MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC Motherboard Review: Page 4 of 9
Posted by Damon Bailey on Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 9:02am
A Closer Look
MSI’s Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC follows the standard ATX format.
The top half of the board is centered on Intel’s LGA 1151 socket, the same as 100 and 200 series boards, but due to internal differences of the CPU and require board systems, compatibility is limited to Intel 8th Generation CPU’s only.
Four shielded DDR4 Dimm slots flank the socket to the right, and a 10-phase power delivery system surrounds the top and left side of the socket. One of two M.2 sockets can be found just below the CPU.
An Intel 6th or 7th generation CPU can be installed as pictured, and no damage will occur, but the board simply will not boot.
The lower half of the board follows a typical layout. Dual shielded PCIe x16 slots dominate the expansion area, with three PCIe x1 slots, and a PCIe x8 (x16 physical) slot are also here. The 2nd M.2 slot is found near the bottom of the board, and support up to 80mm drives. The chipset heatsink fills in the rest of the area.
Internal connectivity is comprised of a front panel audio header, analog RGB header, and a 4 pin fan header. Also found along the bottom is a TPM connector, some ports, and a button for altering lighting effects in demo mode, your front panel I/O connections, two USB 2.0 headers and two SATA ports. Near the front corner is a Digital/Addressable RGB header labeled ‘jRainbow1’ for connecting addressable RGB devices.
Rear I/O is comprised of two USB 2.0 ports under a PS/2 port. Video output from the CPU’s graphics engine is handled by Display Port and HDMI. Two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports are here, one being Type-C, and the typical Gigabit Ethernet is also present. Gold plated 8 channel audio rounds out the rear area along with an optical audio output.
Going up the front edge of the board, we find 4 more SATA ports, two USB 3.0 front panel headers, and the main 24 pin power connection. Your EZ Debug LED’s are right next to power, and two 4-pin fan headers round out connectivity on this edge.
The top edge doesn’t have much, Only a Corsair compatible addressable RGB header for fan or strip lighting, the 8-pin EPS CPU power connection, and a 2nd analog RGB header. Another 4-pin fan header hides near the top VRM heatsink for CPU fan duties.
We’ll jump back to the top M.2 slot for a moment. It comes equipped with a hinged heatsink for keeping your high-performance M.2 drive cool. It has a thermal pad pre-mounted, you need only remove the blue protective film before use.
We’ll take one last look at the LGA 1151 socket. If you’ve used any of Intel’s 115x series sockets dating clear back to 2nd generation CPU’s, the socket and retention mechanism really hasn’t changed.