MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition Revealed
Samuel Wan / 5 years ago
Despite potential CPU supply issues for Skylake, motherboards shouldn’t be in short supply at launch. We’ve already seen MSI’s Gaming M series and now we’re getting a look at the top of the line XPOWER series. This new motherboard, the Z170A XPOWER GAMING Titanium Edition is focused primarily at the overclockers and extreme performance fanatics. The Titanium branding comes from the use of Titanium chokes, which produce better overclocking, longer lifespan and higher efficiency. The board is primarily silver with touches of black such as some of the capacitors and slots. At the present moment, we still do not know if this will be the only XPOWER variant, or if the traditional yellow and black board will make an appearance in this series.
True to the Titanium branding, the board features a silver coloured PCB, which can easily be mistaken for white/ grey at a first glance, but it is definitely silver. Titanium chokes are featured along with a 16 phase VRM, which MSI claims to offer better overclocking, efficiency and lifespan. This paired with the now standard Military Class V features and a substantial VRM heatsink. With the removal of the FIVR with Skylake, the motherboard regains its previous importance in overclocking. For power, the standard 8 pin connector is used along with an extra 4 pin which is not really needed except for the most extreme of overclocks.
Moving on, other overclocking features include a dedicated OC Dashboard. This hosts a number of overclocking oriented features with buttons to control BCLK and CPU multiplier. Power, reset and a Go2BIOS buttons are also on the removable PCB board. The new Slow mode that allows for BIOS recovery without clearing the CMOS as well as a complete discharge button to clear out all motherboard settings. A BIOS error code readout along with a dual BIOS switch and voltage checking points are also present. This was extremely prevalent when talking to pro overclockers who required utmost stability when using super cooled solutions such as liquid nitrogen.
For audio, the board features Audio Boost 3 which includes shielding and an isolated PCB section. Expansion slots feature 2 PCIE x16, 2 PCIE x8, and 3 PCIE x1 slots. Whether or not all the x8 lanes are connected to the CPU directly or use the extra 20 lanes from the new Z170 chipset remains to be seen. A 6 pin power connectors adds more power if all the expansion slots are populated. A USB 2.0 port is positioned on the front edge while 8 USB3 are on the back panel. Storage is fed by 2 M.2, 2 SATA Express and 8 SATA III connectors.
In all, MSI looks to have a solid competitor against the various Z170 motherboards like the ASUS ROG, Gigabyte SOC Force, ASRock Extreme 7, and BIOSTAR Gaming Z170X4. With its black and white theme, MSI’s Krait boards will continue to stand out from the crowd, especially for those looking to do a black and white build. Hopefully, the Skylake shortage won’t mean these boards are left CPU-less at launch.