MSI Z97A Gaming 6 LGA 1150 Motherboard Review
Rikki Wright / 4 years ago
A Closer Look & Layout Analysis
Looking at the motherboard, it is very plain and simple with key detailing. Maybe cutting back on pointless cowling and styling has enabled this motherboard to be a more competitively priced option.For I/O options, we have a PS/2 port and 2x USB 2.0 ports for your keyboard and mouse. VGA, DVI, HDMI and optical ports round-up the visual outputs. We are starting to see USB Type-C connectors are becoming a normal fixture on mainstream motherboards, however, compatible hardware is still scarce. Next we have the Killer ethernet port and 2x USB 3.0 and finally 6x audio jacks. This motherboard supports multi-display functions through the use of HDMI + VGA + DVI in both extend and clone modes.
Down the I/O side of the board, we see the Audio Boost technology that MSi use to deliver crisp sound with a small switch for different profiles.
Along the bottom of the board, we see the usual array of headers, from USB, front panel audio, front panel buttons and fans. In the middle, we have a peculiar placed DEBUG LED without any surround buttons.
Working our way back up the other side of the motherboard, we see a small number of SATA ports and USB 3.0 headers. Despite the low volume of SATA ports, this is a gamers motherboard, who tend to use fewer SATA drives in general.
Just up from there we see the 24 pin power connector and voltage monitoring for use with a multimeter. This is something you don’t usually see on a mainstream motherboard. One thing I do like about this, is the use of open-ended RAM slots. Personally I find pushing one side in at an angle a difficult task, especially when the motherboard starts to bend under the pressure.
Straight in the center of the motherboard, we see the CPU socket and M.2 slot.
I like the key detailing on the ends of the heat sinks. The red ridges along the heat sinks almost can be perceived as dragon wings or talons.