MSI Z270 GAMING PRO CARBON LGA1151 Motherboard Review
John Williamson / 2 weeks ago
MSI has been manufacturing some of the most creative motherboard designs in recent memory as illustrated by the stunning Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM. Instead of relying upon the popular red and black aesthetic, MSI broke the mould and released something iconic which reinvigorated the motherboard market. Additionally, they devised the CARBON series which employs a neutral aesthetic and should appeal to a wider audience. This spawned an influx of motherboards opting for a similar theme and allowing the colour scheme to be customised via RGB lighting. Some time ago, I reviewed the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON and commended its gorgeous appearance, competitive price and excellent circuitry. Honestly, it’s the first product which comes to mind when people ask which Z170 motherboard to invest in.
Of course, Intel’s Kaby Lake is finally upon us and introduces the new Z270 Express chipset. While this isn’t a huge departure from the previous offering, it allows motherboard vendors to forge a plethora of intriguing designs. Given my admiration for the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON, it seemed the correct move to review its successor for today’s launch. The Z270 GAMING PRO CARBON supports the spectacular Mystic Light technology which can transform the motherboard’s appearance. Not only that, the product has a 12V pin header to attach an RGB strip, 6 fully controllable PWM/DC fan headers and USB 3.1 connectivity. There’s also an M.2 shield which reduces thermal throttling on NVMe devices and Audio Boost 4 with an isolated RGB circuit path. Unfortunately, the motherboard doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3, but this is to be expected given the affordable price point. Overall, the Z270 GAMING PRO CARBON looks promising and I’m expecting it to live up to the legacy of the previous model.
Packaging and Accessories
The motherboard is contained in a really bright and colourful box which outlines its RGB functionality. Furthermore, the carbon fibre finish on the hypercar captures your attention and is a good way of illustrating the motherboard’s style.
On the rear section, there’s a synopsis of the motherboard’s features including Mystic Light, Military Class 5 components, Steel Armor and more. The information is presented in a slick manner via high-quality diagrams and a bolt, clear font.
In terms of accessories, the motherboard is bundled with an I/O shield, quick installation guide, thank you note, cable labels, two SATA cables, 1 to 2 RGB extension Y-Cable, drivers/utilities disk, user’s guide and SLI bridge.