MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC Review
Published: 19th April 2018 | Source: MSI | Price: |
Whenever there is a lot of products released at the same time it becomes quite difficult to separate them from each other in our minds. Usually we have a product in for review and can compare it to all the things that have gone before. With the release of the X470 there is nothing really that has come before and thus we're really looking at the Prime, Crosshair, Aorus and M7 all at the same time. Initial impressions tend to be uppermost in our thoughts more than they might otherwise be.
With the MSI Gaming M7 AC it's very easy to focus upon what it isn't rather than what it is. Or perhaps, to put it another way, to look at the things it doesn't do as well as the others that have been in our test system all week instead of focussing upon what it does better than them.
Let's get what it doesn't do as well out of the way, because it's more about a matter of personal taste rather hard facts.
Both the Gigabyte and ASUS motherboards have something that the MSI doesn't really have. In the case of the Gigabyte it is unquestionably the lighting. The MSI lighting is fairly meh, with some lights around the back of the PCB and the logo itself being the only areas that really light up. If you demand your motherboard to be gaudy and attention-grabbing then perhaps this isn't the one to go for. If you compare the IO portion of the ASUS Crosshair VII Hero to the MSI Gaming M7 then the connectivity options clearly favour the ASUS motherboard. We've got loads of peripherals from TrackIR through speakers and headsets to wheels and HOTAS joysticks, and the shortage of USB ports on the MSI Gaming M7 becomes readily apparent when compared to the ASUS.
However, that's pretty much all the bad stuff out of the way. If you can put up with a small lack of USB ports and the need to provide your own external lighting then the MSI ticks an awful lot of other boxes. Primarily, and perhaps the one that most people care about, the performance of the MSI is exceptional. All of today's X470 motherboards we're reviewing are tightly grouped in their actual scores, but more often than not if there was a gap to be found between them it was found to the benefit of the MSI. The overclocking abilities are a particular highlight with some very fast speeds attainable on both the CPU and the DDR4, should you choose to go all out on performance chasing. Thankfully it isn't a type of performance that only looks good in CPU-Z screenshots either, as the MSI regularly topped our graph in most tests.
All of the launched X470 motherboards have their own subjective weak spots, but if you're in the market for the motherboard that just provides the biggest performance regardless of other factors then the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC is the clear choice and wins our OC3D Performance Award.