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MSI Z170A-XPower Gaming Titanium Edition Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

Unique is a word I don't throw around much with motherboard reviews, but the latest revision of MSI' XPower series is nothing if not unique. The Z170A-XPower Gaming Titanium Edition features a stunning silver and black aesthetic for a look unlike any of its competition in the LGA1151 realm, featuring a silver colored PCB and black and red accents in some key areas of the board for some additional eye-catching value. The board features branding on its VRM and chipset heat sinks as well. By integrating the Intel Z170 chipset, the motherboard supports the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. With an MSRP of $299, the Z170A-XPower Gaming Titanium Edition sits at a competitive price point for the features it offers.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

To give the board some teeth, MSI paired up the Z170A-XPower Gaming Titanium (Ti) Edition motherboard with its Military Class 5 component architecture. This latest iteration includes a 16-phase digital power delivery system with DrMOS 3-in-1 chip MOSFETS, Titanium chokes, and a mix of Hi-c and DARK capacitors to ensure stable operation under the most extreme circumstances as well as the greatest degree of power efficiency possible. MSI also integrated a high quality audio subsystem, centered around their Nahimic sound technology with Chemi-Con sourced audio capacitors and headphone amplifiers on an isolated PCB. MSI chose to integrate the following features into the Z170A-XPower Gaming Titanium Edition board: four SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 capable ports; an Intel I219-V GigE controller; four PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, BIOS Flashback, and Game Boost buttons; Multi-BIOS, Hotkey, and PCI CeaseFire switches; OC Dashboard device support; BIOS Flashback+ BIOS updater; integrated V-Check voltage measurement points;dual HDMI video ports; a DisplayPort video port; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard!

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

Technical Specifications (taken from the MSI website)

CPU • Supports 6th Gen Intel® Core&trade i3/i5/i7 processors, and Intel® Pentium® and Celeron® processors for Socket LGA1151

* Please refer to CPU Support for compatible CPU; the above description is for reference only.

Chipset • Intel® Z170 Chipset
Memory • 4 x DDR4 memory slots, support up to 64GB
- Supports DDR4 3600(OC)/ 3200(OC)/ 3000(OC)/ 2800(OC)/ 2600(OC)/ 2400/ 2133 MHz
• Dual channel memory architecture
• Supports non-ECC, un-buffered memory
• Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
Slots • 4 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16/0/0/x4, x8/0/x8/x4 or x8/x4/x4/x4 modes)
• 3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
Onboard Graphics • 2 x HDMI™ ports, support a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@24Hz, 2560x1600@60Hz
• 1 x DisplayPort, supports a maximum resolution of 4096x2304@24Hz, 2560x1600@60Hz, 3840x2160@60Hz, 1920x1200@60Hz
Multi-GPU • Supports 4-Way AMD® CrossFire™ Technology
• Supports 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology
Storage • Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
• 8x SATA 6Gb/s ports*
• 2x M.2 ports
- Supports PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6Gb/s standards, 4.2cm/ 6cm/ 8cm length M.2 SSD cards
- Supports PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe Mini-SAS SSD with Turbo U.2 Host Card**
• 2x SATAe ports (PCIe 3.0 x2)***
• Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology for Intel Core™ processors

* M.2, SATA and SATAe ports maximum support 1 x M.2 SSDs + 6 x SATAs or 2xM.2 SSDs + 1 xSATAe HDD + 2xSATA HDDs.
** The Turbo U.2 Host Card is not included, please purchase separately.
*** SATAe port is backward compatible with SATA.

RAID • Intel® Z170 Chipset
- Supports RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 for SATA storage devices
- Supports RAID 0 and RAID1 for M.2 PCIe storage devices*

* M.2 PCIe RAID volume can be created with UEFI BIOS

USB • ASMedia® ASM1142 Chipset
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) ports on the back panel

• Intel® Z170 Express Chipset
- 7 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (SuperSpeed USB) ports (4 ports on the back panel, 1 internal port, 2 ports available through the internal USB connector)
- 7 x USB 2.0 (High-speed USB) ports (3 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB connectors)

Audio • Realtek® ALC1150 Codec
- 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
- Supports S/PDIF output
LAN • 1 x Intel® I219-V Gigabit LAN controller
Internal I/O Connectors - 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
- 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
- 1 x 6-pin ATX 12V power connector*
- 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- 2 x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 connector (supports additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports)
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 port
- 2 x 4-pin CPU fan connectors
- 3 x 4-pin system fan connectors
- 1 x Front panel audio connector
- 2 x Front panel connectors
- 1 x TPM module connector
- 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
- 1 x OC DASHBOARD connector
- 1 x GAME BOOST button
- 1 x Power button
- 1 x Reset button
- 1 x BIOS FLASHBACK+ button
- 1 x HOTKEY switch
- 1 x PCIe CeaseFire switch
- 1 x Multi-BIOS switch
- 1 x 2-Digit Debug Code LED
* Provides additional power to PCIe x16 slots
Back Panel I/O Ports - 1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse combo port
- 3 x USB 2.0 ports
* 1 x HOTKEY port
* 1 x BIOS FLASHBACK+ port
- 1 x Clear CMOS button
- 2 x HDMI™ ports
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen2 ports
- 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 ports
- 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
- 5 x OFC audio jacks
BIOS • The motherboard BIOS provides "Plug & Play" BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
• The motherboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your motherboard specifications.
Dimension • 12 in. x 9.6 in. (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm)
• ATX Form Factor
Mounting • 9 mounting holes

 


October 16, 2015 | 07:15 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Great looking board, but for $300 I think it needs more USB 3.0 slots, and duel x16 Xfire/SLI.

October 19, 2015 | 06:52 PM - Posted by Zyxtomatic (not verified)

Why dual x16 slots? There's no performance benefit when talking about pci-e 3.0. The bandwidth available even with x8 is more than any current video card can use.

October 16, 2015 | 08:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Do you even know the difference between slots and ports ?
Not to mention the obvious difference between duel and dual.
The education system sucks so bad.

October 17, 2015 | 01:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I blame spell checkers! They do not have proper contextual spell checking and Duel, and Dual are easy to overlook when proof reading! Once proper contextual spell checking becomes available via HSA and GPU accelerated Spell Checking, then mistakes like this will occur less often. Contextual spell checking requires a great amount of processing and automated definition checking/phrase matching algorithms, so GPGPU will be reguired.

P.S. some people have Dyslexia and can not spell to save their lives!

October 17, 2015 | 01:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Edit: reguired
To: required.

See what I'm saying, Dyslexia is a pain!

October 19, 2015 | 11:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Do you suck in real life, that you took the time to insult someone spelling to make you feel better?

October 17, 2015 | 03:29 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Damn, lighten up man. Who cares if he doesn't know duel/dual. Seems like disparaging the entire educational system (of where?) is a bit much, don't you think?

October 17, 2015 | 05:27 AM - Posted by renz (not verified)

That aside this is still LGA1151. so i think it is useless to have two x16 slot wired for x16 config.

October 18, 2015 | 01:25 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

By default, that's right.  But some manufacturers include a PLX chip so that both the primary and secondary PCIe slots get the full x16 bandwidth...

October 19, 2015 | 03:27 PM - Posted by semiconductorslave

The PCB color reminds me of the old Soyo Dragon Ultra.

October 23, 2015 | 12:03 AM - Posted by C.S Anonymous (not verified)

Oh yeah, I had those crash-prone pieces of crap. The via 133 AGP chipset was the worst thing ever. I went through 4 of those boards before I figured out it would just not work right. It was a great looking board though. It is nice to see the color scheme again, on a much better MSI board this time!

October 25, 2015 | 08:37 AM - Posted by C.S Anonymous (not verified)

Sorry, I meant KT333 chipset.

October 21, 2015 | 02:36 PM - Posted by Jason (not verified)

Does anyone know if I can RAID 0 two M.2 drives with a z170 board and be able to boot/install Windows on the RAID? I really want to pickup two of the new 512MB Samsung 950 Pros and create a 1TB system drive.

November 2, 2015 | 11:50 AM - Posted by Grov (not verified)

Yes you can create a NVME raid 0 . You do lose 2 sata for that though

March 31, 2016 | 02:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

windows 7 -- good luck, it's nearly impossible, even though it supposedly supports it. Windows 10, no problem, just have to feed it the storage drivers from the included msi disk during the install process.

November 2, 2015 | 05:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I'd buy it for just the audio...and the looks !

November 2, 2015 | 05:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No USB-C ? No dice !

June 15, 2016 | 10:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have try installed Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combine card on PCI-E(2or4), the windows 10 can't found the hardware and BIO's showed PCI-E slot is "EMPTY". Does anyone know why?

April 18, 2018 | 12:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous0020 (not verified)

I had a simillar issue. Ended up getting a cheap usb adapter and plugging it into the case. Works great.

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