MSI Z270i Gam­ing Pro Car­bon AC

PC GAMER (UK) - - Hardware -

www.msi.com £170

Love them or loathe them Mini-ITX sys­tems are here to stay. And with In­tel’s lat­est Z270 chipset adding ad­di­tional PCI lanes, ex­panded USB sup­port, and even more op­por­tu­ni­ties for moth­er­board man­u­fac­tur­ers to beef up the ITX form­fac­tor, this se­ries should be quite in­ter­est­ing. MSI’s Z270i Gam­ing Pro Car­bon, long name aside, is the per­fect part­ner if you’re build­ing a tiny desk­top sys­tem. Ca­pa­ble of sup­port­ing mem­ory up to 3800MT/s, CPU over­clocks near­ing 5.2GHz, and a PCIe SSD on the back, its price is more than jus­ti­fied.

How­ever, it isn’t with­out its flaws. Over the last three gen­er­a­tions we’ve seen rear I/O USB port num­bers drop from eight to five, and with a sin­gle USB 3.0 header for front panel con­nec­tions, plug­ging in all of your pe­riph­er­als is be­com­ing more dif­fi­cult with­out an ad­di­tional hub. That aside, over­all per­for­mance is well within what I ex­pected, with bench­mark vari­ances less than 5% be­tween this and the other boards we cur­rently have in-house, with power draw be­ing nearly 16W lower un­der load than its higher priced ATX coun­ter­parts.

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