• SPECIFICATIONS
  • Socket: LGA 1151
  • Chipset: Intel H270
  • RAM Slots: 4
  • Memory: 2400/ 2133 MHz DDR4
  • Ports: 1x PS/2, 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 1x LAN, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C, 4x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A, 2x USB 2.0, 5x Audio port, 1x Optical (SPDIF), 3x PCIe x16, 3x PCIe x1, 6x SATA 6Gb/s
  • Pros:
  • Unique colour scheme
  • Good feature set
  • Cons:
  • None
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark 8 Home – 4387 points
  • PCMark 8 Creative – 5070 points
  • PCMark 8 Work – 3641 points

The White Beast

The Intel Kaby Lake CPU launched prior to CES 2017 last month, which also saw the release of two new chipsets. There’s the Z270, which the three motherboards we reviewed last month are based on, then there’s the H270. This time, we got MSI Malaysia to send us its new H270 Tomahawk Arctic.

Made for users with different needs (and maybe budget), the H270 Tomahawk Arctic looks distinctively different from the higher-end Z270 Gaming M7 we’ve also reviewed for this issue. There’s no large shrouds for the back I/O and audio chipsets, resulting in a body that looks smaller. It also eschews the typical all black design of MSI’s Master series motherboards, going for a white PCB with grey strips.

Design aside, the motherboard’s layout isn’t all that different from the norm. You get four DDR4 DIMM slots to the right of the CPU, three PCIe and PCI slots, as well as two M.2 slots. One of the M.2 slot is a Turbo slot, making it Intel Optane ready. Also, all of the DIMM slots and one PCIe slot are metal reinforced.

MSI has placed six fan headers on the Tomahawk Arctic for plenty of cooling, ensuring that its moniker isn’t solely due to the white colour scheme. It has one header for a water cooling pump and another for the CPU.

At the back, the I/Os are pretty standard. The inclusion of a DVI port makes it useful if you have an older monitor, while a total of eight USB ports should be enough for most people. It also helps that one of it is a Type-C port and that four of them have the bandwidth to support VR headsets.

The Tomahawk Arctic may not have the high-end features that MSI’s Gaming series gets, but it does come with the Mystic Light feature. With it, you can hook any RGB LED to the motherboard and sync the colour and effects via an app. Purchasing this motherboard also gives you a 1-year premium license for XSplit Gamecaster, which is useful if you plan to stream your gaming sessions.

According to our benchmarks, this motherboard can deliver performances similar to Z270 systems that are not overclocked. Beyond that is where a ‘H’ version chipset loses out; it doesn’t allow overclocking, so you can’t really squeeze more performance out of your CPU and RAM.

CHIP CONCLUDE: This motherboard has a decent list of features and a great colour scheme. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support overclocking so those who wish to do so will have to look elsewhere.

(previously published in issue February 2017)

MSI H270 Tomahawk Arctic