MSI was once only known by the system builders and OEMs, but now MSI is everything gaming and overclocking. The MPOWER line is MSI’s cream of the crop when it comes to overclocking and high end. The MSI Z97 MPOWER is a overclocking and system builder’s dream board.
With a low cost compared to its competitors such as Asus ROG and Gigabyte OC series, the Z97 MPOWER is at a great price and even just installing and testing the boards basics leaves you with the great feeling of your first build all over again. When installing this board the first glance only showed one issue for most users, the lack of front/mid board USB ports(3 sets). For us this was a issue as our AIO took up one, our front panel took up 2 more leaving no ports for our internal BT module.
Now without further delay lets take a look at the Z97 MPOWER motherboard and all its accessories.
First we have the bright yellow and flashy M on the front of the box. This box will catch your attention right away, though it does not have a lot of info on the front it will catch your eye and make you want to pick it up to see what features it has to offer.
Then you can open the front leaflet up and see all the key features that the Z97 MPOWER has to offer.
The board is packaged very well, giving you a feeling of comfort when picking up the board from the store and taking it home. MSI did not over package the Z97 MPOWER with foam or anything like that. They used well cut out cardboard as well as a standard static shield.
First item in the box will be the motherboard but lets start with the accessories.
First the Z97 MPOWER comes with a quick installation guide with basic tips on how to setup your system. The black and white leaflet is very simple and in many languages. It will give you some basic help with your setup but the color guides that MSI includes are far more useful.
Next the Z97 MPOWER contains 6 Sata cables, 3 with right angles and 3 straight cables. The cable quality is standard to all other sata cables but the black cables do look great in most builds. Most boards come with 4 sata cables and though it does not cost much for the cables the extra 2 is nice to have.
Another great feature of the Z97 MPOWER is the Volt Checks that do not require soldering. These great little cables can be plugged right to the board then checked with your volt meter.
A Flat yellow driver and application disc is included that contains all the drivers and MSI only software you will need for setting up your system. Caution do not select install all or you will end up with Norton and nobody likes Norton these days. A Norton removal tool is found here: Norton Removal Link
Beautiful case badge, with the yellow OC Series tag, white MSI and black carbon fiber looking background. The sticker sticks to even meshed cases very well.
MSI did an amazing job with their MSI Intel 9 Series OC Guide. Good resolution colored photos and very simple to follow instructions on how to overclock their Z97 boards. Definitely worth taking a look over if you have the chance.
MSI includes a very detailed Z97 MPOWER User Guide, with everything a first time builder would need to know as well as some features even veteran builders may find useful. Plus the whole thing is English only which to me this is a win as it is actually a longer well written guide, unlike many competitors multi language mini guides that just look larger due to many languages.
The Software and Application User Guide with the Z97 MPOWER is a must read. It contains the basics for everything from OC Gene to XSplit. The fact MSI spent the time to write guides for third party software truly highlights their desire to give their endusers the best experience possible.
Simple but clearly well thought out matte black I/O Shield with a black foam backing to make for a simple install. The Foam backing is supposed to offer sound and vibration dampening and feels great to the touch.
Well placed rear ports. From left to right with dual USB 2.0 under, Bios Reset switch, Dual usb 2.0 Stacked, 4 USB 3.0 Stacked, Toslink, HDMI and Display Port Stacked, Gigabyte Ethernet and dual USB 3.0 Stacked, 8 Channel 3.5mm Audio