[section_title title=”Closer Look”]Closer Look
Taking an overall look at the MSI Z87 G43 Gaming Intel motherboard, we have all the regular features that a motherboard should have such as 4 x DIMM slots for DDR3 memory, large MOSFET heat sinks which as you can see, are red which follows the MSI Gaming design. It features PCI-E x16 3.0 which provides superior bandwidth for that little bit of extra performance while gaming; to use this you must have a Gen 3 capable graphics card. The G43 Gaming also features 2 x PCI-E x1 ports and 3 PCI ports which enables you to use compatible adapter cards such as sound cards and network cards (not that you would need one with the Killer NIC!) The form factor of this motherboard is full size ATX so bare that in mind when choosing a case.
Touching on the PCI ports, the board has the following PCI ports:
2 x PCI-E x16 ports (Top one = Gen3 x 16, 2nd one = Gen 2 x4)
2 x PCI-E x1 ports
3 x PCI ports
It is worth mentioning that this motherboard doesn’t support SLI but supports Crossfire; I think it’s a little strange but it has clearly been done to cut costs so if you have a dual NVIDIA setup, you will need to look for a board like the ASUS Maximus VI Hero or even the MSI GD65.
The MSI G43 Gaming features 6 x SATA3 (6GB/s) ports which supports RAID 0/1/5 and 10. It follows the Intel Z87 chipset to the letter and also features an mSATA slot which when in use, will disable the 6th port on your motherboard.
Cooling the Z87 MOSFETs, we have 2 large red heat sinks which follows in with the MSI Gaming design which I personally really like it. It reminds me a little of a ROG board from ASUS and obviously they have been successful and it’s nice to see other manufacturers following suit. Next to the MOSFETs we have 6 x SFC (solid ferrite chokes) which are designed to provide up to an additional 30% of power.
On the rear of the motherboard, we of course have the rear I/O which features the following ports/connections:
2 x USB 3.0 ports
6 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x VGA port
1 x HDMI port
1 x DVI port
1 x Killer E2205 Ethernet port
1 x PS2 port (keyboard/mouse)
7.1 HD audio jacks
Plenty of connections available but I am slightly disappointed with only 2 x USB 3.0 at the rear. There is support for front panel USB 3.0 with an additional 2 x USB 3.0 ports and a further 4 x USB 2.0 ports making the grand total 14 USB ports which should be plentiful.
Aside from the 24pin ATX power connector, we have the front panel USB 3.0 port and more visible is the 4 x DIMM slots which support DDR3 memory. The MSI G43 Gaming supports up to 64GB of memory with up to speeds of 3000MHz (only achievable by overclocking) which is nothing short of impressive on a so called budget board.
Here we have the stylish MSI Gaming dragon themed southbridge heat sink which in my opinion, is the centrepiece of the motherboard. Not only do I really like this, but I really do love how well it fits in with the design. It wouldn’t be a MSI Gaming branded product without some dragon being thrown into the mix.
Last but not least, we have the socket of the MSI Z87 G43 Gaming which supports Intel’s Haswell CPUs. This includes both the i5 and the i7 CPUs and also supports the unlocked K versions which means that this board supports overclocking (no surprises that an MSI board overclocks!).
Overall I really like the aesthetics and design of the MSI Z87 G43 Gaming motherboard but if I had to nit-pick, I really feel the lack of an all-black PCB slightly ruins the overall look. Obviously would would have to look really closely and it is the tracks that show the browny colour but for those with an OCD to a full black and red board, you might not like it. With that being said, I really do like it overall and feel for a budget board, it does seem to pack a lot of bang for buck. That statement wouldn’t be complete without some testing so let’s go ahead and check what the BIOS looks like…