MSI launched two of its first socket LGA1151 motherboards based on Intel Z370 chipset, for 8th generation Core “Coffee Lake” desktop processors, the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, and the Z370 GODLIKE Gaming ACK. The company may launch its other motherboards based on this chipset, closer to Intel’s October 5th launch date for the platform. The Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is an upper-performance segment product, which could be priced close to the $200-mark, while the Z370 GODLIKE Gaming could command a >$300 price.
Built in the ATX form-factor, the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC covers all the features you’ll possibly need for a fairly high-end gaming PC build. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the CPU using a 10-phase VRM. The CPU is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory; and two reinforced PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (electrical x8/x8 with both populated). The third x16 slot is electrical gen 3.0 x4, and wired to the Z370 PCH. Three x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion. Storage connectivity includes two 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. One M.2 Shield heatspreader accessory is included.
The wireless networking on the Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC isn’t truly onboard, MSI includes a PCIe x1 add-on card holding the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 mPCIe card, which powers 802.11ac dual-band, at speeds of up to 867 Mbps, and Bluetooth 4.2. The onboard gigabit Ethernet interface is driven by the trusty Intel i219-V controller. The onboard audio solution combines a Realtek ALC1220 (120 dBA SNR) CODEC with audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (from which one is type-C), and eight USB 3.0 ports.
The Z370 GODLIKE Gaming has been extensively teased/leaked in the run-up to the platform launch. Thanks to Intel bumping up core and L3 cache counts on its mainstream desktop processors, you can finally invest in a super-expensive board such as this one, for that high-end desktop feel. Bearing almost E-ATX proportions, this board is packed to the brim with features and connectivity options. It’s targeted at both high-end gaming PC builds, and professional overclockers. Drawing power from 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 6-pin PCIe power connectors, The board features a massive 18-phase VRM to power the CPU, which is wired to four reinforced DDR4 DIMM slots, and four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x4/NC/x4 or x8/x4/x8/x4), from which two slots are wired to the PCH.
Storage connectivity, like previous GODLIKE Gaming SKUs, includes five 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, from which three are on board, and two via a PCIe 3.0 x8 riser card; one 32 Gb/s U.2 port, and six SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Networking includes an insane three gigabit Ethernet interfaces, which are each driven by a Killer E2500 controller; and a Killer 1535 WLAN card, with 802.11 ac + Bluetooth 4.1. Together with a GbE connection, this card makes up Killer DoubleShot wired+wireless teaming. USB connectivity includes four 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 (from which two are type-C), and ten USB 3.0 ports. Its onboard audio combines a Realtek ALC1220, with an ESS Sabre E9018 OPAMP. The board is peppered with onboard OC options, and RGB LED lighting.