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MSI MPower Max review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £175
inc VAT

Great overclocking features and connection ports make this a great buy for enthusiasts


LGA1150, ATX, Intel Z87 chipset, supports: 4th generation Intel Celeron, Pentium, Core i3/i5/i7

The MSI Z87 MPower Max is an Intel Z87-based motherboard designed for overclocking, and is packed with onboard and software features that help you push your unlocked Haswell processors to the limit. There’s an onboard switch to enable an automatic overclock, for example, and increase or decrease the base clock of the system.

MSI MPower Max

As the Z87 MPower Max uses the Intel Z87 chipset, the motherboard only accepts processors compatible with the LGA1150 socket, and as it’s designed for overclocking you’ll want to install one of Intel’s unlocked “K” processors, such as the Core i5-4670K that we’ve used. It doesn’t make sense to pay £175 for this board and then install a processor that only runs at stock speeds.

The Z87 MPower Max is an ATX motherboard, so there’s plenty of scope for expansion within its 304x244mm frame. There are four memory slots that can accommodate up to 64GB of RAM, for instance, and the board supports Intel’s XMP memory profiles and memory running at up to 3,000MHz.

There are three PCI Express x16 expansion slots, although only one runs at x16. The second slot runs at x8 and the third runs at x4. The Z87 MPower Max supports 2-way CrossFire and three-way SLI, so keen gamers and graphics card overclockers are pretty well catered for. There are no legacy PCI slots, and although this may inconvenience some users we think it’s a good decision. This board is intended for those who want to tinker with the latest gear, not install an old TV tuner and forget about it.

MSI MPower Max

You’ll therefore also find four PCI x1 slots. Some of the x1 slots will be blocked if you use one or more dual-slot graphics cards, but otherwise you’ll have enough slots to install a couple of expansion cards. We don’t think you’ll need to install extra USB cards, though, as the Z87 MPower Max has enough onboard headers to power four USB connectors and four USB3 connectors. It even comes with a bracket that you can attach to your PC’s backplate.

Even then, you may be better off using the USB3 headers on your PC case’s front panel as the Z87 MPower Max has six on its rear connection panel. Here, you’ll also find two USB ports, a PS/2 port for legacy keyboards and mice, six 3.5mm audio jacks, an optical S/PDIF output, two HDMI outputs, a DisplayPort output and a Killer Ethernet port. The Killer Ethernet port is controlled by an E2205 Killer LAN controller that works to prevent you from being ejected form an multiplayer game because of poor network conditions. It’s difficult to test such claims conclusively, but you do get a utility that lets you adjust bandwidth and conduct speed tests.

MSI MPower Max

The Z87 MPower Max is bundled with a plug-in Wi-Fi module that provides you with 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4 and Intel Wi-Di connectivity. You’ll need a compatible TV or an Intel Wi-Di receiver to output to your display via Intel Wi-Di, though, and we’d have preferred 802.11ac Wi-Fi compatibility.

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Basic Specifications

Processor socketLGA1150
Form factorATX
Processor support4th generation Intel Celeron, Pentium, Core i3/i5/i7
Processor external bus100MHz
Chipset north bridgeIntel Z87
Chipset south bridgeIntel Z87
Passively-cooled north bridgeyes
Integrated graphicsNo
Supported memory typeDDR3
Maximum memory speedPC3-24000
Memory slots4
Maximum memory64GB
Dual-channel supportyes

Buying Information


Internal Ports

Power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX
PCI-E x16 slots3
Dual graphics architecture2-way SLI, 3-way CrossFire
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots4
PCI slots0
Fan headers5
Floppy ports0
IDE ports0
Serial ATA ports0
RAID chipset (max disks)Intel Z87 (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)


Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Sound (ports)Realtek ALC1150 (optical S/PDIF, 6x analogue)
USB2 ports / headers8/4
Firewire ports / headers0/0
Legacy portsnone
Other ports2x HDMI, DisplayPort
Cables included8x SATA, 1x SLI bridge, 1x CrossFire X bridge, 1x Molex to SATA power cable
Brackets included1x USB3, 1x eSATA/Molex power connector
Software includednone

Setup and Overclocking

Voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/GPU
CPU clock max adjustment300MHz

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