The MEG series from MSI is their high-end line and this is actually the first time I’ve had the chance to take a look at a MEG-class motherboard. I have to say I am very impressed and if you are looking for a motherboard in this price range it is going to have all of the features you want plus a lot of extras!
Starting with CPU support this board packs in a 22-phase (19+1+2) power design with 105A MOSFETs. This gives you a total of 1995A for your CPU. All of the power delivery components are covered by two large heatsinks, which are connected by a heatpipe. These heatsinks do not require an active cooling fan and provide enough cooling power that your CPU is not going to thermally throttle. So you should have no issues at all running a Core i9-12900K on this board.
When it comes to storage this board really has you covered with five M.2 slots! This is quite a lot of a more mainstream board and all of the slots have heatsinks so you don’t have to worry about your drives overheating. A nice addition to see on these slots is the plastic latch so no more looking for those tiny M.2 screws! MSI does provide two PCI-Express 5.0 expansion slots with the top slot being the only x16 slot, they will drop to x8/x8 if you have two cards installed.
There are lots of other connectivity on this board including Thunderbolt 4 (with miniDP in) and USB 3.2 gen 2×2. While you do get eight USB ports on the rear I/O they are all USB 3.2 gen 2 (10 Gbps). It would have been nice to have at least one USB 3.2 gen 2×2 on the rear I/O. MSI does of course give you two internal headers for this so you can use the connection on your case or buy an extension bracket.
One thing that was interesting to see is that MSI went without RGB lighting on this board. We have seen things trend more towards less RGB lighting, but it would have been nice to have at least some RGB lighting on this board, because you can turn it off if you don’t want it. You do of course have all of the RGB headers on the board and it was cool to see a Corsair RGB header. Corsair if you didn’t know uses proprietary connectors for their RGB products so if you have any Corsair RGB product you can’t really sync it up with your motherboard’s RGB effects or other devices connected to your motherboard, but now you can!
Right now you can pick this board up at our favorite online retailer for $599.99, which definitely puts it at the higher-end of Z690 motherboards. I think that if you are going to make use of many of the features on the board this price is definitely justified. Overall ThinkComputers gives the MSI MEG Z690 ACE Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score!
– Strong VRM & VRM cooling
– Sleek design
– Five M.2 slots
– Two PCI-Express 5.0 expansion slots
– Thunderbolt 4
– Corsair RGB header
– Clear CMOS button on rear I/O
– Dual USB 3.2 gen 2×2 headers
– Latches on M.2 slots
– No RGB lighting
– No USB 3.2 gen 2×2 connection on rear I/O