MSI Z77A-G41 More Added Soon
MSI Z77A-G41 Simple but Sweet
MSI over the years has moved up leaps and bounds, not only in their notebooks but in all aspecs of their business. Backtrack for me 3-4 years, "Who is MSI?" a common question but at this point most people do not have them as a household name. MSI is focusing on cutting costs and hitting the mid to low end venue but is mostly only common in Mom and Pop Shops and OEMS.
Though MSI may contain some great and solid products at this time most high end customers steer clear of them do to the consumer class bad name.
As the years speed on MSI does not only remodel but they do a complete renewal and revamp. The old image of get the cheap gear out in vollume changes to "Innovation with Style."
This new slogan and phylosify brings new life to a company that could of went the way of many others and just failed. They now hit the market with some of the industries best Laptops, Gpu's and Motherboards.
Laptops that have great style, the ability to easily upgrade and clean. MSI made RAID 0 common place in laptops where before it was only common in desktops. They created better cooling, massive amounts of ram and storage and amazing "Style"
GPU's are always feature rich from the high end Lightning class with awe inspiring PWN Phase, near silent operation and Insutry leading Ocerclockability out of the box to their Low/mid end with Propeller Blade Techology that gives even the low end better cooling and quiet operations.
Motherboards with hundreds of records under their belts and the game changing Mpower Series MSI has not only fit in with the big dogs but utterly destroyed them in the world of Overclocking, Stability and Power users go to boards. Though their ultra high end is something that cannot be matched does the same sense of style and power go to the low end?
Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure, Disapointment and humbling experience of using the Z77A-G41 in my main system as my Motherboard of choice.
First Visual Impression
The MSI G77A-G41 at first glance is a plain board with a great colour scheme, no mosfet coolers or massive flashing chipset coolers but definetly has its own style and finess
Even though the cost of the board is very low it is feature rich with 4 dimms, CrossfireX,4x USB 3.0 2 back 2 mid, HDMI and VGA, PCIE 3.0 and all solid caps.
Setup and OS Install
Due to the cost of this board I geared my install to basics as well as left all settings stock in the bios for the initial setup. The install of the board into my Low cost case was simple and a total pleasure, gave me no issues installing a intel AIO water cooler as well as all components were left with more then the standard spacing making for a very fast and simple hardware setup.
The first boot up to install was very fast and with no tweaking windows installed flawlessly.
Using a Intel i7 3770K, MSI 650 2GB OC, Standard Kingston SV300 120GB SSD and 16GB Gskill DDR3 2133(running at 1600) I have boot times of 8-10 seconds from Bios to fulling into windows.
Using the initial driver install I decided to go a diferent route and try the Live Update 5, This program was a absolute treat it found all the most recent drivers and did so fast and even with the most basic knowledge can be used. It even updated the bios to the newest bios.
Day One Ocing
With the bios all the way updated to 7758v2A I went in for some fun. Right away I noticed the Intel XMP profiles for this board would not work on any ram that ran over 1866MHz, though for most people buying a board of this cost this is not a concern but it is a disapointment.
Another Disapointment is the limited OCing ability of this board due to its Locked Voltage increase of .16V over stock.
Even with that limited Voltage offset I was still able to get a 3770K to run very stable at 4.6GHz at 1.35V core.
Ram could only be made stable at higher clocks by doing so manually so I manually set my DDR3 2133 to its stock settings and got a constant restart.
After over an hour of fighting with it the best the board could handle on 4 different brands and kits was 9-10-9-28 2000 @ 1.65V at these settings full stablity was maintained.
Final Thoughts and Expected Customer base
After using this board for a few weeks I can honestly say MSI hit the mark for a low cost board, Most likely this board fits nice with a 3570K and standard speed ram. It provides enough overclocking ablitity for a basic consumer but leaves a power user disapointed and wanting more.
I would highly recommend this board for people who cannot wait for Haswell and want a solid but upgradable board.
I also highly recommend this board for reseller purchasers and system builders as it makes for an amazingly low cost platform but does not feel cheap.
MSI has made this board to fill the low end gap on the Z77 Seires and in my mind they have done this very well.
This is the perfect board for a normal to high end gamer who just wants a solid computer that works.
Cool I like smaller boards
But I maybe doing ITX soon and the GPU's are super mini
Current Reviews will include,
-Price to features
-Bios(Out of box and updated)
-Speed changes through ram speeds
-Boot time with SSD(Low cost SSD everyone should have one by now)
-Shutdown time with low cost SSD
-Best recommended build to use this motherboard/gpu with
I foresee a very awesome mini 1080p gaming machine :)
First mini Review posted much to add to this shortly
Thanks for the review. That's a good overclock with such a budget mobo. Was on the fence with some of their boards but I might grab one for a HTPC build now.
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