The Z87 Mpower MAX is to be considered the premium class product. It is chucked full & packed with features, but that does come at a certain price-tag of course. This motherboard will cost you 275 EUR. But it really is money well spend as you are about to find out. Below is the packaging and bundle. As you'll notice the motherboard is certainly a good looking motherboard alright. An all new black & yellow style that will be matching their Mpower series enthusiast graphics card products from MSI, new cooling heatsinks.
Included with the motherboard are the standards like SATA cables, manual, driver CD, IO rear backplane, some Voltage Check cables and then some premium gear like:
- USB 3.0 bracket
- WIFI Antenna's x2
- mPCIe card with WIFI/BlueTooth/WIDI
- SLI cable
- V-Check cables x4
The I/O back panel reveals two USB 2.0 ports with another six USB 3.0 ports. The most right USB 2.0 connectors have extra gold in them. The motherboard features three PCIe x16 Gen 3.0 expansion slots and four PCIe x1 slots. A Realtek ALC1150 (!) high definition audio codec is the source for audio and we spot the KillerNIC 10/100/1000 fast Ethernet (KillerNIC E2200). There is a single PS/2 combo port that can be used for either a keyboard or a mouse, optical SPDIF in/out port and six OFC (oxygen free) audio jacks. We are confused; monitor connectors wise. Not one but two HDMI connectors and one DisplayPort. Then there's a clear CMOS button, the gap next to it is space for the WIFI module. This is all VERY extensive.
The motherboard is just gorgeous to look at really. The Z87 has an improved 20 (8+12) VRMs. The board comes with diagnostic LEDs and voltage measurement points. Familiar will be the three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x8/x4/x4-capable slots and four PCI-Express 2.0 x1. Of course MSI applied their Military Class IV components on the motherboard and you'll spot OC Genie which increases your overall CPU and Memory performance (pressing it will result in a Core i7 4770K to OC to 4200 MHz).
The board has two 8-pin power feeds for the processor located on just behind the rear IO panel. The board is loaded with hidden little extra's by the way. We'll show you them all in this review of course. The Z87 is built with Military Class IV components that entails DrMOS II - Hi-c CAP - SFC (Super Ferrite Choke) and usage of Solid capacitors and now Dark Capacitors, with their aluminum core design, Dark CAP's have been a staple in high-end motherboard design and provides lower Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR) as well as its over-10-year lifespan.
The board is 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.
The core of Military Class 4 is based on the essentials which increase your stability in the toughest conditions.
The humidity protection and high temperature protection ensure your system can survive each environment, no matter how harsh. The new structure of the PCB limits EMI radiation. On top of that the all the connectors have ESD protection in order to prevent short circuit.
You will spot V-Check Points to accurately measure voltages for the CPU, integrated graphics, memory, and PCH. Four DIMM slots with support for dual-channel 1066/1333/1600*/1866*/2000*/2133*(OC), 2200*/2400*/2600*/2667*/2800* and yes even 3000* (*OC, 22nm CPU required).