Reviewed: MSI Z87M Gaming

Test Setup

We were in the process of building a new test bench so this was the first board we have used with this configuration. We have an i5-4670K that can hit 4.6GHz before things get unstable and our Noctua NH-U12S does a good job of supporting our overclocks even though it’s not one of the biggest coolers we have. The Corsair HX-850 is overkill but it allows us some headroom for SLI configurations and the Lian Li Pitstop T60 open air test bench makes it easier to keep our testing area “neat-ish…”

CPU i5-4670K
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Memory 16GB Corsair Vengeance Low Profile – Black (4x4GB)
Case Lian Li Pitstop T60
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda 2TB & Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
Power Supply Corsair HX850
Graphics Cards Gigabyte GTX670 OC 2GB Windforce 3x (in SLI)
Audio Level 10M Gaming Headset &
Sony stereo ear bud headphones
Network Direct connection to the cable modem &
Shared Gigabit connection via Netgear WNDR3700 router
Optical Samsung SATA2 BluRay drive
OS Windows 7


I was able to achieve a manual overclock of 4.6GHz with our i5-4670K @ 1.31v on air. The ambient temperature was 21 degrees and the maximum temperature we saw on the cores was 81 degrees with an average maximum temperature of 78 degrees Celsius. Overclocking manually through the MSI Control Centre Software was easy and we couldn’t fault it from our testing.

For those who want to enjoy the benefits of an overclock but don’t want to mess with a few sliders, MSI have the OC Genie button on the motherboard but you can also use the UEFI and Windows based Control Centre Software to let the motherboard do the work for you. The motherboard has a switch for overclocking near the RAM slots with 2 positions, “Gear 1” and “Gear 2”.

When using the OC Genie, I was able to achieve the following overclocks with basically no effort at all.

  • “Gear 1” gave me 4GHz
  • “Gear 2” gave me 4.2GHz

UEFI Configuration

MSI’s BIOS is very easy to navigate in order to do simple things like set a boot order or more advanced overclocking tasks. Everything is easy to find and we didn’t experience any issues with our Logitech G110 USB keyboard or Corsair M65 USB mouse – it just worked.

I’ve embedded a video of the UEFI flow and options below, captured via an AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable. there is no commentary, it’s just there if you wanted to look at the configuration options available.

See the photos below to get an idea of how the board looks with some components in it including dual GPUs. Note the clear access to the internal headers along the edge of the motherboard and also how close the 120mm Noctua U12S comes to the first PCIE slot – as we have seen before, if you buy a micro-ATX motherboard you need to make sure that you don’t go too wide on the CPU cooler.


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