MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC Review – Packaging and Bundle
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MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC Review – The Board
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MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC Review – Software and BIOS
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MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC Review – Performance
i7-6700K, Z170i-Gaming Pro AC/Z170A GM7, 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)
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)
MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC Review – Conclusion
When we accepted the Z170I Gaming Pro AC for review we wondered what MSI would have to do as far as compromises to get Z170 running on mini-ITX. Surely there would be some significant compromises when compared to their standard boards… in reality there are surprisingly few. Obvious changes are of course fewer PCIe slots and fewer drive connectors but that said, squeezing 4 SATA and M.2 onto this board is quite an achievement… and thats before we consider the presence of SATA-Express! The only minor niggle on the drive front is that the full length M.2 cards are not officially supported but having said that, give it a shot… you may be able to work something out…
Looking around the board we have all the great features we expect from MSI such as solid capacitors, high quality chokes, dedicated quality audio hardware, protection circuitry and the like. They have even managed to retain the debug LEDs, enhance the memory circuitry and build in Wireless-ac along with Bluetooth 4.2.
As far as software and BIOS go, again very much the same experience as a full size desktop board and added to that we get performance to match too. The Z170I Gaming Pro AC was always within 1-2% of the larger form factor. Essentially the margin of error from test to test.
Summary: The MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC is an excellent mini-ITX motherboard. Great build quality. A surprising amount of features and competitive performance. Consumers will be able to make some awesome compact systems if pairing this board with the likes of AMDs R9 Nano.