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Pros: This thing is small and can deliver a knockout blow to full size rigs.
I love MSI's bios they are so good. 1 button OC worked like a charm taking a 6600k from 3.5 to stable 4.1
and it seen my correct memory timings by it's self. I did not have to enter in anything. This was a nice change!
It loaded windows 10 really quickly and smooth on the m.2. (windows 7 ..was a bad experience)
I was able to modify it to take a 60 pcix4 m.2
The wifi ac is fast and the blutooth works with multi devices and has great range.
I personally love the antennas being on board vs a long cable. 1 less thing to carry
the z170 chipset is a great one.
Corsair 115 fit perfectly over head. fans and everything had plenty of room.
The back Lan and 2 usb ports light up red and provide a bit of illumination to see other ports and that's nice.
It's so tiny but carries a big stick.
The build I just did was this mobo in a phantex ethoes mini with a 6600k 32gigs @2400 a msi gtx 1070
and a 512 samsung M.2 that runs at 1200MB r/w and is watercooled. Needless to say when the client shows up to lans it turns heads and anyone who knows a dam thing can respect it's stats.
I pulled a 3dmark score of 5500+ with a 6600k and a 1070 on 2400mhz memory and 6k on PCmark8
Cons: First I am a hard sell professional builder. So I will tell you everything I found wrong with my ideal build in the hopes someone from MSI see this and makes changes.
Don't try installing windows 7 using a m.2 on this thing. You will have a bad time. This MB just hates windows 7. installs are a pain and you have to set the bios to a special mode just to use the keyboard or mouse. After that you will find it will not see your m.2 as the windows installation doesn't support it and good luck getting the drivers to load. I spent several hours before I just said F it and loaded 10.
2. It only has 1 normal usb header. I like to run i series coolers and psu's so because of this I had to modify a cable to a Y splitter.
3. the M.2 does not support the 60 sticks. Why i don't know. The work around seems to be ppl just tapping the stick to the board. as there is a chip right were the screw should go. I personally attacted a spring like lever to keep it pushed in.
4. It is a ITX So things def get cramped. You know what i'm waiting for. A MB that just has every conector on the sides so you can do clean cable management. There isn't enough room to really make this thing pretty when you got audio and usb ports next to the back plate or power conectors at the top. Also the sata's are kinda spread out so cable management if your trying to run 5+ drives might be weird. But honestly .. who needs 1/2 that many sata's when you got m.2 support.
5. I wish this card was just black.. It is stupid to pick our colors for us. We get it .. you like red, sometimes white ..Just go pure black and give us RGB accent lights next time please.
6. more than 2 slots of memory would have been nice but oh well. I just wish it suppported more than 32gig for future proofing.
7. It didn't come with the famous front panel cheater adapter other msi MB's did. Like honestly that's why i bought my first MSI product and if you were ever to need that it's on a itx build for sure. Also it's got a 2nd separate front panel connector that i didn't even mess with, not even sure what that's for.
8. It didn't come with a cool case badge or anything by the time it's all said and done you really don't see that much of the MB So i would of appreciated a sticker that said MSI GAMING MB z170 or something like that.
Other Thoughts: Once installed correctly this board can kick some serious tail. It's got every feature you basicly need for the avg build and then some. It does over clock nice.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: It looks great and preforms very well. Spanks 970's and i pulled 5500+ with a 6600k on the new 3dmark timespy .
The back plate is absolutely beautiful and you can not hear the fans when they are on max. Doesn't seem to pull barely any wattage on idle. (corsair i series psu reports)
They give you red rubber covers for everything! Sorry but I love these. In all my years I only got gunk in a USB port and it did cause gremlins but I love having covers for everything and this card even has them for the SLI bridge ports.
Cons: I am going to seriously nit pick as I want to share the hiccups I found.
1 the gaming app is garbage. The LED lights can only be changed when you are running it and I found that app caused the gpu to crash or throttle down for no reason on things like 3dmark. I would get scores like 5500+ then run it again to get 2200 because the card decided to down clock in between tests. I wish the card had a soft bios to store settings so you didn't have to mess with that app every time. Also by default the app doesn't turn on in startup in windows So unless you add it to the startup items .. you have to manually start it each and every time you reset your machine.
2. the card is quite large and heavy as some have said. I could see where this could sag over time. That back plate def adds some weight.
3. I'm not sure what it is 100% but stock this card wants to upclock and down clock like mad. I can't seem to get it to just lock in and stay at a stable speed with out using afterburner. This is really frustrating to me with all these new "ECO" cards . I find this upclock and down clock game the new cards do create a new type of artificial lag and i'm not a fan.
4. I don't care about efficiency ... Not sure why anyone does when building a gaming rig. I like my fans to run. by default this thing has the fans set to a crazy mode of off until it hits 60c. They say it's to prolong the life but IMO i can buy replacement GPU fans all day for $20 vs letting the card run hot at all. I just don't get it.
5. I just happen to be using this in a red and black build but honestly I wish this card was just solid black with RGB lighting. At this point why all companies don't do this is beyond me.
6. Make sure to check your DVI type before buying this as it's only got the 1.
7. It doesn't come with cool case badges like in the past. This go around it's got 2 stupid stickers. One that says "VR READY" and a 2nd that says " MSI Twin frozer " they are about 3 inch wide each and look lame. I loved the metal badges the older MSI parts came with.
8. VR ready... prepare to have that saying shoved down your throat.
Other Thoughts: All in all it's a great card. I would suggest builders check the clearance as it's a larger card width wise and don't depend on it changing colors and all that. I still think it's the best looking of all the 1070's on the market but just wish it was in solid black Also not really sure how to enplane this but like the PCB feels like it's a cheaper quality with many less parts vs older cards while the back plate makes it feel like a higher quality.
I try not to get hyped about new GPU/CPU's because I firmly believe both red and green/blue teams could drop a product that's 1000 x's faster on us today but they don't because of road maps and not wanting to crash the market/ maximize profits. This however is a good product over all
Pros: Very Clean! As i'm sure you know it can support a full GPU and PSU and that's awesome! the mounting for the water cooling setups works great. I added remote rgb led kits to mine (one inside case and other under the front shroud ontop of the fan dust cover and it glows amazing, whats even better is because of the way the power led works it doesn't even interfere with that. It does hide the cables of your PSU while showing off the psu it's self and that's a nice touch others havn't mentioned.
Cons: Ok. keep in mind I am a very hard sell. So the flaws I personally found were. The internal SSD mount and cable management grommets are at a weird height not lining up with each other. This puts a strain on the sdd for the power cable mainly pushing it at a slight angle. Next As others have mentioned This case is really not small. It seems to be only a inch smaller in hight and maybe 2" in depth vs a normal atx so if anything it's a micro case that takes a itx mobo to fit a full size gpu / psu. I am ok with this but kinda wanted something smaller at the same time. If you don't go with a modular psu , plan on taking out the bottem HD cages as there is not much room to spare. I also found the back pannel hard to shut.. Others have mentioned the lack of the hinge design and I will agree it's missed but more importantly they didn't leave much clearence behind the mobo for thick bundles of cables. There seemed to be plenty of room off 390x for them to move the mobo forward and give that extra inch back there but aparently they really wanted to give ppl more than enough room for the GPU. I still am not going to take off a egg for any of these flaws as a pro builder can easily work around all these issues vs buying a cheaper quality case. .
Edit year later- As others have mentioned the top sides are pretty frail. They will bend in if you put high pressure on them. Not sure about a cat (as other guy mentioned) but mine did bend when I pushed off it to stand up in my old age.
Other Thoughts: Over all this is a very very nice case. I am a huge "phan" of phanteks a rather new player in the market but if you like clean cut cases that are like the sleeper beast machines of the pc world this is a good fit. It always seems to come down to nzxt , corsair and phanteks for my builds and that says allot with phanteks being the new player in the market. As a professional builder they seem to address every issue I look for and I am a very hard sell as the product represents me to someone else.READ FULL REVIEW