Test Setup, Results, and Conclusion
To test the MSI Z97 Gaming 7, below is the list of components we used:
- Intel Core i7-4770K (3.5GHz)
- 2 x 4GB Kingston HyperX Beast 1833MHz
- Gainward Phantom GTX 670
- WD Blue Slim 1TB
- ACBel 1000W PSU
- Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
- MSI Z97 Gaming 7, ASUS Maximus VII Hero, Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5, Gigabyte Z87X-OC
We compared the benchmark scores of the MSI Z97 Gaming 7 to that of the ASUS Maximus VII Hero, which is another board that also uses the Z97 chipset. We also threw in a couple of Z87-based boards, the Gigabyte G1.Sniper M5 and Gigabyte Z87X-OC.
Do note that both the Gigabyte boards were tested a while back and we were using the latest drivers back then, so please be mindful of the added performance that the new drivers and chipset on the MSI Z97 Gaming 7 and ASUS Maximus VII Hero.
For benchmarks, we picked PCMark 7 to measure overall system performance, Cinebench R15 for CPU performance, 3DMark (2013) for graphics performance, and Dirt 3 for real-world game performance.
On all four tests, the scores were close and the MSI Z97 Gaming 7 remained as the runner up while the ASUS Maximus VII Hero topped each benchmark. The difference in the scores is minimal so performance difference between boards is somewhat negligible. This has been the trend for the past few years where motherboards perform neck-to-neck given and usually the battle for supremacy between each board is on the feature set they provide at a certain price point.
After taking a closer look and seeing what the Z97 Gaming 7 has to offer, we can definitely say that MSI is packing tons of features with their new Z97 boards. As the second most premium board for the Gaming series, the Z97 Gaming 7 caters to DIY PC enthusiasts that are both into gaming and overclocking.
For gaming, users are treated to a better onboard audio solution that seems to be knocking at the world of discrete sound cards, the capability of running multiple graphics cards for immense gaming performance, the use of peripheral ports with higher polling rates and Killer LAN to provide a more responsive gaming experience.
There are also a bit of overclocking features so you can further juice out more FPS from your system, such as the OC Genie 4, improved VRM design, and better onboard components, are a definite plus.
With a price tag of PhP 12,500, you won't go wrong with this board as its features definitely make it worth it for gamers and enthusiasts alike.