MSI H170 Gaming M3 Motherboard Review
Motherboards based on Intel Z170 chipset is more an enthusiast focused product with incredibly fast DDR4 memory support and high frequency Overclocking on K-series Skylake CPUs. Whereas H170 chipset based boards are more towards budget users who are happy with DDR4 memory support up to 2133MHz and 16 PCIe lanes 3.0 lanes compared to 20 lanes on Z170 chipset.
Today we are review, the MSI H170 Gaming M3 motherboard. MSI solution oriented to medium-level budget gamers, a gaming features packed full ATX board supporting new Skylake processors , DDR-4 RAMs up to 2133MHz, Audio Boost 3 audio, Killer NIC E2400 LAN and offer dual graphics card support via Crossfire. All that for Rs. 11K, nice price for a feature packed product.
Now let's see what this MSI H170 chipset gaming board have for us.
Looking at the front of the box, we see MSI logo with motherboard model no. At the rear of the box, we find that MSI goes into great detail on the specifications of the motherboard.
Inside the box
Board is a solid build in the great looking black and red colour theme..
- Supports 6th Gen IntelÂ® Coreâ„¢ / PentiumÂ® / CeleronÂ® processors for LGA 1151 socket
- Supports DDR4-2133 Memory. Supports ECC, un-buffered memory
- DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
- Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 ready + SATA 6Gb/s
- GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Killerâ„¢: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency
- Audio Boost 3: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality
- Nahimic Audio Enhancer: Immersive sound quality that pushes the limits of reality
- GAMING Hotkey: Launch your favorite games with a single button
- OBS Streaming software: Share your gaming achievements with the world!
- SteelSeries Certified: Optimized for SteelSeries gaming gear
- Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes
- MULTI-GPU with VGA Armor: VGA Armor PCI-E slots. Supports AMD Crossfireâ„¢
- Click BIOS 5: Award-winning brand new Click BIOS 5 with high resolution scalable font
- GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game testing by eSports players for the best gaming experience
Detailed layout of board.
1. Intel LGA 1151 socket, supporting current 6th generation CPU.
2. 4 DIMM Dual channel DDR4 memory slots supporting max. 64GB at 2133MHz.
3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR)
4. ATX CPU Power Connector (8-pin ATX12V).
5. Back Panel Connectors
6. 7. 13. 19. 1 x CPU Fan, 1 x CPU OPT Fan and 3 x System Fan Connectors
8. Two front USB 3 or USB 3.1 GEN1 Port. (USB 3 and USB 3.1 GEN1 are the same, don't confuse it with USB 3.1)
9. 1 x SATA Express connectors, 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
10. Front panel connector and Slow Mode button
11. 2 x USB 2.0 Connectors and TPM Connector
12. LPT connector
14. COM port
15. Front panel Audio connector.
16. PCIe Gen3 x 4 M.2 connector
17. ThunderBolt Header
18. Expansion Slots.
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 slots, 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots and 3 x PCI slots
MSI used dense aluminum heatsink in this board. Heatsinks base is having thermal pad installed.
Let's now see what all components MSI have planned for this board.
1. 2. CPU voltage regulator circuit has Nikos PK632BA and Nikos PK616BA as the high and low side MOSFETs controlled by Intersil ISL95856 Hybrid Digital PWM Controller.
3. 2-Phase digital memory power supply.
4. NXP Semiconductors PTN3360D HDMI / DVI level shifter chip.
5. Killer Gigabit Ethernet Controller, Killer E2400.
6. Intel H107 Express Chipset.
7. MSI uses Winbond 25Q128FVSQ a capacity of 128 Mb for storing UEFI BIOS.
8. NUVOTON NCT6793D â€“ Super I/O Chipset.
9.ASMEDIA ASM1083 PCIe to PCI Bridge chip for PCI slots
10. MSI Audio Boost 3 Audio and Nahimic Sound technology is powered by Realtek ALC1150 chip which is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec that delivers an exceptional audio listening experience with up to 115dB SNR, ensuring users get the best possible audio quality from their PC.
The ALC1150 provides ten DAC channels that simultaneously support 7.1-channel sound playback, plus 2 channels of independent stereo sound output (multiple streaming) through the front panel stereo outputs. Two stereo ADCs are integrated and can support a microphone array with Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), Beam Forming (BF), and Noise Suppression (NS) technologies. The ALC1150 incorporates Realtek proprietary converter technology to achieve Front differential output 115dB Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) playback (DAC) quality and 104dB SNR recording (ADC) quality.
A semi-transparent line on motherboard separates the whole audio section from the rest of the board in order to minimize interference. In addition MSI used two OPA1652 Op-amp one for front panel headphone amplification and second for back front audio output. So listening under Stereo mode produces high audio quality with excellent dynamic range.
RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing MSI High Definition audio against Asus Xonar DX Sound card. You can see clearly the difference between Noise level, dynamic rang and Total harmonic distortion percentage produced by MSI High Definition audio.
RMAA Asus Xonar DX
RMAA Audio Boost 3 Audio
|CPU||Intel Core i5 6600K |
|Board|| MSI H170-Gaming M3 |
|RAM||2 X 4GB HyperX Predator DDR4 3000Mhz|
|SSD||Kingston SV300 120GB|
|Cooler||Corsair H100i GTX |
|GFX||ZOTAC GTX980 Ti|
|Display||Acer S220HQL |
|OS||Win 8.1 Pro / Windows 10 |
Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.
- Excellent bundled Software
- Multi GFX support
- Good audio
- Killer LAN
- Nice Price
- Low power consumption when Idle
MSI H170 GAMING M3 is an excellent entry level motherboard offering lot of features (like lot of fan headers, PCI Slot, LPT / COM port, M.2 ports and lot of USB 3.0 ports) satisfying both gamers and well as general users. Considering the price tag of Rs.11k approx, MSI H170 GAMING M3 motherboard also offers great aesthetics with lot of gaming oriented features Killer LAN, MSI Audio Boost 3 Audio with Nahimic Sound technology and Multi GFX support.
At the conclusion I found MSI H170 GAMING M3 is a great value package motherboard for both gamers and well as general users who are not in mush of overclocking business and is worthy of our PC TeK REVIEWS VALUE Award.