MSI Z390 MEG Ace Preview
Published: 8th October 2018 | Source: MSI | Price: |
We've barely recovered from the launch of the nVidia RTX range of graphics cards than the new Intel 9th Generation CPUs are due to appear. If you've been following the market for any length of time at all you'll understand that a new CPU always comes with a new chipset to go alongside it, and as the newest Intel CPUs are even beefier than their 8th Generation forebears the Z390 is the very thing.
As you can gather from the fact that the Z390 is similarly labelled to the Z370 that is currently supporting the Coffee Lake CPUs, this is more of an evolution of the already excellent Z370, than a full on rejig. The Z370 motherboards haven't been around all that long and in the time between that launch and this one the market hasn't seen any major new technological additions. The cynical might suggest that the Z370 was only ever intended as a stop gap product, hence its brief moment in the sun. However, the Z370 had a strong enough feature set that the Z390 should be a refinement of the current motherboards and should see a stronger commitment to those features that have proven their worth. That's the best thing about market forces, ideas which prove untenable get left by the wayside whilst those which prove useful are retained.
The primary changes to the Z390 chipset are; the addition of support for 2nd Gen USB 3.1 at a chipset level. We've seen the 10Gbps USB continue the rapid adoption rate that USB has always managed, so much so that most people forget how complicated it used to be to connect any peripheral at all. Secondly Intel have their own WiFi AC dual support. The World is swiftly going wireless, and being able to easily have all our devices centrally connected is a boon. Those of you who prefer the reliability and speed of hard wired networking still have a RJ45 connector. It's nice that Intel aren't going down the Apple "we've removed it, deal with it" idea that has plagued iPhones.
MSI Z390 MEG Ace
The MSI MEG X399 rocked our socks when it appeared, taking the place of the MSI MPOWER range topper and doing so with huge performance and an excellent feature set. A serious contender for the best of the X399 motherboards. Naturally following this success and the launch of the Z390 chipset, there was going to be a new MSI MEG model, and it comes in the form of the Ace.
Like all the new Z390 motherboards we've previewed so far the MEG comes with Intel's own support for USB 3.1 Gen2 and build in Intel Wireless AC-9560. The wireless fun and games don't stop there as the Z390 also supports the latest Bluetooth 5.0 for easy high-bandwidth connectivity. MSI have also implemented the Killer E2500 Gigabit LAN for smooth gaming and downloading.
Storage is handled by 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports, 3 M.2 sockets including Optane memory support to make sure your SATA drives fly, and if you have something external that you wish plug in then there are 8 USB 3.1 Gen2 ports with both Type-A and Type-C connectors and 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 options. No matter how much hardware you have, there is a spot for it on the MEG Ace.
Enough waffle, let's look at some pictures.