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MSI Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Feb 8, 2017 3:44 am
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Packaging and Overview

 

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MSI's box is just as silver as the motherboard itself; the color is very close to that of the PCB and heat sinks. Packaging is top notch, as it should be with such an expensive motherboard.

 

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If you love accessories, you will love the Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium. The package includes six SATA 6Gb/s cables, six v-check cables, SLI connector, IO shield, driver DVD, manuals, 1-to-2 RGB LED Y cable, OC Dashboard, OC dashboard cable, modular screw package, USB Xpander, USB Xpander cable, and SATA cable labels.

 

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The USB Xpander daughterboard takes in a single USB 2.0 header and a MOLEX power connector and outputs four USB 2.0 internal headers. It uses two GL850G USB 2.0 hubs. MSI's OC Dashboard has buttons and switches of all types to change the BCLK and multipler on-the-fly, enable slow-mode, enable fast boot, discharge CMOS power, as well as turn the system on and off and reset. You can mount the OC Dashboard on the motherboard directly, or use the included cable to move it away from the motherboard.

 

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The motherboard has six DC/PWM fan headers circled in blue. All headers are auto-sensing, so they will detect the type of fan and mode to use. You can manually change the mode in the UEFI as well as set fan curves and profiles.

 

The motherboard's heat sinks, shields, and PCB match quite well. An issue with matching silver/white is that there are many different shades of silver/white. MSI has done a nice job of ensuring they have the right shades. The aesthetic appeal of this motherboard might be enough to justify its price, of course, you can match any color to white, so you don't have to go with an all-white themed build.

 

The PCI-E x16 slots, the memory DIMMs, and even the U.2 and M.2 ports all have some metal shielding. There is also an M.2 shield, which is supposed to help cool down M.2 SSDs. Many people will only see the back of their motherboard once when they install their heat sink mounting hardware. However, if you have a thing for the back of motherboards, like I do, then you will really like the tattooed PCB silkscreen that resembles electrical trace routing.

 

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The rear IO panel features PS/2, three USB 2.0 ports (the single port angled 90 degrees is for BIOS recovery), four USB 3.0 ports (MSI uses USB-IF's vernacular, aka. USB 3.1 Gen 1), USB 3.1 type-C (USB 3.1 Gen 2), USB 3.1 type-A, two Gbit LAN ports, Clear CMOS button, DisplayPort, HDMI, gold plated audio ports, and S/PDIF digital.

 

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The motherboard features four PCI-E x16 slots, all of them are reinforced with metal shrouds. The first three slots are wired to the CPU and can operate at x16/x0/x0, x8/x0/x8, or x8/x4/x4. The last x16 slot operates at x4 and is wired to the PCH. All PCI-E bandwidth is PCI-E gen 3. The motherboard features six SATA6Gb/s ports angled 90 degrees, a USB 3.0 internal header angled 90 degrees, and a U.2 port.

 

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The motherboard has three M.2 slots, and yes, you can use them all at the same time. The center M.2 slot has MSI's M.2 shield, which looks quite nice since most M.2 vendors put their stickers on upside down and it can ruin the aesthetics of the build. There is a lot of bandwidth sharing between the M.2 and SATA ports, and you will need to look at page 39 in the manual to figure out what ports to use. MSI has a nifty case by case picture based diagram for the different possible combinations. At the top right corner of the motherboard is the header for the OC Dashboard, as well as voltage read points, and a USB BIOS Flashback button.

 

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Two SATA6Gb/s ports are angled straight up and reside below the 24-pin power connector. The motherboard does offer a second USB 3.0 internal header at the bottom row of headers near two USB 2.0 headers.

 

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MSI has a Game Boost knob/switch that allows you to select a pre-determined OC level for the system. There are multiple levels, and you can use the switch, or identical BIOS presets for automatic overclocking. Power and reset buttons are also included. Near the two USB 2.0 internal headers are the POST Code display, PCI-E slot disable switches, and an RGB LED header.

 

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MSI has put a little hole into the underside of the CPU socket so extreme overclockers can insert a thermocouple to read the CPU temperature in extreme environments. All the heat sinks and shield are held down by screws. The VRM and PCH heat sink are designed more for function over fashion.

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