MSI Enthusiastic Gaming Intel Kaby Lake Z270 DDR4 VR Ready HDMI USB 3 ATX Motherboard (Z270 GAMING M6 AC)
- Supports 7th/6th Gen Intel Core/Pentium/Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
- Supports DDR4-3800+(OC) Memory
- VR Ready and VR Boost
- Twin Turbo M.2
- Gaming LAN with LAN Protect
• Supports 7th / 6th Gen Intel® CoreTM / Pentium® / Celeron® processors for LGA 1151 socket
• Supports DDR4-3800+(OC) Memory
• DDR4 Boost with Steel Armor: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
• VR Ready and VR Boost: Best virtual reality game experience without latency, reduces motion sickness
• Mystic Light Extension With Free RGB LED Strip: Phanteks high performance RGB LED strip
• Twin Turbo M.2, Steel Armor, M.2 Shield. Intel Optane Memory Ready, Turbo U.2, Lightning USB 3.1 Gen2
• Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 2: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality for the most immersive gaming experience
• GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by KillerTM: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency and bandwidth management
• BIOS Flashback+: Easy BIOS recovery without the need of a CPU, memory and VGA card
• Next-Gen Intel® Wi-Fi AC & Bluetooth: Use your LAN port for online gaming while using
Pros: -User Friendly UEFI with a ton of customization and options.
-Awesome and very stable overclocking potential.
-Great layout (fan header locations, M.2 slots, etc.)
-Aesthetically pleasing color scheme.
-MSI Utility Software works wonders.
-RGB Lighting Layout.
Cons: -"RGB" Lighting is very limited. Only a set number of colors are available.
-Fan control within the UEFI is spotty.
-Certain portions of the included manual are very vague.
I built my new Kaby Lake gaming PC using this motherboard just recently. Retired my Ivy Bridge i5 3570K and Z77 platform. So far, in gaming and synthetic benchmarks, it's a significant upgrade.
I have this board paired with an Intel i7 7700K, 32gb Corsair Dominator Platinum SE 3200mhz Memory, EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid, Corsair H115i, Intel 600p 512gb NVMe Drive. Packaging of the motherboard was superb and included everything needed for the build. Everything plugged in and booted into the UEFI flawless the first time. The nice layout with all the fan headers, M.2 slots, SATA ports, etc. made the build that much easier and pleasant. Driver and software installs were seamless and so far everything plays nice together.
I've got the 7700K clocked currently at 4.7ghz, with voltage set to 1.30. I've noticed though that the voltage does not exceed 1.276 at this clock speed under heavy load so there's definitely some room there to overclock even more. A lot of people are getting 5.0ghz out of these i7's with ease.
Aesthetically, this board looks amazing with the carbon/greyish theme. It definitely fits my other hardware choices beautifully.
My only gripes are the following, but certainly not deal breakers:
-The "RGB" lighting options, while they look amazing with the layout MSI chose, you're very limited in your colors. There's only a set number of choices available. If you're trying to fine tune a certain color in, you won't be able to do it. You can get close though.
-Fan control inside the UEFI. I'll admit, I need to mess with it some more, but some of the options I've fiddled with, resulted in some erratic fan speeds. And yes, I am running all 4pin PWM fans in my build. The other downfall is you can only adjust fan speeds based off CPU temps. No option for GPU. I know this is probably asking a lot, but would be awesome if it was available. I know most BIOS options don't have any control over GPU temps unfortunately.
-Manual that ships with the motherboard was vague at times. This might not be a huge deal for some people. Other people on their first time builds might take issue.
All in all, I highly recommend going with this board if you're in the market for a new Kaby Lake build. I've used Gigabyte for years, and I've recently switched over and used MSI for my last couple PC builds now. Everything has been flawless.
The biggest issue I had was right when I first installed the mobo and everything else in my case -- there was a red LED present near the 24pin power connector on the mobo, and nothing would power on! No lights, no fans, no status LED's, nothing! I was stumped, and though I have a strong background in IT and troubleshooting, I called three different knowledgeable friends and they were all stumped on this issue as well.
I took a break from this build and when I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was to google the exact issue (Red LED msi z170a gaming m5). One of the results I found was that it had to do with the CMOS battery. So I took the mobo down to bare minimum -- 1 stick of RAM, no USB connected headers, no GPU, no HDD -- just the mobo, both power connectors, and the front panel headers. I removed the CMOS battery, waited about 30 seconds, and then reinstalled it. I then placed a jumper on the designated CMOS reset jumper on the mobo for about 10 seconds, pushed the power button and low and behold, it worked!! I should mention that during my troubleshooting I tried out two different PSU's and tried to use the front panel on two different cases, to no avail. I also tried shorting the front panel headers manually, still with no luck.
Beyond that, I haven't been able to really test any other features of this board. I just fixed it today and had work this evening, so I hope to spend some time playing around with the settings this weekend. I did like the splash screen, the color scheme of the mobo (which I've decided to use as the basis for my black/red built, including using a Corsair SPEC-02 Case with Red LED) and the build quality of this motherboard. The connectivity is great as well.
My only gripe is with the rear I/O shield, which doesn't properly fit in my Corsair case. I don't know if it's a fault of the case or the shield itself, but it's not a huge issue since no one sees the back of the case, and it's held in place as long as there's something plugged into the back (HDMI does a great job holding it in place).
If I didn't have issues with the rear shield fitment and the strange power issue, I'd give this a 5-star without hesitation. I wish I hadn't had the power issue as this is my first and only experience with MSI products, but I will not let one experience leave a sour taste in my mouth.
Corsair SPEC-02 Case
Corsair H60 liquid cooling
G.Skill Ripjaws V 32GB RAM
MSI Z170A Gaming 5 Mobo
EVGA 750GQ PSU
ASUS GTX750Ti OC GPU
Samsung 850 Evo 500GB SSD
2x Seagate 1TB HDD (in RAID 1)