As a general rule the Intel B360 and H370 chipsets offer a more affordable route into Intel’s 8th Generation “Coffee Lake” CPUs, than the Z370 chipset. However, there are a number of Z370 motherboard options that are as affordable, if not cheaper, than many B360 or H370 models. MSI manufactures a number of those low-cost Z370 options including the Z370 PC Pro.
The MSI Z370 PC Pro is a price-sensitive product, meaning its unique selling point in a marketplace full of expensive gaming options is its low price (£110/$120). However, It should still be noted that there are number of Z370 motherboards that are more affordable. MSI, for instance, produces the Z370A-Pro (£90/$100) and Z370 Tomahawk (£100/$110) while rival motherboard vendors produce models such as the ASUS Prime Z370-P (£110/$120), ASRock Z370 Pro4 (£95/$100) and Gigabyte Z370P D3 (£90/$105).
Price need not comprise the entire narrative as it is one thing to produce a low-cost Z370 motherboard, but another to produce one that’s still worthy of purchasing. While consumers appreciate a lower price point, the trade-offs that are made to bring that price down are crucial and should inform the buying decision.
The type of decisions MSI has made to keep retail pricing down include a fairly basic CPU VRM implementation, a decade-old audio codec, no official SLI support and trimming back on “nice to haves” such as power and reset buttons, M.2 cooling or a front panel USB 3.1 connection.
That said, MSI has still managed to include features like dual M.2, onboard RGB lighting, USB 3.1, Intel Gigabit LAN and a sleek-looking matte-black design. Let’s see how MSI’s Z370 PC Pro holds up under KitGuru’s testing and analysis.
|MSI Z370 PC Pro|
|Form Factor||ATX, 30.4cm x 24.3cm|
|CPU Socket||Intel LGA 1151 Version 2|
|Memory||DDR4, 4 DIMMs up to 64GB, up to 4000MHz+ with OC|
|On-board Graphics||Intel HD Graphics (supported CPUs)|
|Discrete Graphics||Single Nvidia graphics card configurations, up to AMD 2-way CrossFireX or Quad CrossFire|
|Expansion Slots||1 x PCIe 3.0 (x16 electrical, from CPU)
1 x PCIe 3.0* (x16 physical, x4 electrical, from from Intel Z370 chipset)
3 x PCIe 3.0 x1 (from Intel Z370 chipset)**
1 x Legacy PCI**
*PCIe 3.0 x4 electrical slot unavailable when M2_2 populated with PCIe device
**Either PCI_E2 or PCI_E3 and PCI1 or PCI_E5
|Storage||6 x SATA III 6Gbps (via Intel Z370 chipset)*
2 x M.2 (both support PCIe x4 32Gbps or SATA III 6Gbps)
*2 x SATA ports will be disabled when both M.2 slots are used for M.2 SATA devices
|USB|| 2 x USB 3.1 (2 Rear, Type-A and -C, all via ASMedia ASM3142)
8 x USB 3.0 (4 Rear, 4 Front, all via Intel Z370)
6 x USB 2.0 (2 Rear, 4 Front, all via Intel Z370)
|Networking||Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet|
|Audio|| Realtek ALC887 7.1 channel audio*
*5.1 channel available from rear I/O, to get 7.1 channel the front audio header must be teamed with the rear ports through the Realtek driver
|Fan Headers||6, all support 3/4 pin fans (1 x CPU, 1 x W_PUMP, 4 x SYS)|
|Rear I/O||1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo
2 x USB 2.0
1 x VGA
1 x DVI-D
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN RJ45
4 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 3.1 (Type-A and -C)
3 x audio jacks
|UEFI||1 x 128Mb UEFI AMI|