MSI Z87M Gam­ing

Minia­tur­ized Gam­ing

HWM (Malaysia) - - LAB TEST - TexT // John laW

The MSI Gam­ing moth­er­board range has al­ways been at the top of the list for gamers look­ing for the best of both worlds: a pow­er­ful, high­per­for­mance moth­er­board that doesn’t put such a dent in their wal­lets ei­ther. Of course, there are also gamers who wish to limit the amount of space that their rig would take up in their home. En­ter the Z87M Gam­ing moth­er­board, a mi­cro-ATX board that serves just that par­tic­u­lar func­tion.

Now, there is a ques­tion that we’re pretty sure lingers in the back of your mind: “Can a mi­cro-ATX board re­ally be used for gam­ing?” The an­swer is yes, it can be man­u­fac­tured ex­plic­itly for gam­ing and MSI is not the only com­pany that does th­ese moth­er­boards. The Z87M Gam­ing, how­ever, dif­fers from the com­pe­ti­tion by be­ing loaded up with all bells and whis­tles that MSI has in­stalled on the higher tier Z87 Gam­ing moth­er­boards, such as the GD-65 and GD-45. On a re­lated note, the Z87M Gam­ing moth­er­board was de­signed not just with space-sav­ing in mind, but also for another group of gam­ing cir­cle: ca­sual gamers.

There are some rel­a­tively sig­nif­i­cant changes that have been im­ple­mented into the Z87M Gam­ing that you won’t find on the other MSI Gam­ing moth­er­boards. For starters, MSI has im­ple­mented a tech­nol­ogy called USB Au­dio Power into this moth­er­board. What does it do? As­sume for a mo­ment, that you have a USB-pow­ered head­set that you con­nect to this moth­er­board. When­ever you plug in a USB-based de­vice, power is al­ways drawn from the moth­er­board in or­der to power the de­vice. The USB Au­dio Power fea­ture not only pro­vides power to the USB head­set, but also reg­u­lates it to en­sure that there is no loss in au­dio qual­ity due to a lack of power.

You’ll also be glad to know that the Killer Eth­er­net fea­ture has made a come­back on this moth­er­board. If you don’t quite know what this is, here’s a re­cap: Ba­si­cally, it en­sures a lower la­tency rate by lim­it­ing the amount of band­width al­lo­cated to other ap­pli­ca­tions or pro­grams, and in­stead pri­or­i­tizes band­width al­lo­ca­tion for gam­ing. Sim­ply put, if you’re play­ing an online game and you’ve got your Face­book page and Twit­ter run­ning in the back­ground, the Killer Eth­er­net LAN port will ded­i­cate band­width more to­wards your game time, in­stead of so­cial me­dia.

Want­ing to see how this moth­er­board per­forms, we ran it ragged us­ing some of our syn­thetic bench­marks. The bench­marks that we ran were PCMark 8 and PCMark 7. On PCMark 8, the Z87M Gam­ing gave us a score of 5,312, which de­notes just how ca­pa­ble this moth­er­board re­ally is. Sur­pris­ingly, PCMark 7 yielded a sim­i­lar score of 5,304, but its com­pu­ta­tional scores was 7,380, which also means that the Z87M Gam­ing un­der­went the bench­mark with ab­so­lute easy.

As we’ve said, the Z87M Gam­ing is a moth­er­board de­signed not just for the ca­sual gamer, but also for the gamer who’s look­ing for an af­ford­able and space-sav­ing al­ter­na­tive. So, if you’re look­ing for a moth­er­board that’s big on per­for­mance and small in phys­i­cal pres­ence, then choose the MSI Z87M Gam­ing.

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