Back to Article

  • blackmagnum - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    I don't see how this mainboard deserves the name "Pro"; onboard Realtek chips and all. Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Whats wrong with realtek ? Reply
  • Daniel Egger - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Their LAN chips are completely outdated, the drivers piece-of-crap (also the audio drivers but the hardware is much better nowadays) and often combined with horrible PHYs causing a sub-par networking experience. For anything but most basic networking (where reliability, performance, latency and jitter don't really matter much) the use of Realtek is simply not acceptable. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Got any evidence to back that up? Or just making shit up like half the internet? Realtek stuff works fine. The audio codec is average, but it works and the driver support is excellent. However, the network codec is among the best out there (with active driver development) with a good PXE implementation and cross platform support (every linux distribution.)

    These are software codecs so yes, they use CPU resources (just like the Intel 218) but this isn't 1996 anymore when 56k software modems would slow a PC down. We have more CPU resources available than any program knows what to do with. Complaining about Realtek (or any codec) using CPU resources is like complaining about USB using CPU resources and supporting Firewire over's irrelevant.

    If you demand better audio than this board provides, use one of those six PCIe slots with a $30 sound card that'll be superior to just about any onboard audio available...
  • KAlmquist - Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - link

    Four years ago, the Realtek LAN chips had a tendency to switch to 10 Mb/s mode under Linux. At that point, the performance wasn't just a problem if you use a local area network; one of the bug reports was from someone who had a 20 Mb/s connection to his ISP.

    Maybe things have improved since then, but I'm not inspired to find out. The Intel LAN chips have a list price of $1.72. I'm willing to pay that to get something that I know will work, even if Realtek were willing to give away its chips for free.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    I'd rather have Realtek audio than Via or C-Media. Their codecs tend to be good enough that the quality of sound is determined by the quality of the other audio components on the board.

    For $110 Realtek LAN is ok, sure I'd rather have Intel but it won't matter for home use.
  • xenol - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Audiophiles are even saying that Realtek has caught up in terms of quality (if we use SNR as quality) with at least the ALC889 and ALC1150 chips. Getting anything beyond that is just buying features that flavor the audio. Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Nice board, but a really pointless with pentiumK. Reply
  • spugm1r3 - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Not really... the Pentium's ability to overclock, and it's single thread performance, put it on par with the 4770K for gaming. Between the processor and the motherboard, you could put a 780ti in this thing and still be under $1000, achieving high end gaming performance for a fraction of the standard price-point for that level of performance, all for eschewing the extra bells and whistles you weren't going to be using anyway. Reply
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    And then you wake up in 2014 and realize, that games use more than 2 threads. This thing, even when heavly overclocked, cant touch i5, let alone i7. It could compare to i3 at best.

    But since you can buy i3 + cheap h81 mobo for less than pentiumK + this mobo it really makes very little sense to go pentiumK route, if you're going budget build.
  • spugm1r3 - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    That shows a pretty robust selection of recent AAA titles faring as well on a Pentium as they do on an i7. Not all 2014 games are multithreaded. In fact, a vast majority aren't utilizing the resources offered by higher end processors. My point is, as long as Crysis or RTS games like Civ5 aren't your mainstays, invest the extra dollars where it counts.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Some of the benchmarks you linked to are as much as 40% slower on the overclocked Pentium, that's not what most people would call "on par". You're also discounting the fact that the 4770K overclocked would perform significantly better (Apples to apples here, if we've otherclocking we need to do it to both chips).

    The Pentium AE is a good low-end deal that will do for a lot of games, add in a mid-range GPU like a Radeon 270x or 280x and you've got a lot of performance for the buck. But it isn't comparable to even an overclocked i5 performance wise.
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    If you want price/performance for games, then you either get athlon 750/760K, fx6300, i3 or i5.
    Everything else makes little sense and its a waste of money.
    PentiumK and a z97 only makes sense if you're buying a stopgap system, that will soon get a better CPU. Buying pentiumK for longterm and expection to perform great is just crazy. FFS, its a lowend 2 core cpu.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    None of the benches they showed that actually matter are. No one uses a high end GPU to play at low quality settings and >200 FPS. That sort of BOGO benching to try and show CPU differences has been as stupid as it is common for a number of years. The ones at realistic GPU settings (1080p/max) were all within a few FPS of each other.

    If they wanted to try and show situations where the CPU mattered, min FPS or frame rate pacing data might work since both would capture any times where the CPU briefly did become a bottleneck. Alternately benches for games like CIV5 that do have major multi-threaded CPUbound functions would give the 4790 the ability to crush the pentium.

    Medium term, I'm less confident that most games will only need 1 or 2 CPU threads will remain a valid assumption. The current generation of consoles have 8 slow CPUs vs prior generations having a few fast ones (and the PS3's secondary cores limitations making them harder to use). That's going to put more multi-threading pressure on the game engine developers; and makes commonly used engines being able to effectively use more than a handful of threads more likely in the future.
  • zero2dash - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    ^^^ This.
    G3258 is a good basic CPU, but there are plenty of reviews that show that it is nowhere near "on par" with an i5 (let alone an i7) in games. In some reviews, even an i3 does better than the G3258.

    Intel needs to release an i3-K chip; that's all that the G3258 has demonstrated. It's a decent chip, especially when bundled with the MSI board for $100 at Microcenter, but, it's not "on par" with anything higher in Intel's product line on games (or anything, really).
  • austinsguitar - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    umm... cheepo xeon ftw.... Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    With AMD making quad core CPU's for $50, multithreaded software is becoming increasingly commonplace. Clock speed means little to modern software; specialized instructions and multithreaded performance mean everything, not to just AAA games. If you're playing 5 year old games, sure, but then why are you building a new PC for them in the first place?

    I've upgraded Pentium and Celeron PC's to i3's in offices and people even mention how much faster their Outlook and web browsing is, with the only real difference being hyper threading and cache.
  • xenol - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Games have always used more than two threads. I fired up Rainbow Six 3 the other day and found it had 12 threads going. Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    A Pentium K at 4.7GHz is comparable to an i3 at 3.4GHz (stock) in multithreaded tasks, which in 2014, is everything. The i3 costs $30 more and doesn't need to be overclocked. Or you could just get an i5 with an H-series motherboard and have more performance than the Pentium K could every achieve for a few dollars more. Reply
  • just4U - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    I use a 4790K for my main system. I also use a A10-5800 and a Non OC Pentium G3258. All systems have comparable specs (ram/ssd) When it comes to browsing the web, opening emails and using office programs I typically use.. I haven't noticed a difference.

    I actually don't really notice a difference until I head down to Dual Cores in the C2D 6x lineup below 3GHZ. I think their finally showing their age.
  • Samus - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Definitely agree about the Core 2's. Anything pre-Bloomfield is showing its age. But there is a subtle but noticeable difference between a Pentium Haswell and a Core i3 Haswell when using Windows 8/Office 2013, especially in Outlook and Access (programs that deal with large data files) Reply
  • Flunk - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    I think it would match better with a i5 4670k, you're better off buying one of the few H-series boards that support overclocking the Pentium AE and saving the rest. If you're paying more for your board than your CPU you have a problem. Reply
  • Computer Bottleneck - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    I'm glad Ian reviewed this board. It is very pertinent considering it is a board that has been bundled with Pentium G3258.

    Just less than a week ago the Pentium G3258 was on sale with the MSI Z97 Guard Pro for $110 AR --->

    We don't find these kind of deals with the i3 or other Pentiums or Celerons.
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    It's a bit late to get into GPU bitcoin mining... Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Ironically, I just got this board in last night, as part of a TD $100 G3258 combo. My G3258 will no go past 4.4GHz @ 1.299V. And the temps hit 92C under full load so upping the voltage isnt really an option. Even though these temps are high, I'm just going to leave it because during my suite of real world tests, the temps stayed below 70C.

    My main issue with the board is that my ethernet cuts out whenever I plug in any USB device. I have to unplug my LAN and then plug it back in or else it wont work. I tried plugging in a thumb drive as gently as I possibly could and it still caused the LAN to die.

    Another annoying issue is that every time I move my SSD to a different SATA port, it makes the board think the overclocking failed, so I have to go back into the BIOS each time and turn it back on.
  • hojnikb - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Looks like a defected mobo, if you ask me. Reply
  • kwrzesien - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    As far as the M.2 specs go, straight from the MSI manual:

    Intel Z97/ H97 Express Chipset
    6x SATA 6Gb/s ports (SATA1~6)
    1x M.2 port*
    M.2 port supports M.2 SATA 6Gb/s module
    M.2 port supports M.2 PCIe module up to 10Gb/s speed**
    M.2 port supports 4.2cm/ 6cm/ 8cm length module
    Supports RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10***
    Supports Intel Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Start
    Technology and Intel Smart Connect Technology****
    * The SATA5 and SATA6 ports will be unavailable when installing a module in the M.2 port.
    ** M.2 PCIe interface only supports UEFI option ROM, NOT support legacy option ROM.
    *** M.2 PCIe interface does not support RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.
    **** Supports Intel Core processors on Windows 7 and Windows 8/ 8.1

    So I don't see anything in the manual about the M.2 disabling any of the PCIe slots, either for SATA or PCIe type M.2 drives - it appears to use the SATA 5 & 6 ports either way. Anyway this is a PCIe 2.0 x2 10MB/s type connection, not x4 and not PCIe 3.0. Still would be very fast with the Plextor PCIe M.2 drives (which oddly cost less than the slower Micron SATA M2. drives): It appears that booting is supported natively.
  • anthill - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Anandtech should do an article discussing minimum fps. Looking at the bioshock numbers the difference between the best and worst motherboard is 13fps. Even the top board dips below the 30fps threshold that not even a g-sync monitor can help you with. BF4 isn't as significant but one still would be at a ~5fps disadvantage versus picking the top performing motherboards.

    Is this driver related? Can it be improved upon by opting for faster ram, 2133 vs 1600?

    I feel it's a topic they could look into. Especially with VR coming soon I have read a gamer would need to hit a locked 90hz to feel a sense of "presence". These minimum fps benchmarks could become an issue going forward if one wants to hit the target fps needed.
  • StrangerGuy - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Why is anybody still running CPU performance benchmarks on mobo reviews in 2014 is beyond me. We would much rather see LPC latency, LAN/USB throughput, audio quality testing etc. Reply
  • lorribot - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    Why is it always assumed that enthusiasts have unlimited funds? Most are probably like me, when it come to replacing the core of our system it is invariably on a restricted budget, not for us a $200 mobo and a $200 CPU. Anything that the mobo manufacturers can do to allow you to upsec the CPU to a K series is very welcome. I really don't care that it is Realtek as Intel will not really make that much difference over my poor adsl internet connection and I can't afford a speaker system that will show the difference between Realtek and Creative or anyone else's sound chips.
    All I want is a good strong, stable basic mobo that will allow overclocking for the minimum cost, this board gets close to this ideal.
  • wetwareinterface - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    It's assumed, if you're an enthusiast, you are upgrading your system to something in a medium priced offering that gives great bang for buck value with overclocking (i5/i7 k series paired with r9 290/780 dual xfire/sli), or are spending gobs of money to hang your ass over the bleeding edge (xtreme edition, socket 2011, quad sli titan z / crossfire 295x etc..). Enthusiast class hardware isn't on the low end of pentium or i3 even unless they are building an HTPC or a box for mom to surf on. Reply
  • austinsguitar - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    okay do yourself a favor and buy a 120 dollar motherboard (10 dollars more.) anandtech... you keep disapointing me with these articles. for 120 you can get m.2 and sata express, sli, intel lan, and realtek 1150.... just look it up people. i dont know what anandtech is thinking these days... Reply
  • austinsguitar - Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - link

    gigabyte z97x-sli. look it up Reply
  • Death666Angel - Friday, August 22, 2014 - link

    "i dont know what anandtech is thinking these days..."
    Probably thinking that they are reviewing the products they get sent by the manufacturer. As always. You could say the same thing. You really don't need a big board to OC on Haswell. I have a AsRock Z87M Pro4 which I bought because it was the cheapest mATX 1150 board and I used it with a Pentium for my Litecoin mining machine. Now that fad is over I bought a 4770k and upgraded my aging i7-860 system with it. Am reaching 4.5GHz comfortably so far. It even has an Intel NIC.
  • Samus - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    Is this board the same as the Z97 PC Mate (with the addition of the M2 slot?) Looks almost identical. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    No its not the same as the Z97 PC Mate. I believe the Z97 PC Mate is better, since it gives a 100mhz better oc Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, August 21, 2014 - link

    How is the PC Mate better when it doesn't have M.2? The 100Mhz+ OC doesn't make sense to me...they both have 4-phase power and even the BIOSes are updated identically on MSI's site. Interestingly, though, the PC Mate uses an Award BIOS and the Guard-Pro uses an AMI.

    These boards are similar enough to get the same BIOS development.
  • wavetrex - Friday, August 22, 2014 - link

    Why even bother putting "mining" in the article ? PC coin mining is dead.
    The difficulty has gone up so much due to all the ASIC's and FPGA's and simply TOO MANY people mining, that even with the most power efficient GPUs, you still end up losing money, electricity costing more than the tiny amounts that a PC is able to mine.
    Time to move on people, the scam is complete.
  • RegorTejmar - Monday, August 25, 2014 - link

    The 4 PCIe X1 ports only use a single lane from the Z97 chipset. The connect them via a ASM1184 Hub/switch. The Z97 has 18 high speed IO slots. This Motherboard uses 6 USB 3.0, 4 PCIe to the 2nd x16 Slot, 1 PCIe to the ASM1184 (powering the 4 x1 slots), 1 PCIe for the Realtek LAN, and 2 that are either M.2 or SATA and 4 that are SATA. Reply
  • KAlmquist - Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - link

    So what happens to EIST when you overclock with this board? With schemes like EIST, the operating system adjusts the core frequency based on load. At lower frequencies the cores run at a lower voltage, which increases efficiency (performance per watt).

    On the Asus Vanguard B85 motherboard, which has a BIOS that looks suspiciously like the one on the MSI motherboard being reviewed, EIST stops working if you overclock. The core frequencies will still change like they are supposed to, but the core voltage no longer decreases when the frequency decreases, which defeats the purpose of EIST.

    I would add that, if you have done a significant overclock, there is a chance that the maximum voltage you have chosen is one that will cause your CPU to degrade slowly over time. In that case, you certainly don't want to have the CPU operating at that voltage when you are doing nothing more demanding than typing comments on the Anandtech web site.

    So it would be really nice to know if the problem I describe is specific to Asus or whether MSI has the same problem.
  • Etherion - Sunday, February 19, 2017 - link

    What a disappointment. Got this MB with a pcie 1to3 switch with the hope of running 8 gpus on it. Sadly it can't handle more than 7. Once I plug in the 8th GPU regardless of configuration it can't boot past bios splash screen. So the cheap asrock h97 anniversary is better. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now