MSI Z270 GAMING M7 review

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The MSI motherboard follows a standard ATX form factor (30.4 x 24.3cm). The motherboard is located in the GAMING high-end range of the Skylake and Kaby Lake desktop processor product stack. 


With the Z270 Gaming Z7, MSI outs a high-end class product, it has plenty enough features to keep you busy for a while. New is a nice M.2 shield, you can actually install three M.2 units. The Z270 chipset offers 24 PCIe Gen 3 lanes for all your external and internal storage needs. The Processor has it's own 16 PCIe Gen 3 lanes available for your graphics solution. The board has been fitted with nice and extensive Mystic LED RGB activity available, all was kept subtle and can be configured on/off/animated and RGB colored. Check it our, awesome looks and lots of metal shielding pop out as well (PCIe slots and DIMM slots).


Included with the motherboard are the regulars including; manuals, driver CDs, SATA cables and a rear I/O plate. It also has a couple of new features which we'll talk about in-depth in this review. 


  • CPU support: Skylake / Kaby Lake class Intel Core processors
  • Chipset: Intel Z270 Chipset
  • 1x Gigabit: Killer E2500
  • Storage: 
    • 3 x M.2 Socket connectors (Optane supported)
    • 1x U2
    • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors 
  • Connectivity: 
    • 3x PCI-E 3.0 x16  (single at x16 / dual at x8 / triple at x8 - x8 - x4)
    • 3x PCI-E 3.0 x1
  • USB 3.0 / 3.1 (various combinations)
  • 8-channel ALC 1220 Realtek chip
Some notes for several storage combinations:
  • M.2 and SATA ports maximum support 2x M.2 PCIe SSDs + 6x SATA HDDs. 
  • The M2_3, U2_1 and SATA5~6 share the same bandwidth.
  • Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 for SATA storage devices
  • Supports RAID mode for M.2 PCIe storage devices*
  • M.2 PCIe RAID volume can be created with M.2 GENIE. 
The I/O back panel reveals 3.1/3.0/2.0 ports. The audio unit has special noise reducing capacitors and shielding on top of that Realtek chip. You will spot one 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet jack. Included is a PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port, optical S/PDIF out port and five gold plated audio jacks. If you plan to use the integrated IGP of the processor, you can make use of one HDMI or DisplayPort connector. The rear connectivity back-panel is loaded full, nice.


Included in the bundle is one interesting looking motherboard and gear like SATA cables, extra connectors and so on. What this motherboard misses however is WIFI, a bit of a miss if you ask me.

Let's break down USB connectivity:

ASMedia ASM2142 Chipset

  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) Type-C ports (1 port on the back panel, 1 port available through the internal USB connector)
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) Type-A port on the back panel

Intel® Z270 Chipset

  • 6 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (SuperSpeed USB) ports (2 Type-A ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB conne




The board has 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots which can be arranged in these slot configurations with graphics cards:

  • 1-way mode - x16 / x0 / x0 
  • 2-way mode - x8 / x8 / x0
  • 3-way mode - x8 / x8 / x4

As you can see, these are PCI Express Gen 3.0 configurations, that's plenty for regular graphics card setups up-to 2-way SLI/Crossfire. The motherboard comes with one 8-pin power connector. You'll get four DIMM slots that can be used for up-to 64GB of dual-channel memory up-to even 4133 MHz supported in OC mode. We'll test 3867 MHz as we use a new Trident Z kit from G.Skill which we'll feature in detail in this review.

Back Panel I/O Ports

  • 1 x PS/2 mouse & keyboard combo port
  • 3 x USB 2.0 Type-A ports
  • 1 x Clear CMOS button
  • 1 x DisplayPort
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
  • 5 x OFC audio jacks

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