Overclocking and Conclusion
To give you a taste of the XPower's overclocking abilities, we set out to see the how far we could push the board with minimal tweaking. I was able to get the board running stable at a 4.65GHz CPU speed, a 1770MHz memory speed, and a 4.15GHz ring bus speed at a 166MHz base clock. System stability was tested overnight running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with FurMark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 2x MSAA in stress test mode.
This is is meant only as a tease of the board's performance potential. Please stay tuned for our second look review of the board for a more detailed look into the full overclocking and performance potential of the XPower board.
MSI design of the Z87 XPower is masterful. They took their Z87 MPower design and perfected it. It is a bit large, but you get what you pay for. And with the Z87 XPower, you're getting top notch performance and rock solid stability.
As of September 30, the MSI Z87 XPower motherboard was available at Newegg.com for $439.99. The board was also available from other retailers such as Amazon.com for $398.99 with Prime shipping and TigerDirect.com for $473.99.
With their Z87 line of boards, MSI took a divergent route from their Z77 line and built upon the success of the original MPower board. This led to a tiered delivery approach with the Z87 XPower taking the pole position. They kept to the signature yellow and black color scheme, adding an enhanced heat pipe cooling system and an overhauled power delivery system to the mix. The Z87 XPower upped the ante here, designing the board with a full 32-phases of military spec'd digital awesomeness. The board has looks to match with a glowing logo in its VRM heat pipe, an on-board MSI glowing logo, and a glowing audio chipset cooler (as well as the glowing separator line between the audio PCB and main PCB).
To offer all the features that MSI wished to pack into the Z87 XPower, they increased both the length and width of the board forcing it into the XL-ATX zone. This sizing should not be a factor for most higher end cases, but definitely something to be aware of. When you first go to install the board, you will notice the weight of it. The bulk of the weight is due in no small part to the solid heat sinks MSI laid to rest on the VRMs and PCIe bridge chip. The dense heat sinks are very effective in cooling the power and bridge chips, lending credence to MSI's non-traditional approach with their design.
- Stock performance
- Full 32 digital power phases dedicated to the CPU
- CMOS battery placement – accessible under most conditions
- Board layout and design
- Killer NIC
- Removable Wi-Fi add-in card
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- Motherboard manual information
- CMOS battery blocked when board used in multi-GPU configuration
- Lack of accessible PCI-Express x1 port with all PCI-Express x16 slots filled