MSI Z270 GAMING PRO Carbon Review

👤by David Mitchelson Comments 📅03-01-17

By now itís fairly evident that the Intel Z270 chipset brings with it some subtle improvements over the Z170 chipset and so itís left up to motherboard partners to maximise product potential with innovative ideas. MSIís Z270 GAMING PRO Carbon delivers on this innovation by offering up some creative features which really help to diversify.

Casting an eye over the previous generation of the GAMING PRO Carbon, itís obvious that MSI has made some significant improvements with in this new version. It has a stronger digital power delivery system, features more steel armor, has more RGB lighting, more fan headers, Realtekís new ALC 1220 codec and also carries with it some extras too.

The features which we think make this motherboard distinct boil down to two specific features, the M.2 guard and Lighting USB. The M.2 guard is a novel inclusion which employs a thermal pad for M.2 drives and it is the answer to a problem which plagues many SSDs of this standard. By their nature, M.2 drives struggle to remain cool and rely heavily on good computer chassis airflow. Various drives have been criticised for their inability to alleviate heat which has led to thermal throttle occurring Ė when the controller exceeds a specific temperature limit, the drive will automatically modify the clock speeds to bring down the temperature; thus affecting the performance of the drive. By MSI including this feature, they may well have introduced a gamechanger. With Lighting USB we can effectively double the bandwidth from our USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports when using devices simultaneously Ė rather than have the bandwidth split and divide into two.

Looking at GAMING PRO Carbon from a performance standpoint, this motherboard shows no signs of weakness with consistent results; even against motherboards which cost considerably more. Our overclock result was slightly tainted by just 100MHz from the current milestone of 4.9GHz but this is nothing to be overly concerned about. Applying an overclock to either a 6th/7th Generation processor is easy thanks to the intuitive UEFI BIOS which has all the options a novice or advanced user could ever want, in easy to reach menus.

Priced at £150 GBP / $180 USD, Z270 GAMING PRO Carbon represents decent value for money. For those wanting to tap into a strong feature-set, while keeping the costs down would be well advised to consider this motherboard. The two year warranty further solidifies a good value selection.

MSI has clearly shown how innovative they can be when it comes to motherboard design. Z270 GAMING PRO Carbon arrives with a catalogue of improvements over the Z170 version and combats two notable pitfalls.


+ Subtle styling
+ Equipped with RGB lighting
+ Excellent performance
+ Steel reinforced slots
+ Includes M.2 shield
+ Double USB 3,1 bandwidth with Lightning USB
+ Plenty of fan headers
+ Features dual-M.2
+ Strong audio solution courtesy of Audio Boost 4

- Only comes with two SATA cables

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