The MSI Z87-G43 Motherboard Review
Over the last month or so we have covered Intel’s latest generation of CPUs in a number of ways from the initial CPU article, through system reviews and motherboard comparisons. In that last category we looked at MSI’s Z77-G45 Gaming board and it scored well against a slightly cheaper offering from another manufacturer. Having seen that MSI felt they could compete really well with their G43 board so today we have that very product on our test bench to see how it compares.
Packaging and Bundle
MSI use some nice clear branding on their box for this product and it lets us know about some of the key features, including the use of high spec components despite this being a more value orientated board. Inside we get a basic bundle which includes product documentation, SATA cable, software disc and IO shield.
The Z87-G43 uses an ATX PCB (30.5×22.4cm) and as with most recent boards the focus here is very much on dark PCB with the addition of blue components which looks rather nice. In two locations we have passive coolers and powering the board we have one 8pin connector and a 24-pin connector. As is common on lower end boards no additional power is required from Molex or SATA port.
So what do MSI offer that helps them stand out from the competition? Well the key feature is Military Class 4. To us that means Super Ferrite Core chokes, solid capacitors, humidity protection, ESD protection, EMI protection and high temperature protection. MSI also build in OC Genie 4 which assists us in setting MSI approved overclocks to boost performance while maintaining stability.
MSI start their PCIe slots with a 1x connector before running through PCIe 16x, 1x, PCI, 8x and then ending with dual PCI slots. Over at the right edge of the board we find six SATA ports and interestingly two are at alternate angles to the other four. These ports are running off the Intel chipset (SATA3) with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 supported along with AHCI.
Moving up the right edge of the board we find the 24-pin connector and beside it our front panel USB connector. Behind these are our four memory slots and those are split into a dual channel configuration allowing speeds well in excess of 2000MHz with XMP also included.
Turning round to the back panel we have a PS/2 connector and it sits above 2x USB 2.0. MSI then go with dual USB 2.0, HDMI, GB-LAN, 2x USB 2.0, VGA, DVI, 2x USB 3.0 and finally we have our 3.5mm audio connectors.
Into the bios it becomes immediately clear that MSI have brought the same excellent code from their higher end boards onto this version… with the main change being the theme used. Down the sides of the screen are large buttons which allow us to move into different areas of the BIOS including overclocking and the ability to flash from USB as well as view more detailed information on our system.
Then with the main software in Windows MSI offer two altertatives for management and tweaking of software, their own Command Centre and a rebrand of Intels Extreme Tweaking Utility. Audio is then handled by Creatives Sound Blaster Cinema technology and control panel.