So here we are, down to the conclusion on what was always going to be a very interesting motherboard to test. Like the last MPOWER MAX I took a look at (Z87) version, has there been any drastic improvements over what was already a winner in my eyes and is it enough to warrant a purchase? Let’s find out…
Starting with the performance, the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC really has a lot going for it. It performs well (albeit not as good as the Z97I GAMING AC in some of the tests) but ultimately its best aspect is of course overclocking. With the MPOWER being cast as an overclocking board, it does exactly what it says on the tin although I will be the first to admit the experience could have been made a little better; this could just be down to launch day BIOS issues. The main concern for me while overclocking is MSI’s disregard for solid VDROOP control on their latest range of boards. When I set 1.3v in the BIOS I really do expect it to be 1.3v and not 1.32 or 1.33v as it not only generates extra heat but overvolting also uses un-necassary power. In terms of synthetic benchmark performance the MPOWER MAX AC does very well and is certainly an improvement (albeit small) over the previous Z87 version.
Touching more on the design of the Z97 MPOWER MAX AC motherboard, MSI have not only gone above and beyond with certain features but they have utilised them perfectly in my opinion. With an 8 layer ATX PCB, 12 PWM phases and the fantastic new heat sinks which include the new water-cooled MOSFET heat sink, it would be very hard to ignore all the design work that has gone into the creation of this beautiful thing. The yellow and black theme has always been a huge thing for me as it not only signifies an MSI OC Series board, but it’s nice to break the mould from the typical blue and red builds that seem to be appearing everywhere currently. The new heat sinks implemented on the new Z97 MPOWER MAX AC have me lost for words, not only for the inclusion of the barbs for water cooling which rival brands have been doing with the Z87 versions, but the actual look of them really strikes me. Combine this with a clutter free and largely spacious CPU socket and you have a winner for the best of overclockers and enthusiasts among us.
Price wise the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC motherboard impresses too. When the Z87 MPOWER MAX originally came onto the market, it was £200+ which although expensive, did signify the price cost in my opinion. Well the Z97 version does one better, it will cost you around £179.99 give or take a few pounds which in my estimations is a very good price and should put other companies with their OC themed boards on watch. Not only do you get 5GHz AC wireless support but you get a whole host of overclocking features making this a top board for anyone looking to push their CPUs to the limit. Devils Canyon will be upon us soon and the Z97 will support the new range of CPUs so it will be interesting to see if more power means better performance with them!
To wrap things up, the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC motherboard has a lot going for it. Not only is it a solid choice for over clockers but general users too. With AC 5GHz wireless support, great performance and also a plethora of accessories which will make you think some companies have been short-changing you for years. The MPOWER MAX AC has the power but will you choose to use it? I leave that one up to you.
Big thanks to MSI for sending the MPOWER MAX AC in for review and we look forward to seeing more in the near future.
If you are looking for a board to overclock current Intel Haswell CPUs and even in preparation for Broadwell, the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC will do that and more! MSI’s latest overclocking board not only looks fantastic but it performs well too making this a gold standard board in my opinion.
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