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June 18, 2013

MSI Unleashes Z87 XPOWER Flagship LGA1150 Motherboard

Z87 MPOWER and Z87 MPOWER MAX, two of MSI's top overclocker-targeted socket LGA1150 motherboards, are joined by the company's new flagship motherboard, the Z87 XPOWER. Built in the XL-ATX (345 x 264 mm) form-factor, this board gets you the best MSI has to offer, and is ideal for both CPU and VGA overclocking benches. The CPU is powered by a gargantuan 32-phase digital-PWM power supply, which draws power from two 8-pin EPS connectors, in addition to the 24-pin ATX, and an optional 6-pin PCI-Express connector. 

The CPU socket is wired to four DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR3-3000+ memory, and a PLX PEX8747 PCI-Express gen 3.0 bridge chip, which gives out four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, two of which are x16 capable, all four of which are x8-capable. One of the five x16 slots, the second one from top, is directly wired to the CPU, and plugging a graphics card on that slot will bypass the bridge-chip. This slot is ideal for when you have just one card. Two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots take seat between the x16 slots, wired to the PCH. In addition to 4-way NVIDIA SLI and 4-way AMD CrossFireX, the board includes Lucid Virtu MVP 2.0 software.

On the storage connectivity front, the Z87 XPOWER gives you six SATA 6 Gb/s ports from the Z87 PCH, from which one can be converted to an mSATA 6 Gb/s, four internal SATA 6 Gb/s ports from ASMedia ASM1061 controllers. All four USB 3.0 ports from the PCH are given out as internal headers, while a pair of ASMedia ASM1074 controllers handle four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel. There are two USB 2.0/1.1 ports on the rear panel, six by headers. Other connectivity includes 8-channel HD audio driven by Realtek ALC1150 CODEC backed by Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 software, 802.11 b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, and one gigabit Ethernet interface driven by Killer E2205 controller.

Display outputs include two HDMI, and a DisplayPort. This board is a treat for overclockers, apart from the strong VRM. You get voltage measurement points, OC Genie, boot to BIOS button, redundant BIOS, PCIe Ceasefire, and PCIe power boost. MSI didn't give out pricing or availability.