Reviewed: MSI Z87M Gaming

The complete specifications of the Z87M Gaming are listed below. When working with the review sample, we didn’t have any compatibility issues with our components and the on-board power switch was great for the review testing although I’m not sure how often it would be used by the average gamer.

In the past, I’ve installed the drivers that came with motherboards for personal builds but not worried too much about the utility bundle. Over the past couple of years, this has changed as the software utilities (across the board) are becoming higher quality and more meaningful. MSI’s bundle is no exception with the Command Centre software doing a good job of monitoring the system’s vitals, controlling fans, managing the RAMDISK and facilitating a handy overclock at the same time. 

Technical Specifications

CPU Support Socket1150

CPU (Max Support)i7

Chipset Intel® Z87 Express Chipset
Main Memory Support four DDR3 1066/1333/1600/1866*/2000*/2133*/2200*/2400*/2600*/2666*/2800*/3000*(*OC) MHz DRAM, 32GB Max
– Dual channel memory architecture
– Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
– Supports non-ECC, un-buffered memory
PCI-E 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (16,0) or (8,8)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
SATA SATAIII controller integrated in Intel® Z87 chipset
– Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.
– Supports six SATA ports (SATA1~6) by Z87
– Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Start Technology and Intel® Smart Connect Technology2 x SATAIII controller integrated in ASMedia® ASM 1061 chipset
– Up to 6Gb/s transfer speed.
– Supports two e-SATA ports (back panel) by ASM 1061

– SATA1~6 ports support Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise (RAID 0/1/5/10) by Intel Z87

USB Intel Z87 Express Chipset
– 6 x USB 3.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB connectors)
– 6 x USB 2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB connectors)RENESAS UPD720202 chipset
– 2 x USB 3.0 ports on the back panel
Audio Realtek® ALC1150 Codec
– 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
– Supports S/PDIF output
Network 1x Killer E2205 Gigabit LAN controller*
* The Killer Network Manager is only available for Windows 7 and Windows 8 currently.
The supported drivers for other operating systems would be available on the website if provided by vendor.
Multi-GPU Supports 2-Way AMD CrossFireTM Technology*
Supports 2-Way NVIDIA® SLITM Technology
* Supports Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Internal I/O Connections – 1x 24-pin ATX main power connector
– 1x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
– 6x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
– 2x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)
– 1x USB 3.0 connector (supports additional 2 USB 3.0 ports)
– 2x 4-pin CPU fan connectors
– 2x 4-pin system fan connectors
– 1x Front panel audio connector
– 2x System panel connectors
– 1 x TPM connector
– 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
– 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
– 1 x Slow mode booting jumper
– 1 x Power button
– 1 x Reset button
– 1 x OC Genie button
– 1 x OC Genie mode switch
– 1 x 2-Digit Debug Code LED
Rear Panel I/O Connections – 1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse combo port
– 2 x USB 2.0 ports
– 1 x Clear CMOS button
– 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
– 6 x USB 3.0 ports
– 1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
– 2 x eSATA ports
– 6 x OFC audio jacks
– 2 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24Hz, 24bpp/ 2560×1600@60Hz, 24bpp/ 1920×1080@60Hz, 36bpp
– 1 x DisplayPort, supporting a maximum resolution of 4096×2160 @24Hz, 24bpp/ 3840×2160 @60Hz, 24bpp
BIOS The motherboard BIOS provides “Plug & Play” BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
The motherboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your motherboard specifications.
Dimensions 9.6 in. x 9.6 in. (24.4 cm x 24.4 cm) Micro-ATX Form Factor
Mounting Holes 9 mounting holes.


  • Case Badge with the G-Series branding and Dragon on it
  • I/O Shield plate with Aluminium Interface Shielding, Force Absorbing layer, Steel Shielding and dark outer coating with visible port labels
  • Do Not Disturb door hanger
  • Internal Header IO Connector
  • 6 SATA3 cables
  • SLI Bridge
  • Quick Install Guide
  • Manual

Included Software Utilities

  • Command Centre. This includes utilities for Fan control, overclocking, RAMDISK, Monitoring etc.
  • Super RAID
  • SoundBlaster Cinema
  • Live Update 5 (one stop shop for driver, utility and bios updates)
  • Super Charger (to charge apple devices like iPads and iPhones faster)
  • Intel Extreme Tuning Utility
  • Fast Boot

Other Features

MSI VGA BOOST has been implemented and increases the power limitations for MSI GAMING Graphics cards when used in this motherboard. Put simply, it upgrades the power delivery to an MSI GAMING graphics card allowing the card to draw what it needs in a safe and stable way that won’t cook your card.

Military Class 4 components including:

  • Super Ferrite Chokes that run cooler and with a higher current capacity and efficiency than alternatives
  • Dark CAPs with an aluminium core design are expected to last over 10 years (so well past your next upgrade)
  • MSI state that all connections have ESD protection to prevent short circuit – please note that we did not try to short circuit this board in our testing but we did overclock it a bit.


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