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::>Motherboards > 2015 > 08 > MSI Z170A GAMING M5

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Republish review

25-08-2015


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MSI Z170A GAMING M5 motherboard: review and testing

As you know MSI has decided to divide the whole range of gaming motherboards on three lineups: MSI Z170 Arsenal GAMING, MSI Z170 Performance GAMING and MSI Z170 Enthusiast GAMING. The first is designed for casual players that do not require special advantages. The second one provides a number of important features. The third one pleases gaming enthusiasts due to improvements to each subsystem.

In turn, lineup MSI Z170 Enthusiast GAMING is divided into several series: MSI Z170 GAMING M3, MSI Z170 GAMING M5, MSI Z170 GAMING M7 и MSI Z170 GAMING M9.  It is easy to guess that the higher the index number, the greater the benefits of various integrated into the model.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

So we can say that the motherboard MSI Z170A GAMING M5 is designed for fans of computer games that are looking for a balance between the high functionality and the ultimate cost.

Novelty has an excellent network subsystem, which will be appreciated by fans of online battles, high-quality sound subsystem that allows you to catch the steps of the enemy before it appears on the screen, as well as ample opportunities for the organization of graphics and disk subsystems.

However, but firstly let's consider the detailed technical specifications of the motherboard MSI Z170A GAMING M5:

Producer 

MSI

Model

Z170A GAMING M5

Chipset

Intel Z170

CPU socket

Socket LGA1151

Supported CPU

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 6th gen

Memory frequency

3600* / 3200* / 3000* / 2800* / 2600* / 2400 / 2133 MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

4 x DDR4 DIMM-slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

3 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (x16 / x8+x8 / x8+x4+x4)

4 x PCI Express 3.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel Z170 chipset supports:

2 x M.2 32 Gb/s (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280)

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 х SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2400 (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC1150

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power

24-pin ATX connector

8-pin ATX12V connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connectors (4-pin)

3 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminium radiators on the processor power subsystem elements

Aluminum radiator on chipset

Extenral I/O

1 x PS/2 Combo

1 x HDMI

1 x DVI-D

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.1 Gen1

1 х USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C)

1 х USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-A)

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x audio jacks

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.1 each with support of two USB 3.1 Gen1

2 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

2 x SATA 6 Gb/s

2 x SATA Express

1 х socket TPM

1 х COM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

2 x sets of front panel connectors

1 х switch «Slow mode»

1 x CMOS reset

1 x diagnostic LED-indicator

BIOS

128 Mb Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP 1.0а, ACPI 5.0, SM BIOS 2.8

Packaging

user manual

warranty card

disk with drives and documents

4 x SATA cables

1 х bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х interface panel plug

Form-factor, dimensions

ATX

305 x 244 mm

Producer website

MSI
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available at support page

Package and content

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

The motherboard MSI Z170A GAMING M5 comes in a cardboard made which is decorated with high-quality and very stylish graphic printing. The information on the front of the box indicates about the name of the board and the manufacturer.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

In addition to diagram interface panel and brief specifications the reverse side of the package contains a description of the key features and supported technologies:

  • Audio Boost 3 - in addition to the flagship codec Realtek ALC1150 the sound system includes special audio capacitors Nippon Chemi-Con, two amplifiers OP1652 supporting studio headphones with an impedance of 600 Ohms, and a gold-plated audio outputs on the interface panel and the caseto protect the codec from electromagnetic interference. Note also a nice bonus in the form of a shielding strip with LED-backlit that divides the part of the printed circuit board with a sound system from the rest of the components, and the availability of supplied software Nahimic Audio Enhancer for fine-tune of audio subsystem.
  • MSI TWIN TURBO M.2 - the novelty is equipped with two interfaces M.2 with a capacity of 32 Gb/s, which can work in tandem to double the throughput capacity (64 Gb/s).
  • GAMING VGA - in addition to support for technologies NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX, two expansion slots PCI Express 3.0 x16 are additionally equipped with steel plates which prevent damage under the weight of massive video card.
  • GAMING LAN - motherboard contains a network controller Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2400, which has the ability to automatically detect the game and increase its traffic priority over low-level traffic system, ensuring low latency for transmission of game data. It will help set priorities for MSI GAMING LAN Manager.
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 - the interface panel contains ports USB 3.1 Gen1 with a capacity of 5 Gb/s and USB 3.1 Gen2, with 10 Gb/s.

In addition, we would like to indicate other applied technologies:

  • Military Class 5 - the new product uses only high quality components such as solid capacitors Dark CAP with 10 years of lifetime and chokes Titanium Choke.
  • Gaming Device Port - ports USB 2.0 and PS/2 have increased three times the amount of gold plating, therefore, have greater reliability and durability.
  • Game Boost - automatic overclocking technology allows significantly improve performance in games by pressing a button in the bundled software.
  • OC Essentials – the board features components that will help overclocking (diagnostic LED-indicator, socket V-Check Points and switch «Slow mode»).
  • LAN Protect - provides protection of network port in case of overvoltage in the value of 15 kV.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

In addition to the standard documentation and a CD with drivers and utilities the delivery set of MSI Z170A GAMING M5 features:

  • four SATA cables;
  • bridge NVIDIA SLI;
  • interface panel plug;
  • label on the system unit with the logo of the series MSI GAMING;
  • cardboard hanger with inscriptions: "Sorry, busy playing" and "I'm Out."

Design and features

 MSI Z170A GAMING M5

The new product is based on a printed circuit board made in format ATX (305 x 244 mm), which is easily contained a sufficiently large number of on-board elements, allowing to place them on the best places. For example, all SATA ports are arranged parallel to the surface of the PCB, which means that even the longest expansion card does not restrict access to them.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

DIMM-slots include a latch on both sides, however here the installed graphics card does not interfere connection and disconnection of memory modules, placing PCI Express x16 slot at a sufficient distance.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5Design of MSI Z170A GAMING M5 is also at the highest level. The dominant black color of PCB, expansion slots and ports slightly is added by red elements on the radiator.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5On the reverse side of the PCB you can find a base plate of the socket, and the fact that all three radiators are securely fastened by means of screws, which provide better down force than plastic clips.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: connection module of the front panel audio jacks, ports TPM and COM, POST-code indicator, two blocks to connect the front panel, connector for system fan, switch “Slow mode” and two blocks for the connection of interface USB 2.0. MSI Z170A GAMING M5 supports six USB 2.0 ports: four inside and two on the interface panel.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by two sockets M.2 with carrying capacity of 32 GB/s (SSD-drives M.2 2242, 2260 and 2280 are supported), two ports SATA 6 Gb/s, and two SATA Express, which is compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s. There is support for arrays SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.

Due to lack of available chipset lines the disk subsystem can operate in one of the following configurations: 1 x M.2_PCIe + 6 x SATA 6 Gb/s or 1 х M.2_SATA + 1 x M.2_PCIe + 4 x SATA 6 Gb/s.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

The right side of the motherboard MSI Z170A GAMING M contains four DIMM-slots for modules RAM of standard DDR4, which can operate in dual channel mode. The modules must be installed either in the first and third or second and fourth slots (or take four sockets). Modules operating at frequencies up to 2400 in nominal mode and up to 3600 MHz overclocking are supported. The maximum amount of memory can be up to 64 GB, which should be enough for almost any task.

Also the right side has sockets V-Check Points intended for direct voltage measuring on key elements and module to connect remote panel with ports USB 3.1 Gen1 with carrying capacity up to 5 Gb/s. In total, the new product supports six ports USB 3.1 Gen1: two internal and four on the interface panel.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

MSI Z170A GAMING M5The cooling system consists of three main aluminum radiators, one carries out the heat removal from the chipset Intel Z170, while the other two cover elements of the power subsystem processor. The following temperature were fixed:

  • heat sink for cooling the chipset – 31.1°C (during overclocking - 32°C);
  • top radiator cooling elements of the processor power subsystem - 44°C (during overclocking - 46,9°C);
  • bottom heat sink cooling elements of the processor power subsystem – 41.8°C (during overclocking – 44.3°C).

As we can see, pre-installed cooling system has good efficiency, thereby creating the necessary groundwork for overclocking. The results clearly indicate the higher efficiency of the cooling system, indicating the proper selection of materials and design.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

CPU power is carried out by enhanced 12-phase scheme for cores and additional nodes. The converter based on PWM controller ISL95856. Element base is realized using high-quality components, the respective corporate design, Military Class 5. It is composed of solid capacitors Dark CAP chokes and capacitors Titanium Choke. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.   

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

To extend the functionality of the product user seven slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х16 or х8);
  3. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  5. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х8 or х4);
  6. PCI Express 3.0 x1;
  7. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х4).

As you can see, in order to organize the graphics subsystem the user has three slots PCI Express x16 connected to the processor. Accordingly, they are using all available sixteen lines of standard PCI Express 3.0. Depending on the number of installed video cards, you will receive one of the following scheme: х16, х8+х8 or х8+х4+х4. Don’t forget that the last option is supported only in case of application of the graphics cards based on the GPU of AMD, since NVIDIA does not support the scheme with a capacity of 4x.

Also note that you won’t have problems will installation of two graphics cards with three0slot cooling system. At the same time you will have one slot PCI Express 3.0 x1.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

If you decided to take advantage of the graphics core integrated into the CPU, you have two video outputs (HDMI and DVI-D) navigated by two chips PTN3360DBS.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

Multi I/O features are implemented using chip NUVOTON NCT6793D, which controls the operation of the system fans, ports PS/2 and COM, and provides monitoring.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

To support network connections there is a gigabit LAN-controller Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2400 that has a number of hardware and software advantages to prioritize gaming and multimedia traffic. It is extended with software MSI GAMING LAN Manager.  

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

Correct operation of two ports USB 3.1 Gen2 on the interface panel is provided by the chip ASMedia ASM1142. 

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

Sound subsystem MSI Z170A GAMING M5 has a rather interesting design titled « Audio Boost 3". It is based on the flagship 7.1-channel HDA-codec Realtek ALC1150, which supports audio formats 2/4/5.1/7.1. It works in tandem with two amplifiers OP1652, able to support the work of headphones with an impedance of 600 Ohms.

 

 

MSI Z170A GAMING M5 MSI Z170A GAMING M5 MSI Z170A GAMING M5

Also, there are high-quality audio capacitors producer by company Nippon Chemi-Con, gold-plated audio connectors and shielding technology to protect against electromagnetic interference. Software fine-tuning of the sound quality is carried out by Nahimic Audio Enhancer.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

On the interface panel of the motherboard MSI Z170A GAMING M5 we found following ports:

  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 1 х USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C);
  • 1 х USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-A);
  • 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF out;
  • 5 x audio jacks;
  • 1 x PS/2 Combo.

A similar arrangement is excellent, since it has a large number of ports USB, including two USB 3.1 Gen2, two video outputs with five gold-plated audio jacks for easy connection of multi-channel speakers, as well as support for ports Gaming Device Port for connecting gaming mice or keyboards.

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

 

MSI Z170A GAMING M5

Motherboard MSI Z170A GAMING M5 is equipped with five fan connectors: two fans are used to supply the cooling system of the processor, and the other three are used to connect the system propellers. All connectors are in accordance with modern requirements of 4-pin.


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