MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk Review
If you're the type of person who prefers a level of subtlety in their hardware rather than the modern predilection for gaudiness then you'll delight in the understated aesthetics of the Tomahawk. Often when a motherboard comes in at this price the first thing to go is any sense of looking nice. After all, money spent on trinkets is money you aren't saving. But the Tomahawk looks very nice with a consistent look across the whole of the board and enough of those premium elements - braced PCI Express, full size IO-blended heat sink - to ensure it rises above the commonplace.
Naturally having great aesthetics for the money is meaningless if the performance isn't there to back it up, but the Tomahawk ticks that particular box too.
It overclocks well, taking our Core i9-9900K to 5 GHz which is a considerable overclock for a processor with such a high core count. It doesn't come at the expense of frying VRMs either thanks to those beefy heat sinks as long as your case has a reasonable amount of airflow (roof fans or a top mounted AIO should be fine. There are cooler options around but almost none at this sub £150 price point. Of course having a 5 GHz CPUz isn't that important it is maintaining that performance level throughout a strenuous test, and here the Tomahawk comes up trumps again. Whilst it never tops our graphs in the overclocked trim it is worth noting the motherboards that surround it and their relative pricings. For the money you definitely wont be disappointed.
If you're the type of user who isn't comfortable overclocking their new hardware - and we know there are lots of you - then you'll be pleased that the stock performance of the MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk is, if anything, even more impressive than the overclocked performance. Regularly it was at the top end of the stock motherboards in our graph and those times it didn't find itself at the sharp end the gap between it and the best wasn't all that great.
The MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk makes a mockery of the concept that you need to spend big bucks on a motherboard to get something that both looks good and performs well. It might not have the enormous amount of features available on more expensive motherboards, but for the average user who will use onboard audio, one graphics card, a reasonable amount of storage and one or two peripherals then there is more than enough connectivity options to keep you happy.
The Tomahawk is a surprising dark horse at a very affordable price and looks that belie that affordability and wins our OC3D Value For Money Award.