Here are key points about the MSI Z270 Gaming M7.
Triple M.2 and even one U.2: There are many boards with two M.2 slots, but not many with three, let alone many with three M.2 with a U.2 port in the sub $300 segment. MSI even tosses in a heat sink for one of the M.2 slots.
Dual ALC1220: The Z270 Gaming M7 might be the first board I have seen with two of the same codec. MSI did this so that users would get an amplifier for the front and rear without having to use sub-120dB outputs the codecs provide.
USB 3.1 at the rear and front : Most motherboards have rear USB type-C and type-A, but not many have the brand new 20-pin USB 3.1 front panel header. The new header isn't very common because of its high price, but the Z270 Gaming M7 has one.
Signal Quality: By using multiple redrivers and repeaters, MSI is ensuring optimal signal quality for the USB ports on the motherboard.
USB BIOS Recovery: I was happy to find most of the basic OC features one might expect to find on a Z270 motherboard costing over $200, but I didn't expect to find USB BIOS recovery on an MSI motherboard. However, the Z270 Gaming M7 provides USB BIOS recovery.
Appeasing Aesthetics: While most products have RGB LEDs, not all of them utilize them in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, either the light glares into your eyes or the design is tacky. MSI did a nice job of diffusing the RGBs everywhere they put them, resulting in a product that doesn't scream light. The all black color theme is also one many case modders will appreciate, since everything matches black.
Rear USB 3.0: The Z270 Gaming M7 only has two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 3.1 type-A port at the rear IO. Of course, if you are okay with USB 2.0, then there are three at the rear IO.
Most motherboard vendors don't take big risks with aesthetics, and this can be seen when we look at lower-end products with designs that the community asks for, while mid and high-end products always play it safe.
MSI took a risk making their Z270 Gaming M7 all black, and I think it will pay off because RGB LEDs make it so that users can choose their motherboard's color theme, and MSI's implementation of the RGB LEDs is quite well done.
Overall, the motherboard carries almost every feature you might expect from a sub-$300 motherboard, it overclocks well, and compared to other boards in its class, it offers slightly more storage options. The amount of features you get from the Z270 Gaming M7 at its price point is worth noting, making the Z270 Gaming M7 an excellent value.
If you are looking for a motherboard in the $200-$300 with a lot of value, the Z270 Gaming M7 is worth a look.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Performance (including Overclocking)||90%|
|Quality including Design and Build||92%|
|Bundle and Packaging||90%|
|Value for Money||93%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||92%|
The Bottom Line: At the $200-$300 price point, competition is fierce, but MSI's Z270 Gaming M7 offers excellent value through many features matched with a solid UEFI and overclocking.
PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and Z270 GAMING M7 Overview]
- Page 3 [MSI Z270 GAMING M7 Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [MSI Z270 GAMING M7 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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