Like we mentioned in the introduction the MSI Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard
comes with a great looking design. The PCB has a matte black
finish and the heatsinks feature red covers. On the PCH you'll also find the great looking MSI dragon. The heatsinks have
been shaped with a lot of attention to detail. The layout
has been well thought and there are plenty of useful features, like one header to attach external USB 3.0 ports, SATA 6Gbps Ports, two M.2 Gen 3 x4 slots, overclocking features and
MSI equipped the Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard with a 12-phase digital power design
and an ISL6388 chip from Intersil is taking care of the CPU VRM. As it's the case with all high-end
motherboards from MSI the solid capacitors are part
of MSI's Military Class 5 group of components so we are looking at an overall
higly capable power
design, as there are for instance titanium chokes on this motherboard.
A closer look at the power design related to the memory reveals a 2-phase digital power design here driven by
a PV3205 digital, dual-channel buck phase controller from powervation.
As far as the memory goes, you can find four DIMM-slots on the Z170A Gaming M5 motherboard.
Officially supported are the DDR4 3600 (O.C.) / 3200 (O.C.) / 2800 (O.C.) / 2666 (O.C.) / 2400 (O.C.) / 2133
MHz. There is enough space between the
DIMM-slots and the CPU socket which means that you will not run into any issues
with large coolers, even if you choose to install memory with big heatspreaders.
Also supported are the Xtreme Memory Profiles (XMP) in version 2.0.
The PCH as well as the current converters are being held at adequate
temperatures via passive heatsinks. The heatsink for current converters is made from
a single aluminium block that uses one 6mm nickel-plated copper heatpipe. The
PCH heatsink has not been been integrated into the heatpipe loop and is quite
simple and flat. The cooling blocks have been very well made and also they are perfetcly attached to the board to provide enough pressure on the components
they have to cool. The aluminium blocks are entirely black with red sheet metal covers, overall resembling a completly new design.