10 Jan, 2017   Rakesh Sharma    Reviews . MSI Z270 KRAIT Gaming Motherboard Review

With the new Kaby Lake processor in the market, we are receiving quite a number of Intel Z270 chipset motherboards many of which are specifically designed for overclocking or that combine features which both overclockers, enthusiasts and gamers in mind, but today we are reviewing a MSI solution to medium-high oriented enthusiast gamers with entry-level features. The MSI Z270 KRAIT Gaming motherboard a feature packed full ATX board supporting new Kaby Lake processors, faster DDR-4 RAMs, Audio Boost 4 audio, lighting USB 3.1 Gen2 ,Twin Turbo M.2 with steel armor and Intel Optane Memory Ready and more.

Now let’s see what this new Intel Z270 chipset based MSI gaming board have for us.

Package

Looking at the front of the box, we see MSI logo with motherboard model no. in big at center of the box. At the rear of the box, we find that MSI goes into great detail on the specifications of the motherboard

Inside the box

Looks

Board is a solid build on a black PCB with white painted sectiong all over the PCB, giving whole board a great appearance and wild look. I like the whole theme very attractive. .

Features

  • Supports 7th / 6th Gen Intel® Core™ / Pentium® / Celeron® processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports DDR4-3866+(OC) Memory
  • DDR4 Boost with Steel Armor: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • VR Ready and VR Boost: Best virtual reality game experience without latency, reduces motion sickness
  • Lightning Fast Game experience: Twin Turbo M.2 with Steel Armor. Intel Optane Memory Ready, Lightning USB 3.1 Gen2
  • Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 2: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality for the most immersive gaming experience
  • GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Intel® : The best online gaming experience with lowest latency and bandwidth management
  • Military Class 5, Guard-Pro: Latest evolution in high quality components for best protection and efficiency
  • MULTI-GPU: With Steel Armor PCI-E slots. Supports NVIDIA SLI™ & AMD Crossfire™
  • Mystic Light Sync: Synchronize other RGB solutions with your gaming rig and control all LEDs in one click
  • In-Game Weapons: Game Boost, GAMING Hotkey, X-Boost, Xsplit Gamecaster
  • EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning BIOS with high resolution scalable font, favorites and search function
  • GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game and motherboard testing by eSports players

Specifications

Layout

Detailed layout of board.

1. Intel LGA 1151 socket, supporting New 7th generation and old 6th generation CPU.

2. 4 DIMM Dual channel DDR4 memory slots with full Steel Armor supporting max. 64GB at 2133MHz in normal and up to 3800MHz when OC. Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) is also supported.

3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR) along with EZ Debug LED

4. ATX CPU Power Connector (8-pin ATX12V).

5. Back Panel Connectors : 1 x PS/2 mouse & keyboard combo port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x DVI-D port, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, 1 x HDMI™ port, 1 x LAN (RJ45) port, 6 x audio jacks.

6. 7. 11. 13. 1 x CPU Fan, 1 x CPU OPT Fan and 4 x System Fan Connectors

8. Two front USB 3 Port.

9.

10. System Front panel Connector

12. 142 x USB 2.0 Connectors and TPM Connector

15. Serial port connector and Parallel port connector.

16. RGB LED strip extension cable header

17. Front panel Audio connector

18. Expansion Slots : 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16/x0/x4, x8/x8/x4 modes) and 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots

19. Dual PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 connector

Removing Heat-sinks

MSI used dense aluminum heatsink in this board. Heatsinks base is having thermal pad installed. VRM heatsink are secured in place using screws and spacers.

Component Layout

Let’s now see what all components MSI have planned for this board.

1. 2. 10 stage CPU voltage regulator circuit uses pair of NIKOS PK616 and PK632 MOSFETS with combined rating of 50A controlled by uP9508Q PWM Controller.

3. 2-Phase digital memory power supply section for DDR4 memories

4. 5. ASMedia ASM2142 is PCIe-to-two-port USB 3.1 controllers and Pair of ASMedia ASM1464 a single chip solution, bridging the USB3.1 to Serial ATA host interface with highly integrated SuperSpeed USB3.0 interface.

6. Intel® Gigabit LAN solution.

7. The nuvoTon NCT 6795D chip provides the super I/O functions, such as fan control and system monitoring

8. MSI equipped this board with Audio boost 4 audio solution with ALC 1220 120dB SNR HD Audio codec at the heart.

ALC 1220 120dB SNR HD Audio - The ALC1220 is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec with up to 120dB SNR for crystal clear audio along with premium quality CHEMI-CON audio capacitors for a warmer sound and OP1652 op-amp as buffer.

A semi-transparent line on motherboard separates the whole audio section from the rest of the board in order to minimize interference. So listening under Stereo mode produces high audio quality with excellent dynamic range.

RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing MSI High Definition audio against Asus Xonar U7 External Sound card. You can see clearly the difference between Noise level, dynamic rang and Total harmonic distortion percentage produced by MSI High Definition audio.

RMAA Asus Xonar U7

RMAA MSI Audio

9. Intel Z270 Express Chipset.

10. MSI uses MXIC MX 2SL12873F a capacity of 128 Mb for storing UEFI BIOS.

11. AZ75232 a single chip solution for UART and Serial-Port connector.

Testing

CPUIntel Core i7 7700
BoardMSI Z270 KRAIT Gaming
RAM2 X 4GB Corsair Dominator DDR4 2800Mhz
SSDCorsair Force GT 240
CoolerCooler Master Nepton 240M
GFX ASUS STIX 950
PSUCooler Master V1200
DisplayAOC 22 inch
OS Windows 10

BIOS

Bundled Softwares

Benchmarks

Power Consumption

Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.

Pros

  • Great Looks
  • Lot of bundled Software
  • High Quality Audio
  • RGB header

Cons

  • COM port and LPT port, seriously… Does a mid range gaming board need there ports ? Instead could have two more USB2.0 ports on back I/O.

Conclusion

Building a complete white build is my dream and this MSI Z270 KRAIT Gaming motherboard with black and white PCB takes a sweet spot in my heart. MSI has done a great job in designing this board. At a price tag of Rs.15500(approx.), this board offers more than any other product in this range and segment.

Only thing which made me feel awkward are the old school COM port and LPT port. Personally it has been more than 10 years or so, last I have seen any LPT port based product in working condition. So for a latest generation and gaming orientated board as this MSI Z270 KRAIT Gaming to have such old ports are totally unnecessary, instead could have added two more USB2.0 ports on back I/O.

At the conclusion I found MSI Z270 KRAIT Gaming to be a nice looking motherboard, with some unique feature, best suitable for gamer and mid-level system builders.

Manufacturers Info

Site Link

Thanks.

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