MSI's classic MPower overclocking motherboard series returns, with support for super-fast DDR5-8000+ RAM — Z790 board priced at $199

MSI Z790 MPower
(Image credit: Wccftech)

The best CPUs don't necessarily need the best motherboards. However, it doesn't hurt to have a decent motherboard, especially if you're into overclocking. According to Wccftech, MSI is preparing the return of one of the brand's most iconic motherboard series.

The MPower series debuted with Intel's LGA1155 socket in the Sandy Bridge days. The last time we saw an MPower motherboard was with the LGA1151 socket, so it's been ages since MSI released a product from that series. However, the MPower is due for a revival this generation as MSI is gearing up to launch the Z790 MPower for Intel's Alder Lake, Raptor Lake, and Raptor Lake Refresh processors. MSI already has the Z690 Unify and Z690 Unify-X for the overclocking segment but never updated the motherboards for the Z790 chipset. Now, we know why.

Armed with the LGA1700 socket and premium Z790 chipset, the Z790 MPower arrives in a microATX form factor with a black and silver theme. It's evident that Z790 MPower is an overclocking motherboard from the inside out as MSI has placed words like "Overclocking," "Frequency," "MHz," "Voltages," "Timing," etc.. all over the motherboard. The massive heatsinks cover what appears to be a 15-phase power delivery subsystem. A pair of 8-pin EPS power connectors deliver ample power to the processor for your overclocking endeavors.

As an overclocking motherboard, the Z790 MPower logically prioritizes memory speed over capacity. It only has two DDR5 memory slots but supports DDR5-8000 and above memory modules. The availability of 48GB memory modules means the Z790 MPower supports up to 96GB of memory. However, MSI recently demoed some of Kingston's 64GB DDR5 memory modules, so the motherboard has the potential to house up to 128GB. According to the report, MSI collaborates with various memory vendors to release MPower-branded DDR5 memory kits.

The Z790 MPower has two M.2 slots that feature passive heatsinks and four standard SATA III ports. There's one PCIe x16 expansion slot, which likely conforms to PCIe 5.0, one PCIe x4 slot, and one PCIe x1 slot. The last two probably run at PCIe 4.0 speeds.

Meanwhile, the rear panel of the Z790 MPower shows four USB 2.0 ports, three USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port. Wi-Fi 6E and 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet are present. For displays, the motherboard offers a HDMI port and one DisplayPort. As for audio, there are six 3.5mm connectors and one S/PDIF output.

The MSRP for the Z790 MPower is reportedly $199, but the motherboard may end up on the market closer to $229, depending on the tax rate of each region. It's a very enticing price for a current-generation motherboard apt for overclocking. For comparison, the Z690 Unify-X used to sell for around $459, and rival overclocking-oriented Z790 motherboards, such as the Z790 Aorus Tachyon X or ROG Maximus Z790 Apex Encore, retail for $699 and $549, respectively.

Zhiye Liu
News Editor and Memory Reviewer

Zhiye Liu is a news editor and memory reviewer at Tom’s Hardware. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • mac_angel
    First off, the socket LGA1151 was NOT the first time MSI used MPower naming. LGA1150 for the Z87, and the LGA2011-V3 for the X99 came with MPower versions.
    As for your talk about "overclocking" motherboard, all Z790 (and all Z series chipsets) are overclocking chipsets/motherboards. And many from MSI come with dual 8pin CPU power connectors. So I don't understand the focus of this one being called an "overclocking" motherboard with such focus.
  • thestryker
    Seems like this will be a decent budget motherboard and I believe MSI's first MATX Z790 board. This definitely isn't what I'd consider an overclocking board in terms of the 2 DIMM UNIFY boards. I would really like to see some 2 DIMM boards in the $300-500 price range, but that doesn't seem likely.
  • magbarn
    When you're forced to run DDR5 at slow JEDEC speeds when using 4 slots, why don't they build more 2 memory socket motherboards in this price range? mATX cripples this board for me. 2 M.2 slots is too few.
  • vanadiel007
    magbarn said:
    When you're forced to run DDR5 at slow JEDEC speeds when using 4 slots, why don't they build more 2 memory socket motherboards in this price range? mATX cripples this board for me. 2 M.2 slots is too few.

    I don't understand why 2 M2 slots would be a limiting factor for somebody. That gives you a total of 8TB local storage. These boards are gaming boards, and not workstation boards.
    If you need more a NAS is the answer, or a workstation board if you need to do "serious" work.
  • doughillman
    I can't decide if this thing looks like its aesthetics were designed FOR 14 year olds or BY 14 year olds.