MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review

Published by Marc Büchel on 04.11.15
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Like we mentioned in the introduction the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 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 cooling blocks themselves have been shaped with a lot of attention to detail. The layout has been well thought and there are plenty of useful features, like two headers to attach external USB 3.0 ports, SATA 6Gbps Ports, two M.2 Gen 3 x4 slots, overclocking features and more.


MSI equipped the Z170A Gaming M7 motherboard with a 14-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 M7 motherboard. Officially supported are the DDR4 3600 (O.C.) / 3200 (O.C.) / 2800 (O.C.) / 2666 (O.C.) / 2400 (O.C.) / 2133MHz. 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.


Page 1 - Introduction Page 14 - SiSoft Sandra 2
Page 2 - Specs and Delivery Page 15 - UC Bench
Page 3 - Features Page 16 - Super Pi 1M / 32M
Page 4 - Layout Page 17 - wPrime 1024M Multi Core
Page 5 - Connectors and I/O Page 18 - Cinebench
Page 6 - BIOS Page 19 - Tomb Raider
Page 7 - Test setup Page 20 - Metro Last Light
Page 8 - Preview / Gallery Page 21 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 9 - 3D Mark Page 22 - Power Consumption
Page 10 - 3D Mark 11 Page 23 - Performance Rating
Page 11 - 3D Mark Vantage  Page 24 - Price Comparison
Page 12 - PC Mark 8 Page 25 - Conclusion
Page 13 - SiSoft Sandra 1  

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MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review - Motherboards Intel Z170 - Reviews - ocaholic