MSI Z170A SLI PLUS Review
We've often spoke about how certain reviews have a conclusion that pretty much writes itself and the MSI Z170A SLI PLUS is one such product.
If you look at the top of the page you'll see the SLI PLUS costs a meagre £108. That definitely counts as value territory, and somewhat tempers your performance expectations. During our testing time with the MSI it was clear that these expectations are not shattered. They're met. It's exactly as good as you think it's going to be for the money.
Looks are fine enough. It's not earth-shatteringly beautiful, but neither is it an ugly, multi-hued, monstrosity. The all-black aesthetic allows it to blend into your system and frees you up to choose any colour lighting you desire. We'd like the heatsinks to be linked in some way, but solo heatsinks are the de facto standard for motherboards that are priced this affordably. In fact the only real negative we have about the looks is the combination of vertical and horizontal SATA ports. Vertically mounted SATA ports are ugly and a real pain to use if you want to keep your cabling tidy. We can't believe there is any cost benefit to this choice either, so we'd very much like to see an end to vertical SATA ports.
Performance is right on par with the pricing too. If you solely look at the hardcore benchmarks it is easy to come away from the Z170A SLI PLUS with the idea that it's not very good. However, dig a little deeper to the real world stuff such as PC Mark and our Gaming benchmarks and it's equally clear that the MSI is a great little motherboard for the things you'll actually be doing with it. This is exactly the type of motherboard into which you'd fit a Core i5 and a GTX960 or R9 380, and for that it wont leave anybody disappointed.
There is even some overclocking to be had as long as you keep your memory requirements at a level befitting the cost of the motherboard. If you put your ideology on the shelf and look at the MSI Z170A SLI PLUS through the lens of realism then you're guaranteed to be happy. All the benefits of the Z170 chipset with none of the expense, and for that reason the MSI Z170A SLI PLUS wins our OC3D Value For Money Award.