Z170I Pro Gaming AC motherboard is powered by a 5-phase CPU
VRM which is enough for an mini ITX system. Apart from that there are features like Killer-LAN and beefed-up audio. On the back of the board there is even an M.2 x4 Gen 3 slot, which adds to storage flexibility. There are also straight SATA ports, whereas two of thm can be combined to one SATA-Express connector. Overall this board has been equipped with a reasonable feature mix, which is perfectly adquate for the price MSI is asking.
- M.2 x4 Slot
|Overall, the MSI Z170I Pro Gaming AC's layout
has been well thought. As we already mentioned on this page there is a total of four straight SATA ports. On such small motherboards it's not possible to use angled SATA connectors, since the memory slots need to be moved too close to the CPU socket. Other
than that there is an internal USB3 header. Unfortunately there are no practical power- and reset-buttons as well as debug LED but there is a CLR_CMOS button at the back I/O panel. Furthermore there is a PCI Express Gen3 x16
slots. We liked the position of the CPU socket, which allows for the installation of large coolers. There were quite a few boards in the past, which had the socket rather close to the PCI Express slot. That meant you had to install a stock cooler or an all-in-one liquid cooler. A quick look at the back I/O panel reveals there are plenty of USB 3.1 as well as USB 2.0 ports, which in combination with the display and network connectors as well as WiFi module make for a good connectivity mix.
|| - Space around the CPU
- Audio Solution
||- No power/reset-button onboard
- No Debug LED