MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon
Amusingly, the eponymous carbon fibre flourishes are the least appealing thing about this board’s design. Otherwise it’s a decent mid-range option with great performance. As the price indicates, some of the more premium touches are missing.
6You get plastic IO shrouding, chunky colour coordinated heatsinks, a matt black PCB and some RGB lighting. The CPU mount is plain metal, there are no heatpipes to assist cooling, no cover for the audio section and you miss out on a power button.
But back to that carbon. MSI has managed to take the edge off what would’ve been quite a nice simple, sedate design by plastering all the plastic sections with faux carbon fibre. It’s not my thing.
Otherwise there’s a lot to like. You’ve got plenty of connectivity on the backplate, a neat metal cover for your M.2 drives and quality audio. All told, it’s a well balanced selection.
What’s more, this board had no issues with installation or configuration. Nearly every other one had a moment where a reset was needed or a setting-change failed. Here, it just worked.
The same was true when it came to overclocking. I dialed in 5GHz and 1.34V and away it went, and the resulting performance was class-leading.