[section_title title=Introduction]Introduction

Since the release of the Intel Z97 chipset most of the emphasis has been on gaming and gaming enhancing features such as Killer NIC LAN ports and positional audio just to name a few.  But with that being said, what is there currently out there to cater for the enthusiast, the over clocker and the consumers wanting to push their CPUs to the absolute limit?  Well MSI have a solution…

Following on from our review of the MSI Z97I GAMING AC motherboard which was a feature packed M-ITX solution which focused on gamers, up for review today is one from their new OC series, namely the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC which features specific overclocking features and also includes built in Wi-Fi for ease of use and connectivity.  Is this the Z97 board overclockers have been waiting for and how will it compare to the previous Z87 version which I reviewed a while back?

Let’s find out shall we, starting with a little bit about what MSI have to say about the MPOWER MAX AC and then the specifications…

What MSI have to say about the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC motherboard:

The MSI Overclocking motherboards are designed based on four principles:
• Continuous implementation of professional overclockers’ feedback
• Continue MSI’s leading position in power efficiency and stability
• The best overclocking tools
• Infuse the DNA of MSI’s LIGHTNING graphics cards

OC CertifiedOC Certified
OC Certified is a military class burn-in test for motherboards. Running Prime95 for over 24 hours with a highly overclocked CPU is already a stressing endeavor, but removing all airflow from the motherboard ensures that only the best motherboards survive. If a motherboard can survive this, it can survive any overclocking situation.


The OC PCB used for the MSI overclocking motherboards has a completely new design in which 50% more layers are used compared to standard motherboards. This allows us to optimize all traces for overclocking. Power and signal traces are isolated, resulting in higher efficiency and performance and more features can be installed relatively close to each other without causing interference. Every MSI overclocking motherboard is tuned for better stability under extreme circumstances:
• Increased number of PCB layers
• Increased humidity resistance
• Tight weave Fiberglass PCB
• Increased ESD protection

Water Cooling Heatsink
Featuring a new unique heatsink design, MSI Z97 overclocking motherboards ensure the best cooling performance. Saving water cooling enthusiasts having to buy a waterblock for our motherboards, new generation overclocking models feature a no compromise built-in solution within the heatsink. So whether you choose a traditional air cooling or enthusiast water cooling solution, be sure to expect the lowest temperatures and maximum performance under the most extreme conditions.

OC Engine
Run into unstable situations when pushing your CPU to the limit? This occurs because the internal clocks are linked through the 100 MHz BCLK strap. Thanks to a integrated Clock Generator, MSI Z97 Overclocking motherboards support more flexible BCLK adjustments, from 100 / 125 / 167 MHz straps. Using these straps prevents system crashing while overclocking on the edge and opens doors to achieve the absolute maximum.


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