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MSI Z370 GODLIKE GAMING Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Oct 20, 2017 6:07 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Packaging and Overview

 

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The box for the Z370 GODLIKE GAMING has decent box art showing off the RGB LED capabilities of the built-in LEDs. The motherboard itself sits in its own box, and the accessories are in their own separate box. Everything is well protected from the elements.

 

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The accessory package includes eight black braided SATA6Gb/s cables, two red braided SATA6Gb/s cables, IO shield, magnetic IO shield covers, 6.3mm to 3.5mm audio jack converter, three thermistor cables, RGB LED Y extension cable, SLI HB bridge, Case Badge, antenna, USB Xpander, M.2 XPander-Z, USB XPander Cable, SATA cable labels, Rainbow LED extension cable, rainbow LED digital RGB strip, driver DVD, manuals.

 

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The Z370 GODLIKE GAMING has a total of ten fan headers, the most of any Z370 motherboard I have dealt with. All the fan headers offer hybrid PC/PWM mode operation, and the CPU header circled in red is in PWM mode by default, while the other headers circled in yellow or blue are DC mode by default. The header circled in yellow is rated up to 1.5A and works as a pump header if you like. All headers can reference different temperature sensors including external thermistor sensors (included) that plug into the three green headers. The motherboard's black and gray design makes it perfect for dark builds and case modders who want the motherboard to disappear into the background. There is a healthy number of RGB LEDs built into the motherboard, and they are used in a novel manner. The VRM is cooled from behind as well, which is promising.

 

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The rear IO panel features PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse, six USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, three 1Gbit LAN ports (can act as a switch, one will be disabled depending on M.2 and the last PCI-E x16 slot), PS/2 keyboard/mouse, clear CMOS button, WIFI antenna, 6.3mm headphone jack, and 7.1 gold-plated audio outputs with S/PDIF out.

 

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The PCI-E layout is simple; the top three x16 slots operate at x16/x0/x0, x8/x0/x8, or x8/x4/x4. The last PCI-E x16 slot is wired x4 to the PCH. However, it shares bandwidth with one of the M.2 slots, one of the Killer NICs, and two of the SATA ports. The motherboard does support up to 2-way SLI, but it also supports 4-way CrossFireX. The motherboard features three x4 PCI-E 3.0 M.2 slots. M2_1 will disable SATA1 if a SATA M.2 drive is used. M2_2 and the U.2 share bandwidth, and SATA5 will be disabled if you use a SATA based M.2 drive. M2_3 will disable the x1 PCI-E slot, the last x16 PCI-E slot, and the third Killer NIC if a PCI-E M.2 drive is used, or it will only disable SATA3 if a SATA based M.2 drive is used. The M.2 slots all have MSI's M.2 heatshields.

 

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The motherboard includes eight SATA cables, but it only offers six SATA 6Gb/s ports (at least you can mix the colors around). The motherboard also features a right-angled USB 3.0 header and a USB 3.1 internal type-C header. To determine how SATA ports, M.2 ports, the U.2 port, and PCI-E ports will work with each other, please reference the manual as it has illustrations for different configurations.

 

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We also get one 8-pin power connector and one 4-pin power connector on the motherboard. A six-pin PCI-E power connector can be found in the middle of the motherboard right above the PCI-E slots.

 

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Two overclocking jumpers to force BIOS entry and to retry BIOS settings can be found at the top of the motherboard. We find a POST code display at the top of the motherboard, power and reset buttons, as well as a Game Boost button that will apply auto overclocking. Voltage read points are located at the top right corner of the board.

 

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MSI's digital RGB LED header is called the JRAINBOW and has four pins (one extra than others for clock). We also find a clear CMOS jumper, slow mode jumper, FlashBack button, and USB 3.0 internal header in the lower-right hand corner. BIOS selection switch, a PCI-E disable DIP switch, and three USB 2.0 internal headers are located at the bottom of the motherboard.

 

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We find an RGB LED header near the HD audio header on the motherboard. While MSI's VRM heat sinks do have a plastic top, they have a lot of fins and surface area right below the plastic covers.

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