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MSI Z270 Gaming M7 Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Jan 9, 2017 8:55 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Z270 GAMING M7 Circuit Analysis Continued

 

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When I first saw the audio section, I was a little taken aback by the fact that there are two Realtek ALC1220 codecs. The new codec offers 120 dB SNR, and each one has an integrated amplifier. MSI is using two, one for the backpanel audio and another for the front panel header, Nichicon Gold series electrolytic audio capacitors, as well as PCB division, to help improve audio quality.

 

You might also notice a shield that says VR Boost, and it is funny that this component has a shield over it since it is already covered by plastic shielding for the audio and PCI-E area. I am not sure what is underneath, perhaps a re-driver or repeater, but I was not able to remove it.

 

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MSI is using the brand new Killer e2500, the successor to the e2400. Near the NIC are two ASM1464 USB repeaters to improve USB signaling. Two more ASM1464 can be found near the internal USB 3.0 header.

 

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There is one ASMedia ASM2142 USB 3.1 controller along with an ASMedia ASM1543 type-C switch and CC logic for the rear USB 3.1 ports, and another ASM2142 for the internal USB 3.1 header. The new controller succeeds the ASM1142, offering the ability to hook up two PCI-E 3.0 ports for a total of 16Gb/s of PCH bandwidth for the 10Gb/s USB 3.1 port.

 

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The SuperIO is the nuvoTon NCT6795D, and there are multiple NCT5605 secondary ICs located around the board, perhaps to expand fan control. There are also multiple ASM1480 PCI-E quick switches to switch PCI-E bandwidth between the U.2, M.2, and SATA ports. The motherboard uses a single 128Mbit ROM. You don't have to go far to find more ASMedia ASM1464 repeaters; they are all over the place.

 

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Four ASMedia ASM1480 switch x8 PCI-E 3.0 between the first and second x16 slots. MSI provides an IDT clock buffer to help improve BCLK overclocking margins and accuracy.

 

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A single NXP level shifter provides the HDMI 1.4a port from the digital video output from the iGPU.

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