The MSI Z77IA-E53 is compatible with Intel processors with the LGA 1155/Socket H2 socket.
It has 16 GB DDR3 maximum RAM and conforms to the Mini-ITX form factor standard.
|CPU Socket||LGA 1155/Socket H2||Graphics Card Interface||PCIe v3.0|
|CPU Compatible Make||Intel||SLI Support||1 graphics cards|
|CPU Chipset||Z77||Crossfire Support||1 graphics cards|
|Form Factor||Mini-ITX||Onboard GPU||yes|
|Max RAM||16 GB DDR3||PCI Slots|
|RAM Slots||2 x DDR3||SATA 1.0||0|
|Memory Channels||2||SATA 2.0||2|
|Compatible RAM Speeds||SATA 3.0||0|
|USB 2.0 Internal Slots||1||RAID Support||yes|
|USB 2.0 Rear||4||Internal I/O|
|USB 3.0 Internal||1||Back Panel I/O|
|USB 3.0 Rear||2|
The MSI Z77IA-E53 uses the Intel LGA 1155/Socket H2 CPU socket. Any compatible Intel CPU will have the same socket entry. It uses the DDR3 memory type, with maximum speeds of up to 2400 MHz, and 2 DDR3 slots allowing for a maximum total of 16 GB RAM.
The Mini-ITX form factor is common for low-power system builds. Lower power requirements allow for less cooling, which in turn means a quieter PC. As such, the MSI Z77IA-E53 may be ideal for activities that require minimal sound excess, such as watching movies. For a gaming PC, a traditional ATX form factor is recommended, which would be more generally compatible and would provide more expansion options than Mini-ITX, but Mini-ITX is still a solid choice.
The MSI Z77IA-E53 has 2 SATA 3.0 hard drive slots. These allow for theoretical data transfer speeds of up to 6GB/s, as opposed to the 3GB/s of SATA 2.0. Generally speaking, only high performance hard drives, specifically solid-state drives, will be able to take advantage of the bandwidth potential of SATA 3.0 ports, though it is backwards compatible, so you do not have to take advantage. This motherboard also has 2 SATA 2.0 slots, so numerous SATA hard drives can be connected if desired.
The MSI Z77IA-E53 supports onboard graphics. This allows for integrated graphics when paired with a compatible CPU that supports them. Integrated graphics are a cheap alternative to using a graphics card, but should be avoided when frequently using modern applications or games that require intense graphical processing. There are 1 PCIe x16 slots on this motherboard. This means it is perfectly capable of accommodating the latest graphics cards, although it is important to try and use a graphics card with the same graphics card interface of PCIe v3.0, as anything below will not reach the motherboard's potential, and anything above will have its performance slashed to the bandwidth maximum of the MSI Z77IA-E53's PCIe v3.0. The MSI Z77IA-E53 does not support multiple graphics cards via Nvidia SLI or AMD Crossfire.
The MSI Z77IA-E53 has 5 USB 2.0 slots and 3 USB 3.0 slots. USB 3.0 slots are theoretically capable of data transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s, which is over 10 times faster than the USB 2.0 top speed of 480 Mbit/s. Although USB 2.0 slots alone currently serve as well as ever, an upgrade would better future-proof your system as more USB 3.0 compatible peripherals emerge. USB 3.0 is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0, which means you do not even have to use the newer slot functionality if you do not wish to.