MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition First Look
MSI Z170 XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition First Look
Published: 2nd September 2015 | Source: MSI Gaming | Price: £229.99 |
MSI Z170 XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition First Look
Not all motherboards are created equal, some are destined to push the limits when overclocking, or become the centerpiece of a beautiful custom PC while others are destined to sit in a mediocre OEM build, largely forgotten about and under appreciated by it's user.
The MSI Z170 XPOWER Titanium Edition is a board which is destined to go places, being designed from the start to deliver one of the best overclocking experiences on Intel's Z170 Skylake Platform. Let's have a look.
One of the biggest changes MSI has made to this generation's XPOWER motherboard is their rather brave move away from their usual Yellow and Black colour scheme to their new Sliver/Titanium colour scheme, which is something which has caught many enthusiasts off-guard.
This board colour is easily one of the biggest talking points about this motherboard, as it is simply something that we have never seen before. Initial pictures made us question whether or not this board's colour scheme was a good move, but after spending some time with it I can honestly say that this new colour scheme really grows on you, to a point where we were quickly thinking of what other components would look good with this motherboard and brainstorming custom PC ideas.
We quickly found that this motherboard is a great match for Nvidia's reference GPU cooler, with both of their silver/titanium colour schemes complimenting each other very nicely.
If the XPOWER Branding or the Titanium aesthetic didn't already tip you off this motherboard is a premium product, offering enthusiasts grade components throughout, from high quality Hi-c Capacitors, Steel Armour on this boards PCI-E ports, fully isolated memory circuitry and even twin Turbo M.2 slots, which is fairly rare for Z170 motherboards.
For those who are particularly crazy this motherboard even includes a "Game Boost" button which will overclock your CPU to 5.0GHz, which is pretty insane for an automated overclock. With our initial Skylake testing we have only been able to achieve 4.8GHz, so we expect that this setting will only keep the best Skylake CPUs stable, or will use a very high CPU voltage. Either way we would recommend that users overclock their CPUs manually in order to get the best out of their CPUs.
Moving over to the motherboards integrated controls we can see that board has power and reset switch at the bottom of the motherboard, and includes the motherboards dedicated overclocking controls on a separate daughter-board rather than on the main motherboard itself.
This change has been made to address an issue which has been reported by several competitive overclockers on MSI's previous XPOWER motherboards, where the control section of the motherboard could freeze and lose it's functionality. Moving these components to a separate board removes this small flaw and also allows overclockers to keep it further away from the motherboard with the help of an included cable, making LN2 overclocking that little bit easier.
On the Rear IO of the motherboard we can see that MSI has provided us with a large number of potential connections, with a single DisplayPort 1.2 port and dual HDMI ports to connect to your integrated Intel graphics and a total of 6 USB 3.1 ports (4x 3.1 Gen 1 and 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2).
On the rear we also have MSI's Gaming Lan port, a dedicated CMOS switch and a BIOS Flashback USB Port and MSI's Gaming audio. To finish off we also have 2 USB 2.0 ports and a PS/2 port for legacy connectivity.
When considering storage options the MSI Z170A XPOWER titanium will almost certainly have you covered, having dual Turbo M.2 slots for Ultra fast M.2 SSDs and a total of 8 SATA 3.0 ports for traditional SSDs or mechanical hard drives, though 4 of these can also be used for 2x SATA-Express connections.
The MSI Z170A XPOWER is a premium product with an equally premium feature set, MSI's chosen colour scheme may be an instant turn off for some but in person this motherboard looks phenomenal and very quickly grows on you. MSI have been very brave leaving their traditional yellow and black colour scheme behind with this motherboard, but at the same time we know that they have lost a lot of the XPOWER yellow fans in the process.
In terms of feature set this motherboard is very hard to match, offering everything that high end system builders and competitive overclockers will love from dual Turbo M.2 slots for storage, a tonne of USB 3.1 ports and a completely unique aesthetic.
We simply cannot wait to test this motherboard with our Intel Skylake CPU, with hopes that we may be able to push our CPU overclock higher than we ever have before. Will we beat 4.8GHz? Find out when we come back with our full review for MSI's Z170A XPOWER motherboard.
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