MSI Z390 TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review

Supporting the Intel's latest 9th and 8th generation processors for LGA 1151 socket, today we are reviewing MSI MAG Z390 TOMAHAWK motherboard based on new Intel Z390 chipset. MSI MAG Z390 TOMAHAWK is a full ATX motherboard Inspired by the military concept with pre-installed IO shielding, extended big heatsink design and M.2 Shield Frozr for better thermal solution, plus dual Intel LAN, Intel CNVi ready, Core Boost, DDR4 Boost, Core Boost, Twin Turbo M.2 and USB 3.1 Gen2 connector.

Now let's see what this MSI Z390 chipset gaming board have for us.


  • Supports 9th / 8th Gen Intel® Core™ / Pentium® Gold / Celeron® processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports DDR4 Memory, up to 4400(OC) MHz
  • Integrated I/O design: Pre-installed I/O Shielding for convenient installation. Extended Heatsink Design ensures even high-end processors to run in full speed.
  • Premium Network Connection: Dual Intel LAN for both intranet and internet, Intel CNVi Ready  
  • Lightning Fast Game experience: 2x TURBO M.2, Intel Optane Memory Ready. M.2 Shield Frozr, Intel Turbo USB 3.1 GEN2
  • Set Core Power Free: Core Boost, 8+4 pin CPU power connector, DDR4 Boost
  • MYSTIC LIGHT: 16.8 million colors / 29 effects controlled in one click. MYSTIC LIGHT EXTENSION supports both RGB and RAINBOW LED strip.



Board comes packed in big gray coloured box securely. 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

Beside motherboard, box includes a user manual booklet, a DVD driver disc, quick installation guide, a product registration card and two SATA cables (one straight and one angled).


Board is a solid build in the great looking black PCB with gray-striped running across with slight tint of white. Board features big heatsinks over VRM and bottom M.2 slot


Detailed layout of board.

1. LGA 1151 socket supporting Intel 9th and 8th generation processors.

2. 4 DIMM Dual channel DDR4 memory slots supporting max. 64GB at DDR4 4400(OC)/ 4300(OC)/ 4266(OC)/ 4200(OC)/ 4133(OC)/ 4000(OC)/ 3866(OC)/ 3733(OC)/ 3600(OC)/ 3466(OC)/ 3400(OC)/ 3333(OC)/ 3300(OC)/ 3200(OC)/ 3000(OC) / 2800(OC)/ 2666/ 2400/ 2133 MHz*

3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR)

4. 8-pin ATX 12V power connector and 4-pin ATX 12V power connector.

5. Back Panel Connectors

6. 7. 15. 1 x CPU Fan, 1 x Pump header and 5 x System Fan Connectors with EZ Debug LED

8. 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports)

9. 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

10. 11. Front panel and TBT connector

12. 2 x USB 2.0 Connectors

13. Serial ports connector

14. 2 x 4-pin RGB LED connectors and 3-pin RAINBOW LED connector

16. Front panel Audio connector.

17. 2x M.2 slots

18. M.2 slot (Key E) for an Intel® CNVi wireless module only

19. Expansion Slots.

3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16/x4/x1 modes), 2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots

Removing Heat-sinks

MSI used dense and big aluminum heatsink in this board. Heatsinks base is having nice thermal pad installed.

Component Layout

Let's now see what all components MSI have planned for this board.

1. 2. 8 + 1stage CPU voltage regulator circuit uses pair of ON Semiconductor 4C024 and 4C029 MOSFETS with combined rating of 60A controlled by UPI Semiconductor uP9521P PWM Controller.

3. 2-Phase digital memory power supply section

4. 5. Intel GI219V and GI211A Gigabit LAN controllers

6. NUVOTON NCT6797D – Super I/O Chipset

7. MSI Audio Boost Audio technology is powered by Realtek ALC892 chip which is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec that delivers an good audio listening experience with up to 95dB SNR.

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 also used Chemi-Con audio capacitors.

RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing MSI High Definition audio against Asus Xonar U7 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 Audio Boost Audio

8. Intel Z390 Chipset

9. NUVOTON NUC126NE4AE microcontroller based on the Arm® Cortex®-M0 core operates at up to 72 MHz. Seems to be used for RBG LED control function

10. MSI uses Windbond 2SQ128FVSQ a capacity of 128 Mb for storing UEFI BIOS.


CPUIntel Core i5 9600K
RAM2 X 8GB Corsair DDR4 3600Mhz
SSDCorsair Force 240 SSD
CoolerCorsair H115i RGB PLATINUM
GFXMSI GTX 1070Ti Armor 8G
PSUCooler Master V750
DisplayAcer S220HQL
OS Windows 10


Bundled Software



Power Consumption

Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.


  • Nice looks
  • Good RGB LED support
  • Lot of Fan headers
  • Intel CNVi wireless support
  • Nice big heatsinks
  • Good Overclocking
  • Nice Price


  • UEFI interface have every setting displayed in central small area. Like one windowed interface.


In our testing, we found that MSI MAG Z390 TOMAHAWK is solid build quality gaming motherboard offering great military looks and tons of features, all with a very attractive price tag of Rs.15K only. This makes the MSI MAG Z390 TOMAHAWK motherboard one of the best feature packed Intel Z390 chipset base board. Board also provides lot of 4-pin Fan headers with a nice big heatsinks for best thermal management.

For people who wants to make a nice high end PC system with latest Intel platform, RGB lighting, great performance and attractive price, the MSI MAG Z390 TOMAHAWK motherboard offers all that which making it worthy of our PC TeK Reviews VALUE Award.

Manufacturers Info

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