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MSI's Z170A SLI Plus Packs All Necessities On All-Black PCB

Even though most Z170 motherboards came out a while ago, manufacturers are still adding new versions from time to time. Today, MSI introduced the Z170A SLI Plus.

The company claimed that the motherboard shares some DNA with the X99A SLI Plus, so hopefully it will be just as good. The Z170A SLI Plus is an ATX board aimed at providing a strong two-way multi-GPU offering, with all the extra gadgets you'll need to build a killer system, but with more subdued looks.

MSI didn't provide a spec sheet, but we do know that the board comes with a heap of features. These include 10 GB/s SuperSpeed+ USB Type-C, Audio Boost technology, Click BIOS 5, and two armored PCI-Express ports. This armor is a strengthening steel cover over the slots, which is supposed to increase the weight they can handle and help with static discharge (even as graphics cards become smaller and lighter).

Additionally, MSI fitted the board with some interesting storage options. Next to a Turbo M.2 slot, the board also has support for SATA-Express and Turbo U.2 storage, which allows you to connect an NVMe SSD for up to 32 Gb/s of storage throughput.

Physically, MSI opted to stick with a very conservative appearance. The board has an all-black design, so the flashiest part of the board is the black anodized heatsinks.

Overall, we've got a very straightforward board on our hands here. It's essentially a gaming board, but without the flashy gaming looks. If you're not digging the black and red design, but want something with a more lavish feature set, this board may be worth considering.

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Niels Broekhuijsen has been with Tom's Hardware since 2012, and works as a Contributing Editor on the news team. He covers mostly hardware, components, and anything else that strikes his fancy. Outside of work, he likes to travel, cook, and fix things that are broken.

You can follow him at @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

  • WildCard999
    MSI did a good job (aesthetics), it has good spacing for SLI/CF and looks great. Would be nice with a Cryorig H7 and maybe white RAM for the black/white look. Can't wait for an official review!
    Reply
  • vaughn2k
    I like its look.. simple yet it rocks!!! :)
    Reply
  • ErikVinoya
    Dayum, that's a sexy black scheme
    Reply
  • JackNaylorPE
    Another welcome "break from the mold" aesthetic effort from MSI. Unlike with Z97, we are not seeing the wide gaming performance swings between manufacturers and models. While MSI hit a cupla home runs w/ Z97 in the Gaming Series, beating many popular boards (Hero, Formula, Gene) by 6 - 7% in performance, they also had a few bombs like MPower Max AC which matched the lowly performance of the Z97-A and the Krait which while it looked great was a performance disaster.

    This time around w/ Z170, I haven't seen more than a 1 - 2% difference between boards. So with little to differentiate them performance wise, aesthetics will figure into more purchase decisions.

    OTOH, the MSI Z170A XPower Gaming Titanium is frakin gorgeous and matches up well with the silver reference GFX card coolers and this will match up with almost everything else. Where I think they missed the boat, and a good source of income is in selling matching backplates.

    Offering backplates to match the boards would be a great move. With 3rd party acrylic versions selling for $40, a metal one that acted as an additional heat sink would sell well I think. That and making the color swatches on the cooler shroud "peel 'n stick" as Asus did some years ago, would complete the customization options . Using the screening process they used on the Titanium MoBo to imprint the circuitry or other graphics would take it to the edge and w/o a significant cost impact.
    Reply
  • MaqDrew
    But MSI has the one little problem to their OC MoBo..... there is no extra oc sockets for cpu....... while asus built that
    Reply
  • zeshanbilal
    Nice! I have not scene any type of solution instead of MSI now :)
    See SoftwaresPatch
    Reply