MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC Review
Ones at Intel Corporation there was a model named â€œTick-Took" which use to maintain an innovation cadence in microprocessor manufacturing and microarchitecture with new advancements every other year. But sadly this model was killed with the Kaby Lake processor and now every year we have a new processor along with a new motherboard. And today we are here with Intel's 8th generation of desktop processors Coffee Lake, a sort of solution to stop mainstream users from going to Ryzen side, as AMD Ryzen is offering more core at same price than Intel 7th gen Quad Core i7. So now we have Core i7-8700K with 6-cores/12-threads clocked at 3.7GHz, with a 4.3GHz boost, a 6-cores i5-8600K and more.
The Coffee Lake CPU have same LGA 1151 package as earlier Kaby Lake processors, but are not backward compatible with the Z270 motherboards, you need a new Z370 chipset based motherboard for these generation of processors. According to Intel â€˜s 8th Gen core products datasheet there are mini changes in placement of few pin-outs than the 7th gen products, making Coffee Lake un- compatible with older Z170 or Z270 chipset.
Now today we are reviewing our first Coffee Lake processor. Like to thanks MSI for providing MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard along with Intel i5 8600K for reviewing. Based on the new Z370 Chipset the MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard is a feature packed products offering all the latest technology support for gamers and enthusiast.
Now let's see what this new INTEL Z370 chipset based MSI gaming board have for us.
Supports 8th Gen Intel® CoreTM / Pentium® Celeron® processors for LGA 1151 socket
Supports DDR4 Memory, up to 4000+(OC) MHz
MYSTIC LIGHT: 16.8 million colors / 17 effects controlled in one click. MYSTIC LIGHT EXTENSION supports both RGB and RAINBOW LED strip.
Lightning Fast Game experience: 2x TURBO M.2, Intel Optane Memory Ready. M.2 Shield, LIGHTNING USB 3.1 GEN2
AUDIO BOOST 4 with NAHIMIC 2+: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality for the most immersive gaming experience
DDR4 Boost: Fully isolated, shielded and optimized DDR4 PCB design to give your DDR4 memory a performance boost.
GAMING LAN and Wireless support, powered by Intel®: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency and bandwidth management.
MULTI-GPU: With STEEL ARMOR PCI-E slots. Supports 2-Way NVIDIA SLI™ & 3-Way AMD Crossfire™
VR Ready: Best virtual reality game experience without latency, reduces motion sickness.
Military Class 5, Guard-Pro: Latest evolution with high quality Japanese components for best protection and efficiency.
In-Game Weapons: Game Boost, GAMING Hotkey, X-Boost, WTFast.
EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot.
Click BIOS 5: Award-winning BIOS with high resolution scalable font, favorites and search function.
GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game and motherboard testing by eSports players.
Looking at the front of the box, we see MSI logo with motherboard model no. in big at center of the box. 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 on a black PCB with white line graphics over the PCB and heatsink, giving whole board a great appearance and wild look. I like new heatsink cover and carbon fiber use very attractive..
Detailed layout of board.
1. Intel LGA1151 socket, supporting New Intel's 8th gen processors.
2. 4 DIMM Dual channel DDR4 memory slots with full Steel Armor supporting max. 64GB at 2133MHz in normal and up to 4000MHz when OC.
3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR) along with EZ Debug LED
4. ATX CPU Power Connector (8-pin ATX12V).
5. Back Panel Connectors : 1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse combo port, 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A ports, 1 x DisplayPort port, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, 1 x HDMIâ„¢ port, 1 x LAN (RJ45) port, 5 x OFC audio jacks, 1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
6. 7. 14.CPU fan connector, Water-pump-fan connector and 4 x system fan connectors
8. Two front USB 3 Port.
9. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
10. System Front panel Connector
11. 2 x USB 2.0 Connectors
12. 14. RGB LED strip extension cable headers
13. TPM Header
15. Front panel Audio connector
16. 17. Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 connector
18. Expansion Slots : 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16/x0/x4, x8/x8/x4 modes), 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
MSI used dense aluminum heatsink in this board. Heatsinks base is having thermal pad installed. VRM heatsink are secured in place using screws and spacers.
Let's now see what all components MSI have planned for this board.
1. 2. 8 + 2stage CPU voltage regulator circuit uses pair of ON Semiconductor 4C024 and 4C029 MOSFETS with combined rating of 60A controlled by UPI Semiconductor uP9508 PWM Controller.
3. Single-Phase digital memory power supply section for DDR4 memories
4. 5. ASMedia ASM3142 is PCIe-to-two-port USB 3.1 controllers and Pair of ASMedia ASM1543 single chip solution, bridging the USB3.1 to Serial ATA host interface with highly integrated SuperSpeed USB3.0 interface.
6. Intel Gigabit LAN solution.
7. The nuvoTon NCT 6795D chip provides the super I/O functions, such as fan control and system monitoring
8. MSI equipped this board with Audio boost 4 audio solution with ALC 1220 120dB SNR HD Audio codec at the heart.
ALC 1220 120dB SNR HD Audio - The ALC1220 is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec with up to 120dB SNR for crystal clear audio along with premium quality CHEMI-CON audio capacitors for a warmer sound and OP1652 op-amp as buffer.
A semi-transparent line on motherboard separates the whole audio section from the rest of the board in order to minimize interference. 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 U7 External 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 U7
RMAA MSI Audio
9. INTEL Z370 Chipset.
10. MSI uses MXIC MX 2SL12873F a capacity of 128 Mb for storing UEFI BIOS.
11. Microcontroller used for RBG LED control function.
|CPU|| Intel i5-8600K |
|Board|| MSI Z370 GAMING PRO Carbon AC|
|RAM||2 X 8GB Corsair DDR4 |
|Cooler||Thermaltake Water 3.0 AIO|
|GFX||Strix GTX 950|
|PSU||Thermaltake 850W RGB|
|Display||Acer S220HQL |
|OS|| Windows 10 |
Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.
- Great Looks
- Lot of bundled Software
- Good Audio
- Solid build quality
- Lot of RGB headers
With Coffee Lake processors Intel is now offering mainstream users with 6 cores CPUs. But for this 6 cores pleasure one have to spend extra for a new Z370 chipset motherboard. As per performance our i5-8600k sample at stock settings performed little less than the older I7-7700K at stock in almost every benchmark, but when overclocked up to 4.8Ghz this i5 outperformed the i7-7700K CPU.
The MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard gave a solid performance and was super stable while overclocking the i5 8600K CPU up to 4.8GHz.. we also manage to push the CPU up to 5GHz, but as we all know, we were limited by the thermal interface compound used by Intel these days. If I get the chance I will try to delid the CPU and update more results.
In the conclusion I like to say that the MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC delivers solid and consistent performance throughout our testing. Board gives great competition to other high end Z370 boards and is worthy of our PC TeK Reviews EXCELLENCE Award.