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MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Motherboard Review

Intel’s Skylake processors are just the latest Intel CPU architecture to see many of the critical system operations handled by the processor. As such, benchmarking a motherboard becomes more of a test to certify that the part operates correctly and meets the anticipated performance levels.

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We will be outlining the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 motherboard’s performance with the Core i7-6700K CPU at its stock frequency (4.2GHz due to forced turbo). Overclocked performance will be outlined later in the review.

stock-CPUZ

The MSI Z170A Gaming M7 motherboard automatically applies multi-core turbo (MCT) and forces the 6700K to a constant 4.2GHz when XMP is enabled. This will be displayed as the ‘stock’ setting.

Despite listing the CPU Cache frequency as 4100MHz in the UEFI, CPU-Z reported an operating frequency of 4000MHz. This may have a slight negative effect on the performance of MSI’s board in comparison to other stock-clocked competitors.

MSI applies a MCT voltage of around 1.208V under load. This level is sensible and stable and results in an easy cooling task for even moderate air heatsinks.

Z170 Motherboard Test System:

Compared Z170 Motherboards:

Software:

  • MSI Z170A Gaming M7 BIOS v1.90.
  • GeForce 353.30 VGA drivers.

Tests:

  • Cinebench R15 – All-core CPU benchmark (System)
  • HandBrake 0.10.2 – Convert 1.23GB 1080P game recording using the High Profile setting and MP4 container (System)
  • 7-Zip 15.05 beta – Manual video archival (System)
  • 3DMark 1.5.915 – Fire Strike Ultra (Gaming)
  • Grand Theft Auto V – 1920 x 1080, near-maximum quality (Gaming)
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – 1920 x 1080, ultra quality (Gaming)
  • ATTO – SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 transfer rates (Motherboard)
  • RightMark Audio Analyzer – General audio performance test (Motherboard)

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