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MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review (i7-6700k)

MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review (i7-6700k)

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MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review – Performance

i7-6700K, Z170, 2x8GB DDR4-2666 (Corsair)
i7-4790K, Z97, 2x8GB DDR3-2666 (Corsair)
i7-5960X, X99, 4x8GB DDR4-2800 (Corsair)
FX-9590, 990FX, 4x8Gb DDR3-2133 (Corsair)

All with:
Windows 10
GTX 980 Ti OC
Corsair H100 Series Cooler
Corsair AX1500i PSU
Samsung 850 Pro SSD (SATA Testing)
Plextor M6e (M.2 Testing)
OCZ Revodrive 350 (PCIe Testing)
And Samsung T1 SSD (USB Testing)

On a Dimastech EasyXL Test Bench with the BenQ BL3201 4k Display

benq-bl3201pt-review-screen

msi-z170a-gaming-m7-review-cinebench

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MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review – Conclusion

Lets start with a few words on our other components… first up Corsairs Vengeance LPX. Overall there were no surprises from the Corsair modules. We’ve been using their quad channel kit on X99 for some time now without issue and our experience was the same here. Plug them in, select the 2666Mhz profile in the BIOS (which activates a MSI LED on the board) and we are good to go. Performance was exactly where we would expect it to be for this specification of module and as far as overclocking goes, we hit 3000 MHz at 1.35v with stock timings which was pretty great. For more info on Vengeance LPX you can read our original review here.

Moving on to the new i7-6700k CPU we have a processor which does exactly what it sets out to do for Intel. It gets their mainstream processors onto a 14nm process and brings features in line with the higher end models (e.g. support for DDR4). Consumers also get the benefit of enhanced integrated GPU performance which allows gaming in key titles such as DOTA2 at 1080 resolution and high detail and overclocking has been improved. Gone are the straps of the Haswell generation, with Skylake we are back to per MHz increases which gives us much finer control over our overclocking and on liquid cooling we were able to hit 5.1GHz with full stability during our limited initial tests. Having said all that, for those just looking to drop a CPU into a system and use it at stock, there is little change in CPU  based experience over the likes of the i7-4970k.

And so to the Z170A Gaming M7… with this board we get pretty much everything the average enthusiast needs. High end components, all the key features (full support for all new CPUs, high spec memory, SLI, etc) and added to that MSI have provided advanced LAN, Audio and software solutions. There are some nice touches too, such as dual USB 3.1 ports, ideal for those looking to attach high speed external storage, and there are plenty of internal drive options too. Those storage options include the presence of SATA Express ports that 99.9% of people will never use…but the presence of 6x SATA, 2x M.2 and support for the optional U.2 adapter (and support of NVME) means pretty much everyone gets what they need.

MSI add value to the product through the inclusion of the XSplit licence and a decent warranty. Further value is added through their easy overclocking options which allow us to use profiles in both the BIOS and Windows with just the press of a button, or click of a mouse. Manual overclocking on this board was also very simple and as noted above, in our limited time with these components so far we were able to hit over 3000 MHz with stock timings on the 2666 MHz memory and 5.1GHz on the CPU. All very promising.

Performance Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

3 Comments

  1. IvanV

    As a tech lover, I am underwhelmed by the new CPU. As someone who bought a 4790K last December, I’m pretty pleased with myself.

    • DEVILTAZ35 .

      Things will change, this is only the first wave and the DDR4 is a good change. Many boards still offer DDR3 as well so you don’t have the expense of new Ram straight away.

  2. DEVILTAZ35 .

    Why do they keep saying 4970k isn’t it 4790k ? You would think if you are going to compare something you would ensure you got the name right.

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