MSI MEG Z490 ACE Motherboard Review
Peter Donnell / 5 days ago
A Closer Look
From the moment you take it out of the box, the MEG makes a huge impression. There’s no shortage of stunning looking motherboards for this launch, but this is easily one of my favourites. The gold trim does limit your matching colour scheme, but they haven’t overdone it and it looks more classy than trashy. Well, at least in my opinion.
As I said before, it’s function before form. Those heatsinks look great, but they’re large enough to really get the job done too. Under them, you’ll find an impressive 16+1 phases using dual power connectors and their Mirrored Power Arrangement design from the Intersil Digital PWM with ISL69269. That all runs through that large bank of 16 x Titanium Choke III’s.
The CPU can draw from the single 8-pin header, but for added stability and overclocking, you will want to use both.
The motherboard has been generously armoured too. It offers up a large heatsink for the chipset, but that also extends between the PCIe lanes to form three M.2 Shield Frozr coolers for your storage devices.
Below all that, you’ll also find the motherboard comes with built-in power controls, as well as a BIOS debug LED.
There are three full-size PCIe lanes, as well as a pair of 1x lanes. I love that all three full-size are armoured, as so many brands only armour one or two of them. This is great news for those mounting three heavy GPUs in a rendering or even a gaming rig. Off to the left, you’ll find the Audio Boost HD hardware and the gold-plated capacitors for that blend in well with the overall aesthetic of the motherboard.
Furthermore, you get more storage over here, with six SATA ports for your SSDs/HDDs. Of course, the board is littered with USB 2, 3, and 3.1 headers too.
That’s especially true here, as you’ll find eight USB ports, which includings a Type-C port. There’s even a PS2 header if you want to kick-it old-school. Networking comes in three flavours, with 1GbE, 2.5GbE and WiFi 6, although there’s nothing stopping you mixing them all together. Finally, you’ll find gold-plated connectors on the audio jacks, and there’s an SPDIF-OUT included too.