Gaming in Personal computers is a growing rapidly and development in motherboard is taking place. MSI has offered range of motherboards especially designed for improved gaming performance in the last couple of chipset generations. MSI has unveiled yet another feature rich motherboard that caters the demand of gamers. Since the inception of Intel new chipsets, MSI has introduced MSI Z170 Gaming M5 motherboard and it is an excellent choice for consumers who are looking high performance reliable chipset at affordable price.
- Houses two PCI-EM.2 storage devices.
- Support USB 3.1 Gen2 connectivity (4x 3.0, 2x 2.0)
- Includes 1 year premium XSplit License and Nahimic audio enhancements
- Incorporates leading technology of MSI such as Game Boost, DDR4 boost
- Attractive design, DVI-D, display port
- It includes 4 SATA cables, SLI bridge, door tag, I/O shield, driver application DVD, some cable labels, and case badge.
Software and Firmware
MSI Z170 gaming M5 supports Nahimic audio app software, killer e2400 control software, M cloud server app, live update, 1- year upgrade to Xsplit game caster. In terms of firmware, MSI Z170A BIOS 5 is now proportioned to read settings menu even in the advanced mode. It is capable of reaching 4.6 GHz clock speed at 1.30 V CPU core. There are certain new settings included such as CPU core voltage compensation. It also provides you complete control of primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary timings memory control. Firmware menu also includes a detailed report of memory, advanced fan controller, OC profile menu with 6 plus USB storage. One of the key aspects of MSI Z170A Gaming M5 has attractive BIOS which is absolutely joy to use and provides easy tweaks of setting as per the system requirement. The mode allows you enable XMP profile, monitor cooling values and perform essential changes. The Game boost features allow increase in frequency from 4.2 to 4.4 GHz. It has an easy user interface which less complex variable settings that can be understood by going through the user guide.
Design and Layout
Z170A gaming 5 has a panel features of USB 3.1 connectors along with USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports. The reason for sporting USB 2.0 is to provide legacy support for old connections. Compare to its rivals, MSI has not provided dual GB Ethernet ports but one of the key upscale factor is Killer e2400 integration. One of the key noticeable missing parts is Display port but it has been addressed with the use of DVI-D connector having same features. Another mentioning factor is presence of gold plated analog connections with Op Amp Nahemic audio enhancer which would enhance the gaming capabilities.
Packing and Accessories
MSI Z170A Gaming M5 comes with an attractive packaging design with bold colors, stunning product snapshots providing an appealing factor. It is surely one of the most eye-catching packaging which gives it a great appearance. The package accessories include user guide, metal case badge, driver’s disk, registration details, installation guide, SLI Bridge and 4 SATA cables.
- CPU- MSI Z170A Gaming M5 has got a reliable CPU performance reports an impressive score in multiple CPU scores with lesser margin of error.
- Memory Performance- MSI Z170A Gaming M5 defeats its rivals in terms of latency in memory and gives a good memory performance. In terms of memory bandwidth, the numbers are again good with fewer gaps compared to those chipsets with XMP enabled to provide better performance. Even in the over clocking, the results are good and this gives MSI Z170A Gaming M5 an edge compare to other motherboards in the same range.
- Storage – When it comes to USB, SATA and M.2 testing, MSI Z170A Gaming M5 excels in the benchmarks with positive results. Write Performance in M.2 is on the lower side but the numbers are extremely good SATA and USB testing.
- Networking – Network interface of MSI Z170A Gaming M5 consists of Killer E2400 and gives a good potential in providing great network speed in both TCP and UDP consistently.
- CPU utilization- When it comes to CPU utilization, killer E24000 report high CPU utilization compared to its rivals and one of the major drawback of using Killer networking solutions mainly due to network prioritization.
- Audio- The motherboard is capable to deliver high speed audio performance and gives promising figures. It consists of Realtek ALC1150 codec which gives a good performance. It shows improvement in noise o/p and dynamic range. Overall results of the audio performance are good and show how exceptional is the audio hardware. In terms of latency, MSI Z170A Gaming M5 records a low latency figures which clearly gives it an edge compared to its competitors.
- Power consumption- Under heavy load, the system demands low wattage and increases the CPU clock frequency so it has good power consumption.
In terms of price, MSI Z170A Gaming M5 is round the £100 mark and there are number of motherboards available at this price range. However, MSI Z170A Gaming M5 offers certain impeccable features which may not be available in other motherboards such as great performance, speed, low latency. Connectivity and one year XSpit license which could be a great choice for those users who have high performance demands and not worried about price.
Market of gaming specific motherboards is already on the rise and MSI has come up with yet another game oriented MSI Z170A gaming M5 with range of amazing features, specifications to target this ever growing burgeoning segment. Attractive BIOS layout, great read performance, software package, overclocking features such as Debug LED, voltage points, slow mode, Military class 5 components, aesthetic design, audio, supports 64 Gb/s USB 3.1 Type A and C connectivity and staggering maximum network speed. The only thing that falls behind is its CPU testing results are not that competitive compared to its rivals. MSI Z170 A Gaming M5 is not the best performer in all the tasks but it has certain exceptional features, design and style that makes it an attractive pick. It provides great deal of flexibility and suitable for fast storage devices.