The MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX AC is designed for over clockers in mind, there is no point putting butter on the bread as that is exactly what it is. With that being said, overclocking is also one of my favourite hobbies and when it comes to overclocking new hardware, I feel a sense of enjoyment with it that I don’t get in any video game etc.
One of the things about reviewing newly released motherboards is they usually come with an early release BIOS which can effectively hinder the potential as BIOS/drivers usually get better with every update/refresh. With that being said, having had a close look at the Z87 MPOWER MAX, I sort of knew what I was getting myself in to.
With my i7 4770k CPU being considered one of the “good” ones, I know the limits of my chip which ultimately, the Z87 MPOWER MAX managed to achieve flawlessly. With the Z97 MPOWER MAX AC being ultimately a refresh of the prior motherboard but with the added features of the Z97 chipset and of course newly designed heat sinks, what was the score on the door going to be?
Well initially all was well and the BIOS screens are not only great to look at, but it was also very functional with plenty of options to tickle any over clocker or enthusiast. One issue is the MPOWER MAX ACs egotistical need to apply extra voltage via the LLC (load line calibration) so essentially if you are running at 4.5GHz with 1.2v, it would bump it up to around 1.22/1.23v meaning that it is pumping unneeded juice into the CPU which not only increases temperatures but is also a waste.
Moving onto actual overclocking capability, I managed to hit 5.1GHz stable which co-indently, was exactly what I managed to hit from the Z87 MPOWER MAX meaning that the Z97 version at least keeps to the same ethos of pushing chips to the limit. Aside from the obvious over-volting, this is the best Z97 board in terms of overclocking so far and with an early BIOS version (still the latest one), that could improve over the next couple of months which would be pretty fantastic in my opinion.
For those not to proficient at overclocking manually, MSI also implement the OC Genie buttons onto their boards which effectively overclock automatically for you based on your components quality and overclockability. Here is what I managed to achieve with the OC Genie which is a very nice overclock given all you have to do is press a button on the motherboard itself; you can also do this in the BIOS.