The MSI Z170A SLI PLUS Review: Redefining the Base Line at $130by Ian Cutress on April 13, 2016 8:00 AM EST
- Posted in
When picking out the feature set for a $120 Z170 motherboard, there isn’t going to be much on the list beyond the standard Intel specifications. There are things that can be done fairly cheaply, such as M.2 support, although M.2 SATA is easier than M.2 PCIe. At this price point, it might also be a cost down measure, skimming a few cents here and there on the codec or network controller, but we don’t get that here.
|MSI Z170A SLI PLUS|
|Warranty Period||3 Years|
|Memory Slots (DDR4)||Four DDR4
Up to 3600 MHz
|Memory Slots (DDR3L)||None|
|Video Outputs||HDMI at 4096x2160 @ 24 Hz
DVI-D at 1920x1200 @ 60 Hz
VGA at 2048x1280 @ 60 Hz
|Network Connectivity||Intel I219-V|
|Onboard Audio||Realtek ALC1150|
|PCIe Slots for Graphics (from CPU)||2 x PCIe 3.0 (x16, x8/x8)|
|PCIe Slots for Other (from PCH)||1 x PCIe 3.0 x4
3 x PCIe 3.0 x1
|Onboard SATA||Six, RAID 0/1/5/10|
|Onboard SATA Express||Two, RAID|
|Onboard M.2||1x PCIe 3.0 x4, RAID 0/1, NVMe via Turbo U.2 (not included)|
|USB 3.1 (10 Gbps)||1 x Type-C
ASMedia ASM1142 Controller
|USB 3.0 (5 Gbps)||2 x Rear Panel
4 via headers
|USB 2.0||2 x Rear Panel
4 via headers
|Power Connectors||1 x 24-pin ATX
1 x 8-pin CPU
|Fan Headers||2 x CPU (4-pin)
3 x CHA/SYS (4-pin)
|IO Panel||1 x Mouse PS/2
1 x Keyboard PS/2
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
2 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
1 x Network RJ-45 (Intel I219-V)
HDMI / DVI-D / VGA
|Other Features||TPM Header
COM Port Header
LPT Port Header
Clear CMOS Header
Front Panel Header
Front Audio Header
There’s a single USB 3.1 Type-C port, which is more than I would expect, along with support for SLI and a full complement of DDR4 slots. There are only four USB Type-A ports on the rear which might be a little lower than I would like, and there’s no power/reset switches and a two-digit debug that I would want as well, but there are PCIe guards (MSI’s ‘Steel Armor’) on the main slots, a Realtek ALC1150 codec enhanced by PCB separation and filter caps, and an Intel I219-V network controller. Perhaps it’s a bit of give and take, but the 10-phase power delivery is also a factor in this.
In The Box
We get the following:
Rear IO Shield
Four SATA Cables
Flexi SLI Bridge
As one might expect in a low-cost box, normally the minimum is added to satisfy most users. I somehow suspected there might only be two SATA cables, but MSI adds in another couple here, giving four in total.
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Tchamber - Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - linkWhat ever came of the PCIE communication discrepancy? Is it still running slower than it's supposed to?
MrSpadge - Thursday, April 14, 2016 - linkUsually not. There's a section on this before the gaming benchmarks.
Visual - Thursday, April 14, 2016 - linkIt is sad that we consider $130 "the baseline" today... My current computer was bought at a time when $50 mobos were normal and this one would be considered quite high end. And don't even get me started on those $500 scams.
Major_Kusanagi - Thursday, April 14, 2016 - linkYeah, that $600 MSI X99A Godlike Carbon is so over the top. :-P
LuxZg - Sunday, April 17, 2016 - linkFirst off thanks for a review. Nice board as well. But looking at local prices here in EU, this board is about the price of Gigabyte's Z170X Gaming 3, and some similar boards. I'm pointing out Gigabyte's as I've just ordered one, and it seems to have comparable features and comparable price, yet GA board also features 2x M.2 slots, few extra USB ports, including 2x of what they call 16Gbps USB 3.1 port (Type A + Type C), and just as rich software and BIOS. Oh and Dual BIOS as well.
So from my point of view, by the local prices - MSI has some hard competition, and I haven't even mentioned some AsRock and ASUS boards I was considering as well,all in similar price range.
random2 - Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - linkYou lost me at "cost-down". More fashionista journalist terminology? Is anyone still using "moving forward"?
SLI PLUS this, SLI Plus that.....So does this do Crossfire? Of course it does. Lets not get too wrapped up in the MSI/Nvidia hype.
thesmith - Sunday, April 24, 2016 - linkLOL. Any team players wishing to get with the program could check the take home message here:
thebeansoldier - Sunday, April 24, 2016 - linkPicked this up for my gf a few days ago and paired it with an 6600k @4.4ghz, corsair LPX 16gb, and an asus GTX 970. Bios will take some getting used to as I'm more comfortable with Asrock's bios, but she's happily playing Division is happily at 60fps @ 1080p so I can't complain. Can't wait to finally experiment with SLI by adding my own 970 and see what it can do.
thesmith - Sunday, April 24, 2016 - linkMy two IBM Model M's agree.
Motherboard manufacturers in 2056 will be including PS/2 connectors to satisfy the new resurgence in demand as tomb raiders unearth the coveted vintage (but still functional) IBM Model M keyboards from the cold, dead hands of a generation of geeks like me after we're finally laid to rest.
thesmith - Sunday, April 24, 2016 - link(This was in reply to Major_Kusanagi way up above...)