MSI MAG Z390 Tomahawk Motherboard Overview
As I mentioned the MAG Z390 Tomahawk has a very aggressive look, this obviously is made to target gamers. MSI is using a black PCB with black and gunmetal accents. All of the heatsinks on the board are gunmetal and look awesome. The Tomahawk is an ATX board for those wondering.
Starting at the CPU socket we have the Intel LGA1151 socket. Z390 boards will support both 8th generation and 9th generation Intel Core processors. MSI is using an all digital power design and you can see the aggressive heatsinks that cover the power components. MSI actually extenders the one heatsink to the I/O cover, which looks really good.
In between the two VRM heatsinks you’ll find an 8+4 pin EPS connector. Also on the right side of the top heatsink is your 4-pin fan header.
Moving over from the CPU socket we have our four DDR4 DIMM slots. This board supports up to 64GB of DDR4-4400 memory. Towards the edge of the board there is a 4-pin RGB header, two 4-pin fan / pump headers, a 24-pin ATX power connection, and a USB 3.1 header.
Moving down the board there is another USB 3.1 header, which is set at a 90 degree angle. There are also six SATA 6GB/s ports at a 90 degree angle.
At the bottom of the board is where you are going to find the rest of your headers and connections. From left to right you have your HD audio header, 4-pin RGB header, 3-pin addressable RGB header, two 4-pin fan headers, TPM header, two USB 2.0 headers, another 4-pin fan header, and your front panel headers.
As far as expansion slots go you have three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16, x4, x4 electrical) and two x1 slots. The top slot has MSI’s PCI-E steel armor on it, so as you can tell this board is designed for single-card setups.
There are two M.2 slots on this board. The first sits above the top x16 slot and the second is between the two bottom slots. The bottom slot comes with an M.2 cooler, which has military-themed design and matches up quite nice with the PCH heatsink. Both of these M.2 slots are PCI-Express 3.0 x4 slots. You’ll notice a smaller slot, that is for Intel’s CNVi Wi-Fi module. One other thing to note is right above the top slot is another 4-pin fan header, which is great for the exhaust fan on your case.
The audio section of the board is on the far left. MSI is making use of the Realtek ALC892 Codec as part of their “Audio Boost” technology, which also features high quality audio capacitors. The audio section of the board is completely isolated from everything else on the board and the audio chip is EMI-shielded.
Finally we come to the rear I/O, which has a pre-installed I/O shield. This is great to see, especially on a mid-range board. From left to right your connections include a combination PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, four USB 3.1 gen 2 ports (3x Type-A, 1x Type-C), dual Ethernet, and your audio connection. MSI is using the Intel’s I219-V, and I211-AT controllers here.