Steven's Motherboard Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: MSI Z170A GAMING M9 ACK - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i7 6700K - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Cooler: Corsair H110i GT - Buy from Amazon
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB) 2666MHz - Buy from Amazon
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - Boot Drive: Samsung 850 Pro 512GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - SATA6G Drive: Corsair Force LS 240GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Storage - M.2 Drive: Kingston HyperX Predator 240GB PCIe x4 - Buy from Amazon
- Storage - USB Drive: Corsair Voyager GS 64GB - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Corsair AX1200i - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Enterprise - Buy from Amazon
- BIOS: 1.0
- Drivers: Intel INF: 10.1.1.19, Intel ME: 126.96.36.1998, Intel USB 3.0 Adaptation Driver: 10.0.0.42, Intel Serial IO: 30.63.1519.7, NVIDIA Graphics: 353.82, C-Media: 1.00.0022, ASMedia USB 3.1: 188.8.131.52, Killer e2400 INF: 20150725, and Killer 1535 Wireless AC: 184.108.40.2066
This is the new test bench, and it is designed to test every aspect of the motherboard and IO. I have designed it so that the motherboard sits in a case and is cooled by fans always on at a constant rate to keep the conditions similar for all tests. I have cut out part of the case behind the motherboard so I can get thermal images of the back of the PCB where the VRM heat spreads. System and CPU power measurements are now digitally logged.
I am also using a Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2350 for our network (including wireless AC) tests. The latest M.2, SSD, and USB technologies are also being utilized to test the maximum potential of the motherboards that are being tested.
The LEDs provide accent lighting both on and under the PCB. There are even LEDs built into the LAN and two USB ports located on the backpanel IO.
I added light bars to two of the Dominator Platinum DIMMs, but sadly I installed them upside down.
I did install the modular screws on the motherboard and they add the detail one would expect from the display of a $400 motherboard. You do have to use the provided wrench, but it does add a level of security so it is harder to remove the board if you didn't plan on it (like at a LAN party).
PRICING: You can find the MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
United States: The MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK retails for $432 at Amazon.
United Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon UK's website.
Australia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at PLE Computer's website.
Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the Z170A GAMING M9 ACK]
- Page 3 [MSI Z170A GAMING M9 ACK Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [MSI Z170A GAMING M9 ACK Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]
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