MSI Z370 Godlike Gaming 'Coffee Lake' Motherboard Review

How We Test

Since this is the first Z370 motherboard in our review series, we’re including the data for one motherboard that hasn’t yet been reviewed, along with the data for two of the Core i7-8700K’s predecessors: The four-core Core i7-7700K that it replaces, and the six-core Core i7-7800X that features additional PCIe lanes and DDR4 channels at a similar price.

SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
Graphics DriverGeForce 382.53

Back during the X299 launch, I upgraded my test bed to handle the tremendous heat produced by the Core i9-7900X. Our award-winning Fractal Design S24 liquid cooler system sample serves the same purpose for the newer, lower heat Core i7-8700K. Cooler Master’s HAF-XB provides an optimal layout to blow the Celsius S24’s fans sufficiently over each motherboard’s voltage regulator.

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 8Version 2.7.613
Home, Creative, Work, Storage, Applications (Adobe & Microsoft)
3DMark 13Version 4.47.597.0
Skydiver, Firestrike, Firestrike Extreme Default Presets
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2016.03.22.21
CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth
DiskSPD4k Random Read, 4k Random Write
128k Sequential Read, 128k Sequential Write
Cinebench R15Build RC83328DEMO
OpenGL Benchmark
CompuBenchVersion 1.5.8
Face Detection, Optical Flow, Ocean Surface, Ray Tracing
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.9
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19 GB 4k mkv to x265 mp4
Blender Version 2.68a
BMW 27 CPU Render Benchmark, BMW 27 GPU Render Benchmark
7-ZipVersion 16.02
THG-Workload (7.6 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=9"
Adobe After Effects CCRelease 2015.3.0, Version 13.8.0.144
PCMark driven routine
Adobe Photoshop CCRelease 2015.5.0. 20160603.r.88 x64
PCMark driven routine (light and heavy)
Adobe InDesign CCRelease 2015.4, Build 11.4.0.90 x64
PCMark driven routine
Adobe IllustratorRelease 2015.3.0, Version 20.0.0 (64-bit)
PCMark driven routine
Game Tests and Settings
Ashes of SingularityVersion 1.31.21360
High Preset - 1920x1080, Mid Shadow Quality, 1x MSAA
Crazy Preset - 1920x1090, High Shadow Quality, 2x MSAA
F1 20152015 Season, Abu Dhabi Track, Rain
Medium Preset, No AF
xUltra High Preset, 16x AF
Metro Last Light ReduxVersion 3.00 x64
High Quality, 1920x1080, High Tesselation, 16x AF
Very High Quality, 1920x1080, Very High Tesselation, 16x AF
The Talos PrincipleVersion 267252
Medium Preset, High Quality, High Tesselation, 4x AF
Ultra Preset, VeryHigh Quality, VeryHigh Tesselation, 16x AF

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  • karma77police
    Nice board!
  • John Philips
    If AMD really wanted to bury Intel, they should release a mainstream cpu with at least 24 PCIE lanes and higher clock .
  • Embra
    Looks to be $500.
  • michaelhinchey
    Why are the hdmi specs never included with these reviews?
  • wirelessmikey
    whats with the video, never works!!!
  • berezini.2013
    Not even going to read this article. All msi products are garbage.
  • berezini.2013
    Ever since the all-msi build I have done; (Half the motherboard caught on fire with default settings, melted speaker cables near the case, and all caps poped like popcorn in the popcorn popper, I've never looked at another msi product and never had any dangerous issues again) Im way better off. BTW Msi motherboard and MSI graphics cards together are not compatible. Don't even try.
  • BugariaM
    What about VRM design?
    Again a handful of cheap 2c mosfets from NIKOS?

    Well, purely my opinion - instead of the three useless Killer E2500 PCIe, it's better to have one Intel-based NIC

    ---
    Pretty superficial review ...
    Where is tech p0rn?
  • mablt
    Well, tech issues aside - IMHO it is the best named board ever - "Godlike Gaming with a Coffee Lake processor" - the imagery is stupendous! ;^)
  • Crashman
    2564531 said:
    Why are the hdmi specs never included with these reviews?

    The specs table drops down to reveal this:

    Video Ports


    I hope that answers your question :D
  • samer.forums
    Such expensive boards for Z series should never exist. people will never pay $500 for 16 lanes motherboard what so ever ...

    The whole point about the Z series is lower price point ... lower lanes (16 only) , half memory bandwidth (no Quad channels) . why would any one pay a high price for a product designed to be entry level ?
  • samer.forums
    2559264 said:
    Not even going to read this article. All msi products are garbage.



    wrong, Their Graphics Products are the best .. they have the best cooler in the market . Silent and best performance. The x series .
  • michaelhinchey
    I used to live in California. They need more lanes too. Just like these boards.
  • Lucky_SLS
    ^ nice one.

    It's usually Asus that comes with the most extravagant go to board for overclockers and those with too much cash. Hoping that this time there will actually be some competition ;)
  • C_peter
    Too many cooks spoil the soup. The article mentioned some features aren't available when another set of features is active. So not buying it.
  • Crashman
    2215566 said:
    Too many cooks spoil the soup. The article mentioned some features aren't available when another set of features is active. So not buying it.

    That should be "too many cooks spoils the broth". Without the extra "s", it could mean "many cooks spoil broth...too many". But with the extra "s" your treating the "many cooks" as a singular group, rather than a plural of individual cooks :D
    Proof of this can be found by changing "too many cooks" to "too much input".

    BTW, I see official grammar sites would disagree with my assessment, but that's because they aren't actually thinking about what's being said. Instead they're apply the rules for the sake of rules. Such is the case with "Sandy and I went to the market" but then "And Bill went to the market with Sandy and me". The "me" will make them throw fits until they actually think about what's being said. My experience with language professors indicates that most will refuse to consider these special cases.

    We can still refer to the original, and I can say that the original author was grammatically correct when he wrote:
    "When an undertaking hath been committed to many, it caused but confusion, and therefore it is a saying, Too many Cooks spoils the Broth".

    To avoid argument, it's better to say "too much change spoils the result" rather than "too many changes spoil/spoils the result". And that type of argument avoidance can also be shown in the earlier version of the broth saying: "The more cooks the worse pottage"

    Then again, fine words butter no parsnips...
  • Matthew Renna
    Actually, this is one fancy looking board, I wouldn't like it very much because it lacks any older style pci slots and only has one pci express slot. While it has four slots for gpus, I would rather have the extra pci express and pci slots than being able to add four gpus.
  • Matthew Renna
    lol I meant to type although in the beginning of the comment.
  • Crashman
    2406551 said:
    Actually, this is one fancy looking board, I wouldn't like it very much because it lacks any older style pci slots and only has one pci express slot. While it has four slots for gpus, I would rather have the extra pci express and pci slots than being able to add four gpus.


    Well then use the bottom slot as an x1 and maybe avoid some PCIe pathway conflicts in the process?

    2406551 said:
    lol I meant to type although in the beginning of the comment.


    Allllrighty then!
  • Matthew Renna
    wait you can use a gpu slot as a x1?