MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Review

Written by Antony Leather

September 11, 2015 | 09:09

Tags: #best-z170-board #lga1151 #lga1151-board #micro-atx-board #skylake #z170

Companies: #msi

Test Setup

We've revamped a lot of our test gear and benchmarks for our Skylake CPU and motherboard testing to bring them a little more up to date. Games are still a questionmark when it comes to Intel's mainstream setups - even X99 systems with two GPUs struggle to reveal much of a difference in performance so the difference in our single R9 390X-based system will be even smaller. We've chosen Alien: Isolation as it's one of the more CPU-limited games we've seen, along with Unigine Valley and 3DMark Firestrike.

MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Review MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Review - Test Setup
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For the 2D tests, we've largely matched our X99 suite of tests, with PCMark's video and image editing tests, Terragen 3 and Cinebench R15 and finally idle and load power consumption. In terms of hardware, our major upgrades for our future LGA1151 and Z170 testing are an XFX AMD R9 390X and 16GB (2 x 8GB) 2,666MHz Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory. There are plenty of quad channel kits around but seeing as Skylake only supports dual-channel memory configurations, it makes more sense to opt for a dual-channel kit. This particular kit retails for around £100 so is perfect for a new Skylake system.

We've also updated to Windows 10 - so long as we don't run into any issues we'll continue to use it. To test at stock speed we load the XMP preset to match the memory's rated speed and timings but leave all other settings at default.

MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Review MSI Z170A Gaming M5 Review - Test Setup
Click to enlarge

Thanks to Corsair for supplying the PSU, memory and CPU cooler, to OCZ, Samsung and Kingston for the SSDs, to Intel for the CPU, to XFX for the graphics card and Microcool for the test bench.


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