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MSI Z370 TOMAHAWK (Intel Z370) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Feb 17, 2018 4:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Packaging and Overview

 

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The box for the Z370 TOMAHAWK features box art that insinuates the motherboard is not only colorful but powerful like a Tomahawk missile. Sometimes I wonder if customs opens the package just because of the motherboard model name (joke). Packaging is decent as well.

 

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The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s cables, IO shield, RGB LED extension cable, case badge, manual, and driver DVD.

 

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The Z370 TOMAHAWK has six fan headers, all of them are rated up to 1A and support both PWM and DC operational modes. The four headers circled in blue are in DC mode by default while the two headers circled in red are in PWM mode by default. The headers can be controlled and changed through the UEFI or through MSI's Windows application.

 

 

The motherboard's color theme is simple and uses a mixture of materials to resemble different parts. They have tried to make the motherboard look militaristic with metal paneling on the PCH, bolts in the IO cover, and shaping on the VRM heat sinks. I personally like how it looks, and many others will too because the motherboard is simple and can fade into the background if users wish. The back of the motherboard is bare of any ICs.

 

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

 

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The PCI-E layout is a bit odd. The first slot is directly routed to the CPU, and it's the only x16 slot routed to the CPU. You are limited to CrossFireX on this motherboard. The three x1 slots and bottom two x16 slots are routed to the PCH. Two of the x1 slots share bandwidth (you can only use one at a time).

 

The middle x16 slot is x4 routed to the PCH and shares all of its bandwidth with the bottom M.2 slot. The last x16 slot is actually x1 electrical. If you want to run CrossFireX, you need to use the first x16 slot and the middle x16 (x4) slot. The bottommost M.2 slot shares all bandwidth with the x4 PCI-E x16 slot, but if used with a SATA based M.2 drive the x4 slot will still work but SATA5 won't work.

 

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The top M.2 slot is routed to the PCH and supports PCI-E and SATA based drives, but if you use a SATA based drive, SATA1 will be disabled. The motherboard also features six PCH connected SATA6Gb/s ports.

 

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Two USB 3.0 internal headers are located above the SATA ports, one is right-angled and the other is straight angled. There are also boot diagnostic LEDs located above the 24-pin power connector.

 

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At the bottom of the motherboard, we find two USB 2.0 internal headers and our front panel headers. An RGB LED header can be found at the bottom of the motherboard.

 

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The heat sinks are all screwed into the motherboard and they seem to make solid contact with the MOSFETs.

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