• Slot: Z170
  • CPU: Intel LGA1151
  • RAM Slots: 4
  • RAM Type: DDR4
  • Ports: USB 2.0 x2, USB 3.0 x2, USB 3.1 x2, HDMI x1, DisplayPort x1
  • Pros:
  • Performance
  • Features
  • Cons:
  • Price
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark 8 (Home): 4,214 points
  • PCMark 8 (Creative): 4,694 points
  • PCMark 8 (Work): 3,951 points

Superior Gaming and Overclocking

MSI has been going strong in the gaming scene lately, and their push to claim the industry as theirs continues as they announced a true heavyweight of an enthusiast motherboard in their corner with the MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK.

MSI keeps to its black and red board design with the Z170A M9 ACK, complete with a Dragon-inspired heatsink. The board has the standard support for four DDR4 DIMMs, supporting up to 64GBs in dual-channel configuration. The board also has six SATA III 6.0Gbps ports, two SATA Express ports and two M.2 ports for M.2 SSDs. As far as GPU support goes, the PCIE slots supports multi-GPU configurations for both NVIDIA SLI and AMD’s CrossFireX.

At the rear, the I/O ports include two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 3.1 ports, one each of USB Type-A and USB Type-C. Other ports include HDMI, DisplayPort, audio ports as well as WiFi adapter connectors.

The Z170A M9 ACK motherboard is clearly built with overclocking in mind as not only does the motherboard have support for water-cooling blocks, it also has additional extras such as a one-touch overclocking button, premium power phases, as well as socket designs that are made to withstand high voltages.

With MSI’s OC Engine 2, you can also fully maximise your overclocking potential by selecting from a wider range of BCLKs, so that you don’t go over the top too soon. With the correct cooling solution, going over 5.0GHz is no problem at all, and even using our in-house cooler, we managed to hit 4.8GHz on our processor without dabbling too much with the settings.

Gamers and audiophiles will also be happy to know that MSI has stuff in store for them too, as features like Killer LAN, Gaming Hotkey, Nahimic Audio Enhancer and Xtreme Audio DAC are all included in the motherboard as well.

We especially love the extra touch that MSI gave to it in the form of the back cover, which actually helps out a lot in not getting our hands pricked by solder points when setting up the PC.

CHIP CONCLUDE: MSI has done an extraordinarily good job on the Z170A M9 ACK motherboard. It’s packed with a lot of features that overclocking enthusiasts, gamers and audiophiles would all enjoy.

(previously published in issue December 2015)

MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK