MSI Z77A-G45 Gaming Review

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Gigabyte Z77A-G45 Gaming Review

Introduction

Motherboards are, as we've often said here at OC3D, now so interchangeable thanks to the excellence of the Intel chipsets that you can purchase almost anything and be sure of a good foundation to your system. 

The days when you had to be brand loyal, or when the feature set of a particular model was so rich it was deserving of your hard-earned are slowly disappearing. It takes more than a highly tunable DFI BIOS to separate them.

That doesn't mean that there aren't differences to be had. In a lot of cases your choice is either one that is ultra-high-end just for the sake of having a particular brand in your signature, or maybe you're stuck with an average looking board to obtain one within your price range. Similarly to the ASUS X58 Sabertooth, MSI have blown the motherboard world wide open with their MPOWER, which was both feature-rich, great looking and high performing yet cost a mere £150. It covered all the bases so well that it's difficult to recommend any other motherboard.

Rather than rest upon their laurels MSI have gone back to the drawing board and seen if they can provide a motherboard that has enough differences to the standard types to be a genuine contender. Enter the Gaming series, designed for the people who want a good underpinning for their system, without minding too much about obscure features or having to pay through the nose for the privilege of one that looks nice.

Technical Specifications

So if you want a motherboard that is good value, but don't want to be stuck with a bright blue one or one with an entirely indistinguishable feature set, the MSI Z77 G45 Gaming provides some surprisingly well thought out options. 

We have the usual suspects that are part of the Z77 chipset, lots of SATA and USB options alongside some fast Memory speeds and multi-GPU support. MSI have added to this a couple of things that should prick up the ears of the gaming community. We have the Realtek® ALC892 with Soundblaster Cinema support for your audio, and the Killer E2205 Network controller for low ping even when your connection is being used for downloads.

  • Intel® Z77 Express Chipset
    Supports 3rd Gen & 2nd Gen Intel® Core™ / Pentium® / Celeron® processors for LGA 1155 socket
  • DDR3-3000 (OC) Memory
  • USB 3.0 + SATA 6Gb/s
  • Killer Ethernet: Kill Your Lag
  • Military Class III: Top Quality & Stability
  • OC Genie II: Overclock in 1 Second
  • Click BIOS II: World's 1st UEFI and Software Graphical User Interface
  • PCI Express Gen 3: World's 1st PCI Express Gen 3 Motherboard Brand
  • Multi-GPU Support: NVIDIA SLI & AMD CrossFire Support
  • Sound Blaster Cinema: Realistic Surround Sound Experience
  • Gaming Device Port: Optimized with Triple Gold-plating for High Frequency Gaming Devices
  • Total Fan Control: Optimize All Fan Speed As You Wish
  • Lucid Virtu MVP: Uncompromised Game Response Performance
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Most Recent Comments

22-04-2013, 07:15:17

tinytomlogan
Today we're reviewing the base model in the new Gaming line of motherboards from MSI.

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...165927337l.JPG


Continue Reading

22-04-2013, 07:25:39

SieB
Killer Ethernet and a Creative sound chip on a 120 mobo? Why do people pay 300+ for the Gigabyte G1 Killer boards again?

22-04-2013, 07:39:11

WillSK
Looks like a really nice price/performance board!

22-04-2013, 09:53:43

equk
Quote:
Originally Posted by SieB View Post
Killer Ethernet and a Creative sound chip on a 120 mobo? Why do people pay 300+ for the Gigabyte G1 Killer boards again?
Audio : Realtek ALC892
Ethernet: Killer E2205

Quote:
Equally the SoundBlaster Cinema sound is good, but it's still a Realtek ALC892 beneath the hood. The merits of the Killer Networking solution have been long debated, and whilst there isn't any particular advantage in ping or speed in standard situations, if your PC unexpectedly starts updating something or you forgot to kill a torrent, then the traffic shaping keeps your gaming smooth.
^^^

Really nice review, like how the mention of the audio and network were kept to the facts

Re: Killer NIC:
Not sure I'd want traffic shaping forced via integrated hardware (most routers will provide this if required anyway)
(from a security pov wouldn't want an integrated embedded device with layer0 access)

22-04-2013, 10:05:51

SieB
Quote:
Originally Posted by equk View Post
Audio : Realtek ALC892
Ethernet: Killer E2205


^^^

Really nice review, like how the mention of the audio and network were kept to the facts

Re: Killer NIC:
Not sure I'd want traffic shaping forced via integrated hardware (most routers will provide this if required anyway)
(from a security pov wouldn't want an integrated embedded device with layer0 access)
I know dude, but they are the main features of the G1 killer boards and apparently why the are so expensive. Seeing the same sort of specs on a 120 mobo makes you wonder how Gigabyte get away with charging so much.

I did think the audio was creative though, got it mixed up with the software :\

http://www.creative.com/oem/products...are/cinema.asp

22-04-2013, 10:37:43

F-alienware
Oh hell yeah wasn't expecting to see this reviewed !!

Thanks guys, will read now

22-04-2013, 10:45:48

Deejeta
love the design of this board. decent performer to boot as well. great review TTL

22-04-2013, 11:51:01

Roooker
I am awaiting the first builds with these boards. I expect them to look great

22-04-2013, 13:06:55

UkGouki
good review i love my g45 mobo does what it says on the tin which is all that matters but personally i would probably get the gd65 gaming board as its only 20 more..

22-04-2013, 13:18:58

F-alienware
Quote:
Originally Posted by UkGouki View Post
good review i love my g45 mobo does what it says on the tin which is all that matters but personally i would probably get the gd65 gaming board as its only 20 more..
What does the GD65 have over the 45, any idea?

22-04-2013, 13:22:53

Saltire35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post
What does the GD65 have over the 45, any idea?
I'd like to know this too.

Seems I have found the motherboard to replace my ageing Asus Crosshair IV though.

22-04-2013, 13:29:42

UkGouki
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienALX View Post
What does the GD65 have over the 45, any idea?
afaik it has more pcie lanes more sata ports, vcheck points and comes with a free steel series mouse if you have 6 or more hdds/ssds the gd65 is good as it had 8 ports 4 sata 6, 4 sata 3

but if you had that many hdds you probably have a sata controller card anyway but for a extra 20 you may aswell get it over the g45 unless they drop the price of the g45 to 50 less than the 65 then i would just get the 45..

23-04-2013, 16:10:19

qhfreddy
How is the power delivery for the CPU on this board? I am planning to do some extreme OCing with a 3570k, but I am torn between this and the ASrock z77 extreme4.

Would you reckon I'd be able to run a 3570k at around 5.5 GHz with the voltages pushed up the wall? (assuming the CPU is adequately cooled OFC)

23-04-2013, 16:13:46

Roooker
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
Would you reckon I'd be able to run a 3570k at around 5.5 GHz with the voltages pushed up the wall? (assuming the CPU is adequately cooled OFC)
Are you sure that you mean 5.5 ? Because 5.5 wont work on anything execpt something sub zero.

23-04-2013, 18:14:07

qhfreddy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roooker View Post
Are you sure that you mean 5.5 ? Because 5.5 wont work on anything execpt something sub zero.
Using water in a very cold room...

23-04-2013, 19:04:07

Josh Weston
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
Using water in a very cold room...
It all depends on your chip. Motherboard plays a part, but it's your chip that's reaching those high clocks. Could a watercooling setup with a low ambient push an above average chip to 5.5GHz? I have my doubts - you'd need a diamond chip for that.

23-04-2013, 20:27:43

qhfreddy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Weston View Post
It all depends on your chip. Motherboard plays a part, but it's your chip that's reaching those high clocks. Could a watercooling setup with a low ambient push an above average chip to 5.5GHz? I have my doubts - you'd need a diamond chip for that.
Well, my question was not about the chip, I'll see what I can get with it when I get it. But, my concern is that the board does not have a good enough power supply for the CPU to keep the voltages constant. Anyone have any ideas as far as that?

24-04-2013, 07:34:04

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
Using water in a very cold room...

LOL youve earned yourself a n000b badge my friend.


24-04-2013, 07:35:56

Josh Weston
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
Well, my question was not about the chip, I'll see what I can get with it when I get it. But, my concern is that the board does not have a good enough power supply for the CPU to keep the voltages constant. Anyone have any ideas as far as that?
Then no, most likely not. But, unless you have a diamond chip, the best board in the world with the most power phases aren't going to help you achieve those clocks either.

24-04-2013, 07:44:37

tinytomlogan
Most motherboards will get the best out of 90% of cpu's

4.6 to 4.8 is an average CPU no matter what the cooling or mobo.

Just smashing volts will buy you an expensive keyring.

24-04-2013, 09:38:36

alpenwasser
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
Using water in a very cold room...
That room would have to be your unheated garden shed in the continental Antarctic winter at
-60 C mate. And even then I'm not sure about 5.5. And you couldn't use water anymore due
to freezing problems.

Don't ask me why you'd have a garden shed in the Antarctic though

24-04-2013, 09:43:02

Feronix
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpenwasser View Post
That room would have to be your unheated garden shed in the continental Antarctic winter at
-60 C mate. And even then I'm not sure about 5.5. And you couldn't use water anymore due
to freezing problems.

Don't ask me why you'd have a garden shed in the Antarctic though
Why would you have a garden shed in the Antarctic?


But yeah, like the guys here are saying, an overclock like that with regular watercooling is not going to happen, not even in a 'cold room'.

24-04-2013, 19:27:27

qhfreddy
Well then, I ask you the question how bad is the thermal conductivity of the chip? How many watts are you pulling at 4.8GHz? What temperature do you get at the base of the heatsink?

It should be pretty easy to estimate the power draw of the chip at 5.5GHz if you know the voltages needed relative to 4.8GHz. Then you can estimate the TJ from the thermal conductivity relative to 4.8GHz and lets say 4.0GHz.

Anyway, so you'd say I can get to the thermal limits of the chip without frying the power delivery or vreg?

24-04-2013, 20:14:44

alpenwasser
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
Well then, I ask you the question how bad is the thermal conductivity of the chip?
Since the chip is physically mostly silicon with a little metal and other bits, and the thermal
conductivity of Si is ~149 Wm−1K−1, it will probably be around that.
However, the chip is the heat source and only conducts its own heat outwards, and I
have yet to see how this information helps you overclock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
How many watts are you pulling at 4.8GHz?
Depends on your voltages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
What temperature do you get at the base of the heatsink?
Depends on your voltages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
It should be pretty easy to estimate the power draw of the chip at 5.5GHz if you know the voltages needed relative to 4.8GHz.
No. For one thing, each chip is different, requiring different voltages for different clocks.
Secondly, the correlation between required voltages and reachable clock speeds is
non-linear, thus making predictions very tricky.

EDIT:
To clarify: You might get 1.5x the clock speeds for 1.3x higher voltage, but to get
1.6x clock speed you might need 1.7x higher voltage. And that might just be for
one single chip, on another chip you might get 1.5x/1.4x and 1.6x/1.8x. I know
these numbers are not realistic, but they should get the point across.
/EDIT

Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
Then you can estimate the TJ from the thermal conductivity relative to 4.8GHz and lets say 4.0GHz.
It's an interesting idea, but doing this with any sort of reliability would require you to
properly investigate the above mentioned relationship and several other factors in high
volume sample tests on a large scale with great precision, then doing some serious
academic statistical analysis on that sample.

Basically, you would need to investigate all those ugly, non-linear relationships and
how they behave over the clock, power and voltage spectrum.

EDIT:
And even that would only enable you to predict anything with limited reliability.
However, provided your sample was large enough and you did your statistical
analysis right, you would be able to assess how reliable/unrealiable your
prediction would be.

Also: The thermal conductivity of the chip would not change over the clock spectrum.
Thermal conductivity has some dependence on temperature, however in the
temperature spectrum we're talking about here that's probably negligible.

I fail to see how changing clock speed in and of itself would influence the chip's
thermal properties. And it also won't be changed by changing the voltages, just
as a side note. The thermal conductivity of silicon is relatively constant in the
environment we're talking about here.
/EDIT

Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
Anyway, so you'd say I can get to the thermal limits of the chip without frying the power delivery or vreg?
You will most likely fry your CPU long before you will ever fry the M/B power delivery
components.

On another note: Did you put the OC Noob thing in your sig or was that a "gift"?

EDIT:
The only way I know of (and if there are others, somebody please
enlighten me, I'm a curious person) to get an IB chip to 5.5 GHz is with some serious
sub-zero cooling. Dry ice, liquid nitrogen and that stuff. No amount of conjecture,
guesstimates or clever thinking will get you around that afaik. It's just basic physics
(well, thermodynamics, really).
/EDIT

24-04-2013, 20:50:39

qhfreddy
OK, I do suppose you are right about the reliability, but I doubt that you'd have much trouble calculating the power needed within 10% of most realistic situations...

The reason I mentioned the thermal conductivity of the silicon is because of a combination of the as I guessed relatively low thermal conductivity of silicon, and the fact that most of the junctions (which I'd think i can safely assume is where over 3/4 of the heat comes from) are not right at the surface of the chip, that is partially explained by the fact that most people get temps on the heatsinks much lower than the temps on the junctions.

Again, I'll see what I can pull out of the chip with some seriously bawlzy overclocking when I get my rig done... (need to wait for christmas that means)

No it was not a "gift", rather an appropriately stolen idea.

Anyway, thanks for giving me the answer to my original question

And a quick question (that doesn't really belong here) how does SB OC compared to IB? I have a hunch that IB chips are getting breakdowns at higher voltages, which is why the temps rocket up above a very defined voltage.

26-04-2013, 06:16:24

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
And a quick question (that doesn't really belong here) how does SB OC compared to IB? I have a hunch that IB chips are getting breakdowns at higher voltages, which is why the temps rocket up above a very defined voltage.
Again you are really way off the mark here. The temps are different because of the TIM used to mount the IHS to the actual cpu.

Overclocking is nearly ALWAYS limited by the CPU itself, the motherboard and the actual users experience come after.

ie: for example every 2700K and 3770K Ive ever touched, used, had has overclocked different to the last one.

26-04-2013, 09:44:30

qhfreddy
Well, if the TIM has a higher thermal resistance I would think that the temperature curves would be similar, not with a spike around 1.4 volts (or wherever you get the sharp rise). That sharp rise AFAIK didn't appear as drastically on the SB chips.

True the TIM and IHS have an effect, but not one this huge. And I doubt the spike would go away if you mounted a heatsink directly to the chip.

The thing is that on the 22nm manufacturing process the transistors are so small that they may start getting breakdowns across the transistors. The leakage current has a low enough voltage not to cause errors, but it still is there and generates a lot of heat. I am not familiar with the gate level architecture of the chips, but either across the gate or between different transistors you might get breakdowns and basically short circuits. I would not be surprised if NVidias Maxwell chips will suffer from the same problem when they move to 20nm.

You are making me want to buy a 2500k and a 3570k so I can compare the two :S

26-04-2013, 09:53:14

alpenwasser
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
True the TIM and IHS have an effect, but not one this huge.
Oh it does have an effect, and a rather significant one at that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
And I doubt the spike would go away if you mounted a heatsink directly to the chip.
Which spike are you referring to? The non-linear increase in required voltage for a certain
gain in clock speed or the parabolic increase in heat output in relation to the voltage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
You are making me want to buy a 2500k and a 3570k so I can compare the two :S
Again, the problem is in the sample size. You'd need to buy a lot of chips to get any sort
of reliable data. You could get a 2500k that does not go beyond 4 GHz, and a 3570k that
easily gets to 4.8, or vice versa. You'd need to test a lot of chips to even this out and enable
you to draw any reliable conclusions.

Not that anyone's stopping you

26-04-2013, 10:12:04

qhfreddy
Well, I saw that the SB CPUs were much more consistent in getting over 5GHz.

The spike I am referring to is the one that appears when you turn up the voltage, where there is a very sharp increase in temperature as you go over a certain voltage. From what I saw most SB chips don't have one that sharp, while IB chips all get it around 1.4V (If I remember correctly, it might be higher).

Of course you could get outliers that don't give as much or give a lot more than expected, but from what I have seen these patterns I am talking about are relatively consistent.

26-04-2013, 11:42:47

Josh Weston
Quote:
Originally Posted by qhfreddy View Post
The spike I am referring to is the one that appears when you turn up the voltage, where there is a very sharp increase in temperature as you go over a certain voltage. From what I saw most SB chips don't have one that sharp, while IB chips all get it around 1.4V (If I remember correctly, it might be higher).
Heh, closer to 1.2v than it is 1.4v for Ivy.

26-04-2013, 16:00:25

UkGouki
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Weston View Post
Heh, closer to 1.2v than it is 1.4v for Ivy.
1.250 for 4.5ghz on mine 4.6 i couldnt get stable even at 1.325 but thats due to heat and using a stock intel cooler. i reccon if i has a dh14 or even h60/h80 i could probably get between 4.6 and 4.8 max on my chip but 4.5 is already more than enough but i didnt like the temps....

on topic
my neighbor has ordered this mobo along with a 3770k h100i and corsair 650 case with 2x 250gb ssds and a 2tb storage drive. i asked him if i could take some pics and he said nope lol but hopefully i manage to get a sneak at it so can truly comment on it
Reply
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