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Fast And Cheap? Five Sub-$160 Z87 Motherboards For Enthusiasts

Z87-G45 Gaming Firmware

MSI keeps the large-font clock and small-font settings theme for its Z87-G45 Gaming motherboard, and users can still jump quickly to its OC menu for clock and voltage configuration.

Accustomed to hitting 4.7 GHz at 1.3 V and 4.6 GHz at 1.25 V using four competing boards, were we very disappointed to see both of those limits drop by 100 MHz on the Z87-G45 Gaming. DRAM overclocking was similarly disappointing, with a maximum data rate of 2800 MT/s using G.Skill’s DDR3-3000 kit.

Everyone cheats a little with DRAM voltage these days, which is why I now adjust this setting using a voltage meter. The Z87-G45 Gaming gets to 1.65 V after picking the 1.635 V setting, and that’s far less egregious than some competing products. Thank you, MSI.

Primary, secondary, and tertiary timings are individually selectable between automatic and manual modes. The Z87-G45 Gaming maintains our memory’s XMP settings throughout overclock testing.

Our volt meter didn’t show any voltage issues using the Z87-G45 Gaming’s automatic settings, so we left those as-configured.

Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.