Review: MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Motherboard

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MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Motherboard (6)

The delays in Broadwell led many to believe that Skylake would be pushed back as well, and with the launch of Broadwell only a few months ago, most were shocked to see Intel pushing out their latest generation of processors so quickly. The Architecture was simply finished, delaying the launch further because of the issue with Broadwell and the new 14nm process would would pointless.

Alas we have now have Skylake and with it the new Z170 chipset and support for DDR4 memory. Today we’re taking a look at the Z170A M5 Gaming motherboard from MSI and with it an Intel 6700K processor.

We’re eager to get things started, so lets dive right into the specifications and take a look at what the new Z170 Gaming M5 has to offer, and then take a closer look and the board itself.

  • Supports 6th Gen Intel® Core™ / Pentium® / Celeron® processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports DDR4-3600+(OC) Memory
  • DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 2X FASTER: USB 3.1 Gen2 offers performance twice as fast as a regular USB 3.0 connection
  • Twin Turbo M.2 64Gb/s + Turbo U.2 ready + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C + Type-A combo + SATA 6Gb/s
  • GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Killer™: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency
  • Audio Boost 3: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality
  • Nahimic Audio Enhancer: Immersive sound quality that pushes the limits of reality
  • Game Boost: This one goes up to eleven; 11 levels of easy overclocking
  • GAMING Hotkey: Assign macros, launch your favorite games or do real-time overclocking using a single button
  • Designed for overclocking: with OC Essentials and OC Engine 2
  • XSplit Gamecaster v2: 1 year free premium license to show off your skills and achievements to the world
  • SteelSeries Certified: Optimized for SteelSeries gaming gear
  • Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes
  • MULTI-GPU with Steel Armor: Steel Armor PCI-E slots. Supports NVIDIA SLI™ & AMD Crossfire™
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning brand new Click BIOS 5 with high resolution scalable font
  • GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game testing by eSports players for the best gaming experience

CPU

• Supports 6th Gen Intel® Core™ i3/i5/i7 processors, and Intel® Pentium® and Celeron® processors for Socket LGA1151
* Please refer to CPU Support for compatible CPU; the above description is for reference only.

Chipset• Intel® Z170 Express Chipset

Main Memory

• 4 x DDR4 memory slots, support up to 64GB
– Supports DDR4 3600(OC)/ 3200(OC)/ 3000(OC)/ 2800(OC)/ 2600(OC)/ 2400/ 2133 MHz
– Dual channel memory architecture
– Supports ECC, un-buffered memory
– Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Slots• 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16, x8/x8, x8/x8/x4 or x8/ x8/x1 modes)
• 4 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
Onboard Graphics• 1 x HDMI™ port, support a maximum resolution of 4096×2160@24Hz, 2560×1600@60Hz
• 1 x DVI-D port, support a maximum resolution of 1920×1200@60Hz

Multi-GPU Support
• Supports 3-Way AMD® CrossFire™ Technology
• Supports 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology
Storage• Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
• 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports* (4 ports reserved for SATA Express port)
• 2 x M.2 slots
– Supports PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6Gb/s standards, 4.2cm/ 6cm/ 8cm length M.2 SSD cards
– Supports PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe Mini-SAS SSD with Turbo U.2 Host Card**
• 2 x SATAe ports (PCIe 3.0 x2)***
• Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology for Intel Core™ processors* M.2, SATA and SATAe ports maximum support 1x M.2_PCIe + 6x SATAs or 1x M.2_SATA + 1x M.2_PCIe + 4x SATAs. Please refer to page 34 for M.2 slots with examples of various combination possibilities.
** The Turbo U.2 Host Card is not included, please purchase separately.
*** SATAe port is backward compatible with SATA.RAID• Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
– Supports RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 for SATA storage devices
– Supports RAID 0 and RAID1 for M.2 PCIe storage devices** M.2 PCIe RAID volume can be created with UEFI BIOS
USB ASMedia® ASM1142 Chipset
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) port on the back panel
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port on the back panel
• Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
– 6 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (SuperSpeed USB) ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB connector)
– 6 x USB 2.0 (High-speed USB) ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB connectors)
Audio• Realtek® ALC1150 Codec
– 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
– Supports S/PDIF output

LAN • 1 x Killer™ E2400 Gigabit LAN controller

Internal I/O Connectors– 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
– 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
– 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
– 2 x SATAe connectors
– 2 x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 connector (supports additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports)
– 2 x 4-pin CPU fan connectors
– 3 x 4-pin system fan connectors
– 1 x Front panel audio connector
– 2 x Front panel connectors
– 1 x TPM module connector
– 1 x Serial port connector
– 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
– 1 x Slow mode switch
– 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
– 1 x 2-Digit Debug Code LED
Back Panel I/O Ports– 1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse port
– 2 x USB 2.0 ports
– 1 x DVI-D port
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 port
– 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port
– 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 ports
– 1 x HDMI™ port
– 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
– 1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
– 5 x OFC audio jacks
BIOS• The motherboard BIOS provides “Plug & Play” BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
• The motherboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your motherboard specifications.
Dimension• 12 in. x 9.6 in. (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm)
• ATX Form Factor
Mounting• 9 mounting holes

1. Introduction and Specifications

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