Performance motherboards are seeing a blurring of the lines. While, once upon a time, there were almost tangible distinctions between various classes of motherboard – like gaming boards – those lines are quickly becoming less easy to define. Take, for example, MSI’s Z77A-G45 motherboard. It is, at a glance, more of a multipurpose board. But the performance of the device keeps it very viable as a strong gaming board, too.
Sure, it is not a focussed gaming board, and there are still focussed gaming boards out there, but someone who wants their PC to do more than run the latest games won’t go wrong with this device. Even those who don’t play games will find merit in this mobo... not least of which will stem from the on-board graphics option, which eliminates the need for a dedicated graphics card, and thereby lessens the system cost considerably.
The watchword for this board really is ease of use,combined with solid performance and reliability. Theease of use stems from things like the mouse driven Click-BIOS II and Control Centre II instant overclocking system (supported by OC Genie II technology), while reliability comes from military class III components(MSI’s usual collection of solid capacitors and super-ferrite chokes among them.)
With overclocking having such a strong relation to gaming, there’s no surprise that the Z77A-G45 throws gamers another bone, too. This comes in the form of PCI Express Gen III, which allows for a blazing 32 GB per second transfer speed via a dedicated PCI Express expansion slot on the board.
More speed is also squeezed out of its two front and two rear USB3.0 ports, as well as the two included SATA 6 ports (all in addition to the expected USB2.0 and SATA 4 ports, of course.)
Ports abound on the board, too; video output is handled by D-Sub, DVI and HDMI ports, while 7.1 audio is provided on-board, too, partnered with THX TruStudio Pro technology. The back of the board is a little shy on USB2.0 ports, with only four rear ports on offer, but the two USB3.0 ports do make up for that. LAN and optical audio ports are also provided, but these are pretty much a standard for any motherboard these days. Quite simply, this is a fine all-rounder. It possibly lacks some of the focus that dedicated motherboards have on offer, but this is hardly noticeable. The military class III components are a nice touch, and the single PCI Express Gen III expansion slot is awesome, provided your graphics card is worth the effort. And it is a board that should last you long after your next upgrade is due, with a claimed life of 12 years under strain, and 40 years under normal load. That all depends on how much overclocking you’re planning to do, of course.
The fact that it is an Intel socket 1155 compatible device also adds versatility to an already great all-rounder, with compatibility with a number of processor builds (i3, i5 and i7) meaning that the user can really make this board exactly what they need it to be. And that’s never a bad thing.