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MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard Review

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Closer Look: MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard

MSI are giving Z77 one last chance to show what it is capable of before Intel release Haswell CPU’s and Z78 socket Motherboards. It makes sense for MSI to release it’s gaming line-up on an established platform since all issues have been ironed out by now and stability is crucial when releasing something new.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Box.jpg

The box tells you everything you need to know while remaining minimal. There is no doubt about the purpose of this motherboard.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Top_View.jpg

The MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING Motherboard has a black colored PCB and rich red accents on the heatsinks. The first potential issue I noticed is the placement of the SATA ports, they are directly in line with the top PCIe 3.0 x16 slot and I noticed that my video card makes contact. The MSI Z77A-G45 GAMING motherboard supports up to 32GB DDR3 memory in its four DIMM slots. Depending on your CPU and RAM, it will support memory speeds up to 3000MHz (OC).

The PCIe lanes are laid out as follows:

  1. PCIe 2.0 x1
  2. PCIe 3.0 x16 (16 lanes)
  3. PCIe 2.0 x1
  4. PCIe 2.0 x1 (When populated #3 will not function)
  5. PCIe 3.0 x16 (16 lanes)
  6. PCIe 2.0 x1
  7. PCIe 2.0 x16 (x8 electrical, x4 speed)

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_CPU_Socket.jpg

The CPU socket looks quite crowded but your CPU’s mounting mechanism will be the deciding factor here. The mounting system of the Noctua NH-D14 provides ample clearance above the capacitors and chokes surrounding the LGA115x socket and a low profile set of Corsair memory modules sit comfortably in DDR3 slots 2 and 4.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_IO_Rear.jpg

The Z77 chipset supports the integrated GPU of 2nd and 3rd Gen’ Intel Core processors. Which video ports a board will provide is up to the vendor; MSI provides VGA, DVI, and HDMI outputs. Starting from the left, there’s a combination PS/2 port for a mouse or keyboard, two USB 2.0 sockets, the Clear CMOS button, RCA and optical audio outputs, two more USB 2.0 ports and the HDMI connector, a gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 connectors, the VGA and DVI ports, and last a standard analog audio panel.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_SATA_USB_Ports.jpg

Storage is not one of the strongest points of this motherboard, MSI have provided only the ports that are supported by the CPU. SATA ports 1~2 are 6GB/s compliant while ports 3~6 are 3GB/s compliant.

MSI_Z77A-G45_Gaming_Motherboard_Dragon_Heatsink.jpg

The MSI dragon has migrated from their gaming notebook line to the desktop gaming platform, making a statement about MSI’s commitment to PC gaming enthusiasts.


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