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MSI Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON AC Motherboard Review (Page 2)

By Steven Bassiri on Nov 22, 2017 11:39 am CST
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Packaging and Overview


The box for the Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is simple and shows some color to resemble its RGB LED capabilities. Packaging is basic but done well.


The accessory package includes two SATA6Gb/s cables, RGB LED Y-Splitter/extension cable, JRAINBOW extension cable, Corsair RGB LED extension cable, IO shield, WIFI antenna, SLI HB bridge, Wireless AC card, Wireless AC card USB 2.0 cable, cable labels, manual, and driver DVD.


The Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON AC has a total of six fan headers, each one of them is a PWM/DC mode header that offers either mode of operation. The CPU and Pump headers are circled in red, and they operate in PWM mode by default, and I believe the pump fan header operates at full speed by default. The four system fan headers operate as DC/voltage mode headers by default, but you can switch to PWM mode in the UEFI.

The UEFI and MSI's Command Center Utility in Windows both offer control over all the headers on the motherboard. The back of the motherboard is bare of components except for some drivers for the CPU's VRM.


The rear IO panel features PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse, two USB 2.0 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.1 type-C, USB 3.1 type-A, four USB 3.0 ports, 1Gbit LAN port, and 7.1 gold-plated audio outputs with S/PDIF out.


The PCI-E layout is simple; the top two metal reinforced PCI-E x16 slots operate at x16/x0 or x8/x8. The last x16 slot is x4 PCI-E 3.0 routed to the PCH, and the PCI-E x1 slots are x1 PCI-E 3.0 routed to the PCH. You get two internal USB 3.0 headers, one is right-angled, and one is angled straight up.


You get two PCI-E 3.0 x4/SATA6Gb/s M.2 slots on the motherboard. Each of these two slots shares some bandwidth with the SATA ports; the manual has a detailed description of how SATA ports and the M.2 slots share bandwidth. The top slot has an M.2 shield, which is used to help reduce M.2 drive temperature.


Four of the SATA6Gb/s ports are right-angled while two others are angled up straight. We also find the JRAINBOW (MSI's digital/addressable) LED header in the lower right-hand corner. Two of the USB 2.0 internal headers are located near the SATA ports.


You get a selection jumper for the demo LED button, which controls onboard LEDs without software. The jumper allows the button to switch between modes and colors for those modes. A 5050 RGB header is located in the lower left corner near the audio header, and another is located at the top of the motherboard. EZ Debug LEDs provide some diagnostic capability.


MSI has a second type of addressable/digital RGB LED header called JCORSAIR, and it's specifically designed to control Corsair branded RGB LED strips and fans. The heat sinks are strong and make decent contact with the VRM, but I would check to make sure the screws are tightened all the way.

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Steven Bassiri

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Steven Bassiri

Steven went from a fledgling forum reader in 2003 to one of the internet's brightest stars by 2010. Armed with an information systems degree, a deep understanding of circuitry, and a passion for tech, Steven (handle Sin0822) enjoys sharing his deep knowledge with others. Steven details products down to the component level to highlight seldom explained, and often misunderstood architectures. Steven is also a highly decorated overclocker with several world records under his belt. He brings that knowledge and experience to TweakTown.

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