MSI Z87I motherboard review

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Hardware Setup and Benchmark Software Used


Hardware and Software Used

We now begin the benchmark portion of this article, but first let me show you our test system plus the software we used.




Core i7 4770K

Graphics Cards

GeForce GTX 580



Power Supply Unit

1200 Watt (DXX PCIe 2.0 model)


Dell 3007WFP - up to 2560x1600

OS related Software

Windows 7 64-bit SP1 (latest patches & updates installed)
DirectX 9/10/11 latest End User Runtime
GeForce 263.09 WHQL (we keep using an old NV driver so all older results remain comparable)

Software benchmark suite

SiSoft Sandra
3DMark Vantage
Cyberlink MediaEspresso
CineBENCH 11.5
Far Cry 2
Crysis 2
Tomb Raider
BioShock infinite 

A Word About "FPS"

What are we looking for in gaming, performance wise? First off, obviously Guru3D tends to think that all games should be played at the best image quality (IQ) possible. There's a dilemma though, IQ often interferes with the performance of a graphics card. We measure this in FPS, the number of frames a graphics card can render per second, the higher it is the more fluently your game will display itself.

A game's frames per second (FPS) is a measured average of a series of tests. That test is often a time demo, a recorded part of the game which is a 1:1 representation of the actual game and its gameplay experience. After forcing the same image quality settings; this time-demo is then used for all graphics cards so that the actual measuring is as objective as can be.

Frames per second Gameplay
<30 FPS very limited gameplay
30-40 FPS average yet very playable
40-60 FPS good gameplay
>60 FPS best possible gameplay
  • So if a graphics card barely manages less than 30 FPS, then the game is not very playable, we want to avoid that at all cost.
  • With 30 FPS up-to roughly 40 FPS you'll be very able to play the game with perhaps a tiny stutter at certain graphically intensive parts. Overall a very enjoyable experience. Match the best possible resolution to this result and you'll have the best possible rendering quality versus resolution, hey you want both of them to be as high as possible.
  • When a graphics card is doing 60 FPS on average or higher then you can rest assured that the game will likely play extremely smoothly at every point in the game, turn on every possible in-game IQ setting.
  • Over 100 FPS? You either have a MONSTER graphics card or a very old game.

Monitor Setup

Before playing games, setting up your monitor's contrast & brightness levels is a very important thing to do. I realized recently that a lot of you guys have set up your monitor improperly. How do we know this? Because we receive a couple of emails every now and then telling us that a reader can't distinguish between the benchmark charts (colors) in our reviews. We realized, if that happens, your monitor is not properly set up.


Looking at the above graph, what are you looking for?

  • Top bar - This simple test pattern is evenly spaced from 0 to 255 brightness levels, with no profile embedded. If your monitor is correctly set up, you should be able to distinguish each step, and each step should be visually distinct from its neighbors by the same amount. Also, the dark-end step differences should be about the same as the light-end step differences. Finally, the first step should be completely black.
  • The three lower blocks - The far left box is a black box with in the middle a little box a tint lower then black. The middle box is a lined square with a central grey square. The far right white box has a smaller "grey" box that should barely be visible.

You should be able to distinguish all small differences, only then you monitor is setup properly contrast and saturation wise.

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