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MSI Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition Review

MSI Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition Review

When a new chipset/platform is launched we always see a nice varied set of motherboards based around them but it can take time for manufacturers to get their premium products out to market. In the case of the Z170 platform it wasn’t as much as a  delay as normal and so the choice of boards has been massive from the first few weeks onward.  From that selection there has been one board that we have been waiting a while to take a look at, simply through scheduling, so it’s great that things have now aligned and we can find out if todays review product can live up to the excellent list of specifications and features from MSI. Welcome to our MSI Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition Review.

MSI Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition Review – Packaging and Bundle

msi-z170a-xpower-gaming-titanium-edition-review-box msi-z170a-xpower-gaming-titanium-edition-review-bundle

MSI go with a metallic effect box design for this particular motherboard, giving us plenty of specification information on the back. Inside we find a bunch of product documentation, software disc, USB cable, i/o shield, SLI bridge, wiring and CPU installation tool.

MSI Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition Review – The Motherboard

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The Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition is certainly a board which stands out. Gone is the standard black PCB, replaced by silver though it still is an ATX board. With this being a  Z170 based motherboard it uses socket 1151 and supports all of the recent Skylake CPUs from Intel. In terms of features specific to MSI we have DDR4 Boost, a combination of isolated memory circuitry optimised traces and now added LEDs to identify XMP modules. LAN controller optimized for gaming/high TCP and UDP along with added anti-surge protection.

Elesewhere build quality has been enhanced with enhanced Mosfets, titanium chokes, high quality capacitors and various protections. These include over voltage protection, humidity protection, temperature protection and ESD protection. A specialised clock generator ( OC Engine 2) which enhanced overclocking potential (low jitter and power consumption, enhanced stability) is also present as are strengthened PCIe slots .

Looking around the board we also get multi-BIOS, go-to BIOS switch, debug LED and the ability to disable PCIe slots via a set of switches.


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Down at the bottom left of the board we find the audio area of the board. Surrounded by LED lighting we have dedicated audio capacitors and a Realtek ALC1150 7.1 controller (Nahimic Sound enhancement software), EMI-Shielding, Chemi-Con audio capacitors, dual headphone amp’s (600 Ohm) one of which is fed through the front panel connector. Next to these are the PCIe slots which start with PCIe 3.0 16x before running through 1x, 4x, 1x, 8x, 1x and 4x (SLI and Crossfire supported). Also worthy of note is that between these we find two M.2 slots (Gen3 x4) capable of holding storage up to the 8cm form factor. Flipping the board round we find eight SATA 3.0 ports (supporting all major RAID modes and mixing Intel with ASMedia1061) and two SATA Express ports (NVMe is supported by the board). A USB 3.1 Gen 1 header sits to the side of these and at the other side are our motherboard buttons, one of which is Game Boost (a quick overclocking dial).

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Further up the board we find an internal USB port and our four DDR4 slots. Speeds in excess of 4000Mhz are supported as are capacities of up to 64GB with the memory split over two channels. The board uses a standard 24pin power cable (along with 8pin, 4pin and 6pin) but the area next to that is far less normal. Here we have multi-meter reading points and connector into which we can install a small PCB which is provided with the board. This small PCB is designed to make on the fly overclocking as simple as possible (slow mode, fast boot, discharge, BCLK changes, Multiplier changes).


Round at the back of the board we find the main connectors. Some of these are gold plated and we start with PS/2 which sits above two USB 2.0. Next to that is a clear CMOS button before another USB 2.0. Two USB 3.1 gen 1 ports are next above a HDMI then we have DisplayPort and another HDMI before the red LED lit Intel I219-V GB LAN. Two USB 3.1 (Gen 1) ports are our next connectors before we end at 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2, optical and 3.5mm audio connectors. The USB ports allow fast charging and the board has added signal enhancements (USB Redrivers) to maximise USB stability and performance.

MSI Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition Review – BIOS

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MSI have been using Click BIOS for a while now and currently we are on version 5. When first opened it displays a nice simple summary screen with quick access to key settings. We can for example dip into the fan/monitoring page in just a click. Going into the advanced mode opens up many more configuration options, including overclocking settings and the ability to launch our BIOS flashing tool (flash from USB). BIOS flashback (without the need for CPU, memory or VGA makes an appearance too. Profiles are supported and we get a nice board browser which is always a bonus. For those who will be running the board in Windows MSI also provide tools which allow us to monitor and overclock our board as well as add Macro’s, enable 1-key overclocking and manage our network configuration…and there is a copy of Xsplit Gamecaster and Broadcaster and RAMDisk software!

MSI Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition Review – Performance

Test systems:
i7-6700K, Z170/H170/B150, 2x8GB DDR4-2666 (Corsair)
i7-4790K, Z97, 2x8GB DDR3-2666 (Corsair)

All with:
Windows 10
GTX 980 Ti OC
Corsair H100 Series Cooler
Corsair AX1500i PSU
Samsung 850 Pro SSD (SATA Testing)
And Samsung T1 SSD (USB Testing)

On a Dimastech EasyXL Test Bench


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MSI Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition Review – Conclusion

We’ve seen a few MSI motherboards recently and even when dipping down into their lower cost boards such as the B150 based Mortar product they were still managing to deliver a solid board with decent features and performance. So when they let loose with a board like the Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition (someone have a word with the marketing department!), we expect a lot. Thankfully they have delivered and then some. The board is absolutely packed with features from the extreme edge of the spectrum (LN2 support and the OC Dashboard), down through enhanced build quality (high quality components, strengthened PCIe’s and the link) before catering for the average user who just wants the best (Intel Gaming LAN, enhanced audio components). The board also looks great with it’s silver design which would really look awesome in a LED lit case with liquid cooling.

We’ve racked our brains on the design and features front and really there isn’t anything we would change about the design and features of the board. Some might like Killer NIC instead of Intel and others maybe an alternate audio controller but that is being really picky. It would be nice if the OC Dashboard screwed in to the main PCB in some way to keep it secure but that really is getting super picky.

Looking at the performance side of things, the Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition provided class leading performance across the board. It shares the same limitations as other Z170 based products when compared to X99 products but against the competition, flawless. USB 3.1 Gen 2, M.2 over PCIe, excellent overclocking potential.  Quite simply this is the best Z170 based board we have tested…we wouldn’t change a thing really and therefore it wins our Diamond award.



Review Date
Reviewed Item
MSI Z170A Xpower Gaming Titanium Edition
Author Rating

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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