MSI Z270 GAMING M7 Review

👤by David Mitchelson Comments 📅15-03-17

While the dust from the Intel Kaby Lake and 200 series motherboard release may have settled, today has proven how MSI’s Z270 GAMING M7 is still an excellent motherboard to choose for those wanting a taste of Z270.

Where bright and distinguishing colours were once all the rage, subtle and understated designs are now much more prevalent in the motherboard sector. The GAMING M7 delivers up a monochrome scheme which is likely to appeal to a broader selection of system builders – a neutral design allows the blending together of a variety of hardware and will coordinate much easier than a coloured design which locks the user into a specific theme. The overall layout and styling on GAMING M7 is eye-catching and certainly one which is up there as one of the more favourable designs.

GAMING M7 includes a surprising number of features – some of which will mark this motherboard out as a top-pick in the Z270 arena. MSI has included a USB 3.1 front panel header on the board, which is rare among even some of top tier offerings from rival brands. Although most cases lack USB 3.1 on the front panel, it won’t be long before this feature begins to filter into computer chassis design – so this will undoubtedly future proof the system. Another welcome addition is the multiple storage options which come in the form of U.2, M.2 and SATA. The M.2 more specifically arrives with three slots which could well move some users to phasing out SATA-based SSDs altogether.

On the performance front, as we expected from MSI, the GAMING M7 is a strong performer which delivers consistently good results throughout a range of scenarios. Overclocking is one particular area which this board is optimised for and it had no problems getting to the 4.9GHz milestone that we currently have assigned to our Intel Core i7-7700K. The BIOS is also laden with features which will satisfy both novice and seasoned enthusiasts – it’s also easy to navigate to the options required.

There are however a few areas which should be criticised. While USB 3.1 is included on the rear IO panel, overall, there is a distinct lack of USB functionality in general. Once two ports are occupied with the customary keyboard and mouse there aren’t many ports left for users to make use of. Another minor point is that MSI has chosen to use HDMI 1.4 rather than the newer standard of HDMI 2.0 which offers better refresh rates.

Current pricing indicates the GAMING M7 is £240 in the UK and $240 in the US. At this price point we are dealing with the top-end Z270 motherboards and there is some tough competition. However, M7 actually has a few options which others lack – such as the triple M.2s, and this could sway users in the market to extend their storage needs.

MSI’s Z270 GAMING M7 is a stunning motherboard which does not shy away from serving up a whole host of exciting features including a trio of M.2 slots for the hardcore storage junkie!

+ Desirable neutral theme
+ Excellent performance
+ Excellent for overclocking
+ Arrives with USB 3.1 front header
+ Uses strengthened PCI Express slots
+ Extra advanced/overclocking buttons
+ Features Triple-M.2 slots
+ Features U.2 slot
+ Capable audio solution

- Short on USB ports on the back panel
- HDMI 1.2 rather than HDMI 2.0 port

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