Monochrome Modesty - MSI Tease The Z170 Krait GAMING
Partner previews of Intel's Z170-chipset-based motherboards have been coming out this week and MSI have revealed one motherboard in particular which caught our eye: the Z170 Krait.
You might recall the Z97S Krait Edition from the current 'Haswell Refresh' generation of motherboards, a striking aesthetic design based on the already pretty solid MSI Z97S SLI PLUS. Since that release MSI have followed up with two further models in the Krait lineup - the Z97A Krait which was updated for USB 3.1 support, and the X99S SLI Krait for Intel's High End Desktop platform. All-in-all, they appear to have gone down well with consumers.
This year we're going to be treated to the Z170 Krait, and MSI are already showing off the new design on social media ahead of their release later this year. Although there's not a whole lot we can discern from promo shots, here's what we can see easily:
- The full SKU is the MSI Z170A Krait GAMING, indicating that models with this livery have been rolled into MSI's Z170 GAMING range. Based on other clues we'd say that they're probably a reskin of the an entry level 'GAMING 3' design, but it will be difficult to know for sure until the whole range is revealed.
- As a Z170 motherboard it's intended for Intel's next generation of CPUs. It's not clear if backwards compatibility is planned for Broadwell/Haswell, but that seems unlikely.
- The Z170 Krait supports at least 2-way SLI. The colouring implies that these are the only slots intended for GPUs, but even were that the case dual-GPU configurations are massively more popular than triple-GPU.
- Dual-Channel/4 DIMM memory that isn't DDR3.
- 4 SATA III and one SATA-Express port. That's something of a downgrade from the six SATA III ports on Z97 (plus one SATA Express), perhaps indicating a new focus on slot-based storage such as PCI-E or M.2. It's also surprising to see MSI use vertical connectors for these ports rather than the edge-mounted ones present on enthusiast and gaming boards in recent generations.
- MSI's AudioBoost technology is once again present and accounted for, improving audio clarity for the built-in sound chip.
- A slightly bare near edge which is so plain it almost looks photoshopped... are MSI hiding something?
- PCI still isn't dead!
Although there are many rumours flying around Z170 doesn't have an official release date. Given the pace of partner reveals we wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't all that far away.