CeBIT 2013: MSI Z87A Gaming Series Motherboard

The platform has support for multi-GPU setups and Haswell CPUs

Micro-Star International is doing what several of its peers have already done, namely launch a motherboard, or motherboard line, at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany.

So far, we've seen LGA 1150 motherboards from Biostar, Gigabyte and ASRock. Now, MSI is adding its name to the list.

The Z87 chipset is making an appearance again, with support for next-generation (fourth generation) Intel Core central processing units, otherwise known as Haswell.

The LGA 1150 socket is powered by a 16-phase VRM (voltage regulation module) and, thus, is very open to overclocking attempts. Power is provided by two 8-pin EPS connectors.

Four DDR3 DIMM memory slots are present, all of them wired directly to the CPU. Haswell has the memory controller integrated on its die.

The maximum capacity for RAM (random access memory) is 64 GB, which means that memory makers will have to release 16 GB modules just for this type of platform.

Since we are on the subject of slots, we might as well mention the three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots ready to accept one, two or three high-end graphics cards.

Indeed, while one board can work in x16/NC/NC mode, it is possible to set up x8/x8/NC and x8/x4/x4 configuration too.

The back I/O panel provides the obligatory Gigabit Ethernet networking connectivity, no less than six USB 3.0 ports (two more are available via headers, for the front ports of whatever case the mainboard is placed in), dual-HDMI video outputs, DisplayPort, and 8-channel HD audio.

As for storage, MSI chose to provide eight SATA 6.0 Gbps connectors. Since the Z87 chipset can only run six, however, two are handled by a third-party controller. It is unlikely that all the ports will ever be used, but we suppose luck favors the prepared.

We expect overclocking technologies to be included in the feature set, but we don't have such details, or the availability and price info.


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