January 12, 2018 // 1 p.m.
UK price (as reviewed): £134.99 (inc. VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $139.99 (exc. tax)
While we love to lust over boards such as the Asus Maximus X Hero or MSI Z370 Godlike Gaming, the fact is few of us need the extra features or indeed have that amount of cash to throw at a motherboard. It's easy to question spending more when cheaper boards overclock just as well and still offer a great EFI, fan control, RGB lighting, and all the usual ports and connectors?
That's where MSI's Z370 SLI Plus comes in. At £135 or even less if you shop around, this is one of the cheapest Z370 boards around, but most importantly, it hasn't skimped on features.
We also think it looks pretty good, with some subtle lighting around the PCB and a mostly black design with a smattering of grey on the larger power circuitry heatsinks that house a 10-phase power delivery. You also get an I/O shroud too, which makes the board look very premium and grown up compared to a lot of boards in this price range.
Amazingly, MSI hasn't cut back in other areas either. You get two M.2 ports, and while neither includes a heatsink, they both support either SATA- or PCIe-based SSDs. It also uses Realtek's ALC1220 audio codec, which is the same you'll see on boards costing twice as much. There's a handy six fan headers with one dedicated for AIO pumps, and you get a four-pin RGB LED header to add some visual pizazz to your PC.
You get the standard six SATA 6Gbps ports and a generous helping of PCIe ports, too, including a trio of 1x ports and a handy 16x port at the base of the PCB. There are two USB 3.0 headers, and MSI has used an ASMedia controller to offer Type-A and Type-C USB 3.1 ports on the rear I/O panel. These are in addition to two USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0 ports here; seven Type-A ports in total is a decent amount for a board at this price.
The rear panel also sports the full amount of audio jacks including an optical output, with the obvious omission here being the lack of Wi-Fi aerial ports - you'll need to invest in your own adaptor if you're not able to hook up physically to your router.