slot. The PCI-E x16 is now directly connected to the processor, so there will be no latency when using a single graphics card in your computer. This will give to best possible graphics performance of your PC.

Features

MSI included the latest OC Genie 4 button on Z87 XPOWER motherboard for those who are not familiar with overclocking. You can boost the game performance of your PC by pressing the OC Genie button integrated on the motherboard. MSI also integrated Power, Reset, Discharge and other buttons on the motherboard. The Discharge button is an intuitive add-on; holding this button for two seconds will factory reset the motherboard.

msi z87MSI Z87 XPOWER has its audio circuitry isolated from other features. The isolated Audio Boost chip on the motherboard is responsible for producing an unrivaled audio experience. Z87 XPOWER also includes a built-in headphone amplifier. You can use studio-grade headgears to get the most amazing sound quality out of your PC. MSI Z87 XPOWER comes equipped with Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 suite. The X-Fi MB3 suite helps to create a realistic surround sound effect even if you are using stereo headphones. X-Fi MB3 offers a gamer-friendly option, namely the Scout Mode. With this option enabled, a gamer can hear his enemies from further away.

Z87 XPOWER includes the Killer Ethernet 2200 on its motherboard, it does not only provide more stability of connection but also helps you avoid getting kicked from an online game due to high ping.

MSI Z87 XPOWER includes Intel Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, and Intel Wireless Display. The motherboard comes with two antennas. MSI did a good job integrating Intel Wireless Display because it lets you stream content of your computer over HDTV (your TV should also support WiDi).

Ports

MSI Z87 XPOWER has 8 USB 3.0 ports located on its ports panel. But sadly, these ports are located too close to each other; so it will be difficult to make space for different sizes of USB 3.0 jacks if you ever need to use all of the USB 3.0 ports at once. However, most of you will not use so many USB 3.0 ports located on the backside of your PC; because you will have a couple of front USB 3.0 ports on your computer case. The CLR CMOS button on the port panel will come handy in case you want to clear BIOS VRAM (for instance, to erase BIOS password that you forgot).

msi z87

Z87 XPOWER has two USB 2.0, one PS/2, two HDMI, one display, one optical S/PDIF output, one Ethernet, and 6 analog audio ports on its back panel.

Z87 XPOWER is equipped with advanced overclocking software. One notable software tool is RAMDisk. A RAMdisk can be used to create a virtual drive from your system memory. According to MSI, a RAMdisk can work 20 times faster than a modern SSD.

msi z87

The verdict

There is nothing cheap or flimsy about MSI Z87 XPOWER. It has a solid construction top to bottom. MSI truly incorporated some military class components on the motherboard. It features cutting-edge technology to improve appropriate power distribution among its components, overclocking, heat dissipation, and to increase overall performance, stability, and durability.

msi z87But does MSI Z87 XPOWER truly worth the $430 price tag? The answer is tricky. Surely, you can get a motherboard at half the price of MSI Z87 XPOWER. Your motherboard could have a few features of Z87 XPOWER, but it will lack the military grade components. For a motherboard to be able to harness enough power and ability to take whatever is thrown at it, requires it to be built with high-end components. Z87 XPOWER is not a regular motherboard. It is an overclocking motherboard for hardcore gaming, and it had to be built with military grade components. MSI has it OC certified too. Yet, $430 seems a little too high. We would prefer if it was priced below $400.

ProsCons
High-tech gaming motherboard with an unrivaled overclocking ability. Solid construction, and intuitive design. Military grade components used. High quality on-board audio. OC certified.A little too expensive.

Conclusion

msi z87MSI Z87 XPOWER motherboard opens room for gamers to turn their desktop into a gaming beast that can take on any game or any task you throw at it. Z87 XPOWER is optimized for overclocking, 4-way Multi-GPU support, and online gaming. It is capable of producing lifelike music, and stream media wirelessly. Most importantly, XPOWER harnesses the ability to get the best out of the processor, graphics card(s), RAM, Hard Drive, and other components you might use with it. If you cannot afford it now, wait for several months. We believe MSI will reduce the price of XPOWER in close future. We give Z87 XPOWER a 4.5 rating.

Specifications

msi z87* Intel Z87 Express Chipset
* Supports 4th Gen Intel Core / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1150 socket
* Supports DDR3-3000(OC) Memory
* Supports USB 3.0 + SATA 6Gb/s
* 4-way Multi-GPU: 4-way NVIDIA SLI & AMD CrossFire Support
* OC Certified
* PCI Express Gen 3 (World’s 1st PCI Express Gen 3 Motherboard)
* Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3
* Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, Intel WiDi



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