Unique M.2 Cooling System: We find two M.2 slots on the motherboard, the top one running at x4 PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU and the bottom running at x4 PCI-E 2.0 from the X470 chipset. All the motherboard vendors now have their unique ways of cooling down the hot running controllers we find on M.2 drives, but MSI's is perhaps one of the most unique. MSI utilizes a hinge mechanism that will basically lift both heat sinks and part of the chipset heat sink allowing you to install two M.2 drives and cool both of them. The good news is that the heat will also extend into the chipset heat sink, so it has more mass and more cooling capacity.
One button BIOS recovery: Now, it's not the first time we have seen BIOS recovery through a mechanism that doesn't require the CPU to be installed, but it's one time we are thrilled to see it. So, it turns out that down the road support for CPUs might/should require BIOS firmware that might not support previous CPUs. With this motherboard it doesn't matter what CPU you currently have; the motherboard can flash the BIOS without a CPU in it, all you need is power and a flash drive with the right BIOS.
OC Features: We find a handy clear CMOS button on the rear IO panel, but we also find a lot of goodies on the PCB. Internally you will find both reset and power buttons, as well as a POST code display and a GAME BOOST knob with preset OC levels.
Lots of RGB Support: On the rear of the PCB and inside some of the IO shields we find addressable RGB LEDs that allow for differing colors within the same strip. However, we also find three types of RGB LED headers. For starters we find two standard 5050 RGB LED headers, then we find an addressable RGB LED header, and finally, we find a JCORSAIR addressable RGB LED header which should be compatible with Corsair's RGB products and other addressable products.
No video output: If you were thinking of utilizing the integrated graphics found in AMD's Ryzen APUs with Vega graphics, think again. The motherboard has no video outputs, so you will always require a dedicated graphics card.
The MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC is priced at around $230, which we think is fair for the amount of features you get. You get solid OC features, rear, and front USB 3.1 support, and even rear and internal amplified audio. We weren't super impressed with the VRM hardware, as many of MSI's competitors utilize more integrated and higher rated power stages on their top end motherboards, but we will say the VRM got the job done.
We liked that MSI utilizes Intel's 2x2 WIFI controller and Killer's latest 1Gbit LAN controller, and we are a fan of their M.2 heat sink contraption. The motherboard is also fun, it provides some decent integrated RGBs, and very versatile RGB LED strip support. If you are in the market for a well-equipped and exciting X470 motherboard, give the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC a look.
Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST
The Bottom Line: Loaded with features for now and the future as well as a wide array of unique technologies, the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC is a solid X470 motherboard.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and X470 Gaming M7 AC Overview]
- Page 3 [MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC 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]