MSI Z97 XPOWER AC – Extreme Overclocking for the new Haswell

Our Final Thoughts

The new Z97 Xpower AC is a superb board on paper and looks pretty damn good as well, and one major good point is it now can fit in a case!

The enthusiasts socket component layout allows for easy insulating of the socket area for extreme overclockers.

The Delid Die Guard is a great idea for those running 4770K chips with bad IHS mount you can now direct die cool your chip.

The native PCIe lanes are only applied to a single slot so if benching a 2 Way card setup you have to run through the PLX Bridge which can induce some latency and while this is not a huge issue, however we saw this on the Z87 model as well and while I have not seen the Z97 Maximus Extreme board I do know that the Z87 version had dual card X8 native as a possibility.

The boards WiFi card pin header is small and I am concerned as to fragility here.

The board delivers on a much more versatile package by taking away the XL-ATX requirement of the Z87 model and I think that as benching picks up in Z87 as I have already seen some benching with this board it could be one of the boards to beat. there are a lot of innovations here but how much value it adds depends on your application.

The Pro’s: Cons
  • Intel Gigabit Lan
  • High end Audio Boost Solution
  • V-Check Point 2
  • Strong VRM with Military Class Components
  • 4 Way SLI Support
  • Delid Die Guard
  • Gaming Device Ports
  • new clean UEFI with some cool options
  • M.2 for SSD or SATA Express
  • Backlit logos and LEDs make for a cool look
  • WiFi Module pin header is fragile so care must be taken
  • No Native dual card configuration for PCIe Lanes
  • Price may scare many users away

 

Review Overview

Performance - 9
Value - 8
Quality - 9
Features - 9
Innovatgion - 9

8.8

The MSI Z97 Xpower AC has some upgrades from the Z87 model including better form factor, now its a question of does it fit your needs.

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