Z77 OC Motherboard Shootout - MSI vs ASRock - HotHardware

Z77 OC Motherboard Shootout - MSI vs ASRock

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When motherboard manufacturers started moving away from the old AWARD BIOSes and switched to graphically lovely UEFIs, it was a revelation, but it took a while for most of them to feel as smooth as they looked. Even though you could use both the mouse and keyboard to adjust settings, for example, performance was often frustratingly laggy and glitchy.

Most motherboard companies are producing very fine UEFIs these days, however, and both ASRock and MSI have nailed it. Both felt snappy and responsive and were relatively easy to navigate, so kudos to the two companies for that.

    

We’ve looked at ASRock’s excellent UEFI before when we tested its Fatal1ty Z77 Professional board, and it’s worth noting that the company went to the trouble of creating a separate (though mostly similar) UEFI environment for the Z77 OC Formula. Unlike the former’s coolly subdued red and black look, the latter has a star system-looking background and more elaborate icons for the various tabs. With the Z77 OC Formula, ASRock also ditched the option to bring up a 3D image of the motherboard, which really isn’t going to be of much use for an overclocker, anyway.

    

The organization is straightforward: the Main area gives you basic, at-a-glance system information; OC Tweaker is the playground where you adjust all your overclock settings; Advanced is the section is which you can set parameters and options for the North Bridge, South Bridge, storage, I/O, and other aspects of the system; under Tools, you can update the BIOS; the H/W Monitor area gives you a boatload of information about temps, voltages, fan speeds, and so on; there are copious items to play with under Boot; the Security area lets you set passwords and set state modes; and Exit is--well, that’s self-explanatory.

    

    

There’s even a QR code in there that you can scan to get more details. Perhaps that’s a bit over the top, but it’s still pretty cool.

MSI’s Click BIOS II is pretty much what we’ve seen in the company’s other Z77 offerings. Instead of keeping everything neatly organized under a handful of tabs, much of what you’ll want to adjust is sort of out there on the main screen, including temps, basic information such as the BIOS version and components list, and a graphical boot priority menu.

    

It’s laid out with six huge buttons (three per side) and the corresponding menu items appear in the middle of the screen when a button is clicked. It’s perhaps a bit of a distracting layout, but as a result there isn’t much you need to hunt for in the six sections since so much is there on the main screen.

    

Under Settings, there’s system status information, an Advanced area for further system configuration, boot settings, and the exit menu; you can dive deep into overclock settings under the OC area; Eco mode gives you handful of power-saving parameters to play with; the Utilities area lets you set backups and update the system and BIOS; and you can create passwords and chassis intrusion settings under Security. The Browser area lets you access the Internet and handy tools such as email right from the BIOS.

    

There are also three modes of operation you can easily toggle between: Eco, Standard, and OC Genie II. Using Eco mode helps reduce your energy consumption, and the OC Genie II mode lets you easily switch over to overclock settings you can set in the BIOS and forget. In other words, it lets you leave your standard settings alone and just fire up your optimal OC settings whenever it’s convenient.  All told, we really liked MSI's UEFI implementation here.

And now, on to our benchmark testing to see how these puppies perform.

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Both of these are nice boards.

I have been buying mostly ASRock boards for the past year and none of them have disappointed me.

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You buy a lot of motherboards, Neil? What do you do with all those boards? :)

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Dave_HH:

You buy a lot of motherboards, Neil? What do you do with all those boards? :)

I build systems for others as a sideline to help pay for my disgusting computer habit. It's not a lot of PCs.

Four of the PCs here at the house have ASRock boards. (two Z68, one 990FX, and one N68 board)

One is an ASUS socket FM-1 board.

_____________________

 

Peter is right, I have built two raffle PCs for a local battered woman's shelter so far, with another one coming up in early 2013. Both machines brought around 700 bucks each to the shelter. I donated as much as I could and some friends donated parts to help me finish them off.

My wife is a pastor and a crisis counselor now and works at that shelter counseling ladies and their children.

There is a large community outreach here with many organizations helping these people. It's very cool.

rrplay:
BTW Happy Belated Birthday Neil

Not until the 29th of this month,....but thank you Peter.

 

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realneil:
 Not until the 29th of this month,....but thank you Peter.

Good thing I mentioned it , & good to know as the selective CRS ever looms on the horizon..still like the MSI board a bit better and the price is good too ,,

btw @eunoia and gang ...Micro Center has the i5 3570K at $169  in store only todayhttp://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.aspx?sku_list=425470+425405+866350

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rrplay:
as the selective CRS ever looms on the horizon

Yeah, it's a part of life at this point,.................Smile

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realneil:
 
rrplay:
as the selective CRS ever looms on the horizon

Yeah, it's a part of life at this point,.................Smile

yeah sorta proves a point that "Your'e Never to old to learn something stupid"........................Smile

meanwhile Let Build Us Some $1000 Dream Rigs like eunoia has posted 

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Thanks for the shootout, either one would be AOK for me and in some ways I like the MSI board a bit better.

*** just wanted to pop in here >>yeah Dave I remember talking to Neil a while back and he has been having some postive results with his ASRock boards, mentioned some thing about building some rigs for raffles or local communities or something like that.. BTW Happy Belated Birthday Neil

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I'm Chinese Hello, may I make friends with you?

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