Like other Z170 motherboards I have reviewed, MSI seems to have revamped the welcome screen of their new UEFI. There is now an easy mode where more basic BIOS configuration options are displayed. You can change your boot order or even setup your fans, and there is also an option to change the "Game Boost" OC dial from hardware to software mode. If you want more advanced options, just press F7 and then from then on the BIOS will default to the advanced mode. The advanced mode is much more intricate, all the settings you might need for overclocking are present. Some people were wondering if MSI has added offset overclocking, and they have in fact added offset overclocking to all voltage modes including adaptive and override.
The BIOS is as stable as others I have seen from other vendors. The only thing I have to nitpick at is that the reboots can be extensive after clearing the CMOS, but that isn't something unique to MSI at all, almost all Z170 motherboards act this way. MSI's BIOS is quite useful and provides everything from GUI based fan control which lets you pick and choose the temperature sensor to use for smart fan curves, and you can visually set the curves. There is something I should mention about the fan control; the two CPU fan headers only provide PWM mode control meaning that 3-pin voltage mode fans will run at 100% since they don't use that extra fourth pin for control. The three system fan headers have voltage mode control and can control all fans through the voltage method. If you have PWM fans, you should use the CPU fan headers.
MSI is using both a CMedia audio controller and a Killer NIC, each has their own software suite. The CMedia is similar to that of sound cards which use the CMedia controller, and Killer's offers their DoubleShot Pro technology for intelligent Wi-Fi and NIC teaming.
The Killer software is separate from the driver, so if you don't care for it, then you don't have to install it to begin with. You must also enable the DoubleShot Pro technology if you want to team the Wi-Fi and LAN, but it is kind of cool seeing the Wi-Fi charts and which access points have better signal quality.
MSI has their own software suite as well. MSI's Live Update 6, Command Center, ECO Center, Super Charger, and Fast Boot are a few titles. MSI recently launched a CPU-Z skin as well and it looks pretty neat.
Nahimic Audio software is also provided which can help enhance options and provide different audio effects while gaming.
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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