MSI Z270 GAMING Pro Carbon 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 PRO high-end range of the Skylake and Kaby Lake desktop processor product stack. 


With the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon, MSI outs a more budget friendly product, yet with enough features to keep you satisfied. New is a nice M.2 shield, you can actually install two M.2 units. There is Mystic LED RGB activity available, but all was kept subtle mostly at the backside of the motherboard though. Next to that, great looks and lots of metal shielding pop out.


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: Ethernet Intel Gbe I219-V
  • Storage: 
    • 2 x M.2 Socket connectors (Optane supported)
    • 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 
  • 8-channel ALC 1220 Realtek chip

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 SDVI-D connector, DisplayPort is missing. 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.




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 3800 MHz supported in OC mode. We'll actually test 3867 MHz(!) as we use a new 3866 MHz Trident Z kit from G.Skill which we'll feature in detail in this review.


Back Panel I/O Ports

  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x DVI-D
  • 1 x USB Type C with 3.1 Gen 2 support
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red)
  • multiple USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 1 x RJ-45 ports
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out, Headphone)

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