Aesthetics: The motherboard features decent heat sinks, and the good news here is that the metal part of one section of the VRM heat sink covers up the rear IO. The motherboard also has addressable RGBs on the backside of the right of the motherboard, and it creates a nice reflection of a rainbow. Next up we have both RGB and addressable RGB LED headers and even a Corsair specific header.
Audio: MSI's audio implementation here is quite good. Testing results show the implementation of the ALC1220 is solid and the audio capacitors and physical PCB divide produce good results. The extra amplifier is nice as well, so you will get your front panel audio amplified.
Intel NICs: While the 1x1 WIFI is from Intel (9462) is rated up to 433Mbps, it's the latest generation. The Intel wired NIC is also a solid choice.
Rear USB Count: While the rear IO has both USB 3.1 type-C and type-A, there are only a total of five USB ports on the rear IO, and two of them are USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0. MSI should have stacked the DP and HDMI ports and added in two more USB ports.
MSI's Z390 GAMING EDGE AC is priced right at the $189 mark, and while there is a lot of competition at that price point, the MSI Z390 Gaming Edge AC holds up. It offers a variety of features, and the VRM, while not the most robust, gets the job done.
Fan control is one other aspect we didn't mention earlier, but the board has a high number of fan headers, which will help you use more fans to cool down the system. Overall, we were impressed with certain specific aspects of the motherboard. Z390 motherboards are expensive by default, and finding a good value under $200 can be hard. You should give the Z390 Gaming Edge AC a look if you are in that price range.
The Bottom Line: Chiming just under the $200 mark, MSI's Z390 Gaming Edge AC offers a solid amount of features and solid aesthetics in a decent package.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and Z390 Gaming Edge AC Overview]
- Page 3 [MSI Z390 Gaming Edge AC Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [MSI Z390 Gaming Edge 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]