MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Review

The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard is filled with promises of optimized gaming experiences, best-in-class technology, and outstanding features.

MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Review

These are some big promises, and at first, we weren’t sure if MSI were up to the task. Trying to fill so many categories seems like a sure-fire way to leave your motherboard without direction, but once we got into it, we were pleasantly surprised.

This review determines whether the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard unpacks the various aspects of this complex motherboard, from its RAM capacity to its graphics and audio, we leave no stone unturned in picking this beast apart.


MSI Z97 Gaming 5 (Our Review)

Overall Assessment 

Few value-for-money motherboards hit the sweet spot quite like the MSI Z97 Gaming 5. It comes in a good-looking black and red color scheme while offering power users incredible overclocking abilities at a reasonable price.

While the Z97 chipset isn’t as powerful as the one found in the MSI Z370 Gaming Plus motherboard, it still has a good number of features.

Even with the older Z97 chipset, the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 is still a competitive motherboard that can turn your next build into a well-performing machine.

Supported Processors

With Intel’s LGA 1150 socket, users can install 4th and 5th generation Intel processors. You can go as big as a Core i7, and why wouldn’t you? The Core i7 performs exceptionally well on this motherboard. 

It also offers incredible overclocking. Some users report overclocking their i7 up to an astounding 5GHz. That’s sheer madness on an older chip. The further we got into our review, the more apparent it became that that’s what this motherboard is—mad.

RAM

The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 doesn’t come with the latest DDR4 RAM that we saw in our MSI B450M Gaming Plus motherboard review.

Instead of DDR4, users have to deal with 4x DDR3 DIMM slots that support overclocked memory speeds of up to 3300 MHz. The RAM can also be maxed out at an easily achievable 32GB. 

This is more on the low-to-average side of things. You still get exceptional performance from your, motherboard, it just won’t compete with better performance-driven gaming boards such as the MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon Wi-Fi.

Peripherals

We expect to find great peripheral support from the MSI Z97 Gaming 5, and we aren’t disappointed.

A single M.2 port along with 6x SATA 3 ports take care of all your storage devices. At the same time, we get 6x USB 3.0 ports and 8x USB 2.0 ports for connecting any external devices. This is enough for most users, but if you want to hook up multiple devices at once, you can quickly run out of space.

Graphics

One of the biggest surprises on this motherboard is the fantastic range of PCIe slots. The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 comes with 3x PCIe x16 slots. This allows you to hook up loads of PCIe extensions, giving you lots of options to pump up your graphical processing.

Being SLI and CrossFire compatible means you don’t have to go hunting for a specific graphics card brand to fit your new system. 

Audio

If you insist on the best audio at all times, you’ll be happy with the Z97 Gaming 5. This motherboard comes packed with a fantastic Realtek ALC1150 codec.

This codec powers 7.1 audio channels with HD sound. We even have 6 audio jacks to manage surround sound systems. A flaming red LED path indicates that MSI has isolated this audio chip for better performance. 

Aesthetics

Great-looking motherboards aren’t found just in the high-end spectrum anymore, such as the more expensive MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon Wi-Fi.

This ATX form factor board is dressed up in a stylish red and black theme. While it lacks any RGB headers, this motherboard’s style speaks for itself. Not every gaming motherboard needs to flash like an ambulance.

Conclusion

The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 is not nearly as powerful as the MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Plus, yet despite its humble Z97, this motherboard is a reliable performer. 

MSI gives us yet another excellent motherboard for anyone that wants to build a reliable rig around DDR3 RAM and a 5th generation i7 processor.  

Pros

  • Affordable 
  • Military-grade components
  • Supports AMD Crossfire and Nvidia SLI
  • Beautiful design
  • Excellent overclocking ability

Cons

  • Only 1x M.2 port
  • No onboard Wi-Fi

Common questions about MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard

Is the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard good for crypto mining?

The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 is suitable for crypto mining. Users can reliably install up to 5 graphics cards for an optimal mining experience. The military-grade components also ensure your board performs for longer.

Does the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 support VR?

The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 is VR-ready and compatible with several systems, including the HTC Vive.

How many fan headers are on the MSI Z97 Gaming 5?

The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 comes with 5x 4-pin fan headers to connect fans. The headers are more than the average Z97 chipset motherboard has.

Customer Reviews

“I’ve used the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard in countless PC builds. Every time I get exceptional results.”

Sean Kingston

5/5 Stars

“The MSI Z97 Gaming 5 is beautiful, but it’s quickly becoming outdated.”

cyphosTX

2/5 Stars 

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