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MSI Z170A Tomahawk Motherboard Review

ATTO Disk Benchmark

The ATTO disk benchmark is a Windows-based utility for testing storage performance of any storage drive or controller. We use the default benchmark setup and run this on an OCZ Trion 150 SSD directly connected to the SATA ports and then again over a USB 3.0 port using a USB 3.0 to SATA III adapter.

MSI Z170A Tomahawk Graph SATA

MSI Z170A Tomahawk Graph USB

As SATA and USB are both handled by Intel's Z170 chipset there isn't much variation in performance here either. MSI's Z170A Tomahawk delivers full USB and SATA speeds on Windows 10 without any issues.

Rightmark Audio Analyser

Rightmark Audio Analyser is a freeware benchmarking utility designed to objectively test the performance characteristics of audio solutions. We setup a line-in line-out loop and execute the record/playback test before generating the results report you see below. This test was run at 16bit audio depth and 192KHz frequency.

MSI Z170A Tomahawk Audio

MSI's Z170A Tomahawk still ends up with an overall performance assessment of “Very Good” despite the lower-spec codec and fewer number of audio capacitors. Ultimately, it's still a good audio solution – not quite as good as the competition but sufficient for most gamer's needs.

Our only gripe is something that didn't show up in testing, the lack of an operational amplifier, this means the MSI Z170A Tomahawk could struggle to achieve the same volume as rival motherboards or drive higher impedance headsets.

Power Consumption

We leave the system to idle on the Windows 10 desktop for 5 minutes before taking a reading, for CPU load results we run Cinebench and take a reading in the middle of the render progress.

MSI Z170A Tomahawk Graph PWR

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