MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon Review: Page 4 of 9

Posted by Heath Coop on Monday, February 13, 2017 - 8:13am

A Closer Look

The Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon is part of MSI’s Performance Gaming series motherboards. The Performance Gaming Series feature more subtle cosmetics than MSI’s Enthusiast Gaming and Arsenal Gaming series’.

Carbon fiber look trim adjourns the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon in plenty. It borders on being subtle and aggressive at the same time.

There are two USB 2.0 ports and Five USB Type-A 3.1 Gen1 ports. MSI has are included two “Lightning” USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, consisting of a Type-A  and Type-C design. USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports offer twice the bandwidth of USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports.

A PS/2 keyboard/mouse port allows for legacy input device connectivity. The RJ-45 port is driven the I219-V Intel chipset. Five audio out jacks and a microphone in jack provide option for audio connections. There are also HDMI and DVI video connections.

The lower rear of the motherboard contains most of the front panel audio connections. There is also a system fan connector and a RGB LED connector. Audio on the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon is provided by MSI’s Audio Boost 4 which is powered by Realtek’s latest ALC1220 chipset. There are two M.2 ports. The first M.2 port resides below the CPU socket and the second resides towards the bottom of the motherboard just above the third PCI-E X16 slot under a cover. Both M.2 connectors supports all common standards, including NVMe and are capable of up to 32 Gb/s via PCI-E 3.0 X4. They also support the all-new Intel Optane technology.

The lower front of the motherboard contains most of the rest of front panel connections and RGB case lighting.

The lower M.2 socket features a shield. The shield acts as a heats preader to wick away heat from the M.2 drive. This allows he drive to last longer and to maintain peak speeds longer due to lessened heat throttling.

The lower front of the motherboard contains 4 SATA 6.0 connectors, as well as a single USB 3.0 front panel connectors.

The upper front of the motherboard has a second USB 3.0 front panel connector, the 24 pin power connector, and two fan connectors.

The 8-pin CPU power connector is almost unnoticeable being tucked in the upper left hand corner.

Things are a bit snug around the CPU socket, but still a bit more open than might be expected in part to the VRM heatsink design.

System Configuration, BIOS, and Software are up next.