MSI Z170A GAMING M7 (Intel LGA-1151) Review 53

MSI Z170A GAMING M7 (Intel LGA-1151) Review

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As many of us are aware, Intel's newest platform is going to hit store shelves soon. Those of us who have that "upgrade itch" are waiting in eager anticipation, ready to hear what the platform offers to determine whether the cost is worth the investment. Today is that day and MSI sent me the Z170A GAMING M7 for our first look. The MSI Z170A GAMING M7 is one of many products within MSI's GAMING line-up, a series of products designed with a gamer's needs in mind. MSI has had this product focus for a while now, and they do put together a decent product set at each price point, along with an all-enveloping red and black color scheme that carries on with their VGAs, laptops, prebuilt PCs, and more. There are different tiers to their product line-up now, with the MSI Z170A GAMING M7 falling into the "Enthusiast GAMING" category.

I have had the MSI Z170A GAMING M7 on my test bench for a while now. Bringing together Intel's "SkyLake" CPUs and DDR4, the MSI Z170A GAMING M7 packs a ton of drive connectivity thanks to the Intel Z170 chipset. Intel's "Skylake" and Z170 are our first taste at dual-channel DDR4, and if you paid attention to new product releases, you might have heard that this results in much higher DDR4 speeds than with Intel's quad-channel X99 Express (G.Skill is touting kits up to 4 GHz). USB 3.1 Gen 2 is also present.

With this being the first motherboard review we are posting with a new CPU, performance comparisons to past platforms are unavoidable. However, not just the platform changes interest me this time around. Excited by what MSI's Z170A GAMING M7 offers from the moment it arrived, I have eagerly been waiting for the opportunity to talk about it more. The MSI Z170A GAMING M7 is not just ready to push a stock-clocked gaming box; if you want to push your new CPU hard for those extra few FPS, you can do so. Windows 10 support? It's ready and waiting.


CPU SUPPORT:6th Gen Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors and Intel Pentium/Celeron Processors for Socket LGA-1151
POWER DESIGN:CPU Power: 14 Phase
Memory Power: 2 Phase
CHIPSET:Intel Z170 Chipset
INTEGRATED GRAPHICS:Dependent on Installed CPU
MEMORY:4 x DIMM, Max. 64 GB, up to DDR4-3600+(OC)
SLOTS:3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16, x8/x8, x8/x8/x4 or x8/x8/x2)
4 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
HDD CONNECTIVITY:6 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (support RAID 0/1/5/10)
2 x SATAe ports (PCIe 3.0 x2)
2 x M.2 slots (PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gb/s)
NETWORKING:1 x Killer E2400 Gigabit LAN
PORTS:6 x USB 3.0 ports
7 x USB 2.0 ports
2 x USB 3.1 ports (1x Type-A, 1x Type-C)
1 x RJ45 LAN connectors
1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
5 x Audio jacks
1 x DisplayPort
2 x HDMI port
1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT Port
1 x Clear CMOS Switch
AUDIO:Realtek ALC1150 7.1 Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
FAN HEADERS:5 x 4-pin
FORM FACTOR:ATX Form Factor (305 mm x 244 mm)
  • DDR4 Boost
  • Audio Boost 3
  • Nahimic
  • MSI GAMING LAN w/ LAN Protect
  • Gaming Hotkey
  • Game Boost
  • Impregnable Steel Armor
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C & Type-A
  • Turbo M.2
  • OC Engine 2
  • BIOS Flashback+
  • Mouse Master
  • XSplit Gamecaster V2
  • Click BIOS 5
  • Hardware Monitor 2
  • MSI Command Center,
  • MSI RAMdisk
  • MSI Gaming APP w/ FPS Counter
  • MSI Live Update 6
  • MSI ECO Center
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