MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Motherboard Review

Final Thoughts
MSI’s Z170A Gaming M5 sits right in the middle of MSI’s Gaming “M” series motherboards and they have done things quite well with it. With a gaming motherboard you want a certain set of features and this board has many gaming features covered and a lot more added!

First off you will have no problem running a dual graphics card setup with this board. You have support for 2-way SLI and 3-way CrossFire. Also the main two PCI-Express slots are metal-plated. This not only makes them look awesome, but gives you better stability and protection, so load those Titan X’s in there! Any gamers knows if you lag you die, so MSI has outfitted this board with Killer’s E2400 networking solution. Sound is also very important to gamers so you have MSI’s Audio Boost 3 solution which is powered by the Nahimic Audio Enhancer. There is also a dedicated gaming device port.

On the software side of things you have the Mouse Master and Gaming Hotkey applications. These allow you to fully customize your mouse and keyboard for gaming by allowing you to set macros, DPI level, hot keys, and much more! The Gaming App OSD allows system specific information to be shown on screen while you are gaming. On top of that MSI is giving you a free 1-year license copy of XSplit Gamecaster! So you are ready to jump on Instagib and Twitch to show off your skills!

The two things most people are looking forward to with Skylake are USB 3.1 and 32 Gb/s M.2 slots. MSI has you covered with both of those on this motherboard. You have two USB 3.1 ports (1x Type-A, 1x Type-C) and two 32 Gb/s M.2 slots! That means you could actually have an M.2 OS drive and an M.2 game drive and not have to use any of the SATA ports at all!

MSI’s Click BIOS 5 worked quite well and was very easy to navigate. Great to see another UEFI BIOS that I actually like and is made to be easy to use for a first-time user. MSI’s Command Center software is actually quite good and makes it easy to tune your system within Windows. I really wish MSI would unite all of their software into a complete suite though, would make it easier to find everything.

MSI has outfitted this board with their Military Class V components, which are made to last. These helped us achieve a nice stable overclock of 4.7 GHz, and we expect that to improve as the platform improves. The post code display was great to see on this board and it also shows real-time CPU temperature, which is cool!

There were a few things that I would have liked to have seen on this motherboard, which included power and reset buttons as well as a clear CMOS button instead of a jumper.

This board is selling for $189.99 online. Overall ThinkComputers gives to MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Motherboard a 9 out of 10 score and our Recommended Award!

Pros:
– Sleek design and styling
– Metal-plated PCI-Express slots
– Killer E2400 networking
– USB 3.1 and dual 32 Gb/s M.2 slots
– Cool gaming software and a free 1-year license for XSplit
– Post code display also shows temperature
– Easy to use BIOS and Command Center Software

Cons:
– No clear CMOS button
– Not power and rest buttons
– Would have liked software to all be under a single suite

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