As you will see in our video the MSI MEG Z390 Godlike tries to pack in every hardware feature you can imagine and this leads to a slightly cramped layout, despite using an E-ATX form factor.
At the top of the board we have the extensive VRM system that is based around an IR35201 VRM controller. Connected to that we have 16 Infineon/IR TDA21462 power stages rated at 60A each that use IR3599 doublers on the back of the board. There are no graphics outputs on the I/O panel so these VRMs are all for Vcore, rather than iGPU. In addition to the 16-phases there is a Monolithic Power controller and two more VRMs for the DDR4 memory.
We mentioned the dual 8-pin EPS connectors at the top of the board as well as the 6-pin graphics connector above the main graphic slot that is aimed at extreme overclockers and which is sure to add to cable clutter.
There are four PCI Express graphics slots however there is no PLX chip to add extra PCI Express so the four PCIe slots are configured as x16, x4, x8 from the CPU and x4 from PCH. You don’t need all those slots for graphics cards however the accessory pack includes an M.2 Xpander-Z expansion unit that supports two M.2 storage devices that uses 8x PCIe lanes from the CPU to support the extra storage.
Add in the MSI Stream Boost capture card and the idea of a PLX chip would make a good deal of sense, although the extra cost would very likely be unwelcome. There are three M.2 slots on the board that each have a heat dispersing cover to protect the SSDs along with a substantial cover over the Z390 chipset that combine to make the lower half of the board look incredibly busy.
In addition to that long list of hardware there is an LCD POST code display named Dynamic Dashboard that takes up a certain amount of room near the main power connector. On top of the I/O shield we have the Mystic Light Infinity that adds a level of RGB that you rarely get to see on a motherboard.
When the Godlike is stripped of its heat sinks, shrouds and Armour you can see there is a substantial amount of hardware that fully occupies this E-ATX board.
There are masses of ports and connectors down the side of the board and across the bottom, including dual USB 3.1 Gen.2 and dual USB 3.1 Gen.1 connectors. Along the bottom edge of the board you will see a line of headers and connectors, as well as a number of overclocking features including dip switches to disable PCI Express slots, micro buttons to control the board and a switch to select which of the dual BIOS chips you wish to use.
It is fairly obvious that installing an expansion card in the bottom PCI Express slot would block most of these features and this makes us wonder why the slot has been included. This is symptomatic of the overall design as MSI has clearly tried to include every feature you can possibly imagine.
Huge number of VRM Phases? Check.
Four PCI Express slots? Check.
Load of RGB? Check.
Extreme overclocking features, including support for LN2? Check.
Game Boost control knob for Newb overclockers? Check.