MSI MEG Z790 Godlike MAX Motherboard Review: the Apex of Features and Price

Best of the best hardware and features and a wallet-emptying price point

MSI MEG Z790 Godlike MAX
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Why you can trust Tom's Hardware Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.


MSI’s BIOS for the Godlike MAX hasn’t changed from the original, or any other MSI board in the last couple of generations for that matter. The menus reside on the sides, and information up top, with a black and red background. It’s a unique look compared to the competition. For Z790, the only updates were functionality for the new processors and chipset. The color scheme is still easy to read, and there’s the usual informative Easy Mode that displays various information about the system and allows for some changes (boot order and XMP enabled). Though different from other UEFIs, it is easy to get around; everything has a place, and the most frequently used options are readily available, not buried within sub-menus.


MSI has a single utility, MSI Center, that covers quite a bit of functionality. From hardware monitoring to RGB control with Mystic Light, there are many applets to choose from within the software and a one-stop shop to download all of the company’s utilities. I wish there were some advanced overclocking options here, but for those looking to use the Gamebar feature, Super Charger, or any other utilities MSI offers, they will all be at your fingertips in MSI Center.

Test System / Comparison Products

We’ve updated our test system to Windows 11 64-bit OS with all updates applied as of mid-October 2023. We kept the same Asus TUF RTX 3070 video card from our previous testing platforms but have updated the driver to the latest, keeping our games, F1 22 and Far Cry 6, the same. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public, unless otherwise noted, using ‘optimized default’ settings except for the memory (XMP). The hardware and drivers we used are as follows:

Test System Components

Swipe to scroll horizontally
CPUIntel Core i9-14900K
MemoryKingston Fury Beast DDR5-6000 CL36 (KF560C36BBEAK2-32)
Row 2 - Cell 0 Teamgroup T-Force Delta RGB DDR5- 7200 CL34 (FF3D516G7200HC34ABK)
Row 3 - Cell 0 Klevv CRAS XR5 RGB (KD5AGUA80-80R380S)
GPUAsus TUF RTX 3070
CoolingCoolermaster MasterLiquid PL360 Flux
PSUEVGA Supernova 850W P6
SoftwareWindows 11 64-bit (22H2)
GraphicsNVIDIA Driver 537.42

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Benchmark Settings

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Synthetic Benchmarks and SettingsRow 0 - Cell 1
ProcyonVersion 2.6.848 64
Row 2 - Cell 0 Office Suite (Office 365), Video Editing (Premiere Pro 23.6), Photo Editing (Photoshop 25.0, Lightroom Classic 12.5)
3DMarkVersion 2.27.8177 64
Row 4 - Cell 0 Firestrike Extreme (v1.1) and Time Spy (v1.2) Default Presets
Cinebench R24Version ‘build unknown’
Row 6 - Cell 0 Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
BlenderVersion 3.6.0
Row 8 - Cell 0 Full benchmark (all 3 tests)
Application Tests and SettingsRow 9 - Cell 1
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Row 11 - Cell 0 Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Row 13 - Cell 0 Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Row 15 - Cell 0 Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 21.03-beta
Row 17 - Cell 0 Integrated benchmark (Command Line)
Game Tests and SettingsRow 18 - Cell 1
Far Cry 6Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HD Textures ON
F1 2022Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, Ultra High (default) Bahrain (Clear/Dry), FPS Counter ON

MORE: Best Motherboards

MORE: How To Choose A Motherboard

MORE: All Motherboard Content

Joe Shields
Motherboard Reviewer

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    You forgot to list that SATA 3-8 will be disabled if you use M.2 slots 3 and 5 as well, because Intel, like AMD, does not equip consumer grade processors with enough PCIe capabilities, likely to prevent cannibalizing their higher margin HEDT parts.

    *PCI_E2 slot will be unavailable when installing M.2 SSD in the M2_4 slot.
    **SATA3~4 will be unavailable when installing M.2 PCIe/ SATA SSD in the M2_3 slot.
    ***SATA5~8 will be unavailable when installing M.2 PCIe SSD in the M2_5 slot.
    ****SATA7~8 will be unavailable when installing M.2 SATA SSD in the M2_5 slot.
  • mdd1963
    I want this, but, due to it's exorbitant price, could only put a 13100 CPU on it..!