We all want the best bang for our buck when it comes to choosing a motherboard. The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus has many features that are worth considering, but if you're looking for an affordable board with good performance, there may be other options out there for you.
The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus is a great choice for those looking to upgrade from an old system. It has lots of ports, a good solid foundation and it doesn't cost too much. The motherboard itself is pretty standard, with most modern features found on other boards in this price range.
The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus will support all of your current hardware and any new components that come our way over time without any issues - whether they're AMD or Intel-based components.
Introduction To Msi Z370 Gaming Plus
The difference between budget and high-end boards in the current age can be between a medium-end and high-end graphics card when spec'ing up a final build. So one element of MSI's gaming-focused marketing strategy is providing users with solid and good reliable products whilst remaining affordable and feature-rich!
In today's review, we get to grips with an entry-level option to Intel's 8th generation Z370 chipset in the form of the MSI Z370 GAMING PLUS motherboard. With support for AMD 2-way CrossFireX, this board could be the perfect companion for someone building a budget-friendly system but while keeping to a mainstream chipset such as the Z370 platform.
The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus motherboard is a standard ATX motherboard with the LGA1151 socket that supports Intel's 8th generation Coffee Lake processors.
However, even with this being an LGA1151 socket, the Z370 series boards are not backwards compatible with the earlier Intel processors like Kaby Lake or Skylake processors.
The MSI Z370 has four memory slots that support up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM clocked at 2133MHz to 4000MHz and supports dual channel configuration. In addition, there are 2 PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots and 4 PCI-E x1 slots.
This board includes 6 SATAIII ports and 1 M.2 slot, which supports 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110 storage devices and is Intel Optane memory ready. The onboard audio chipset is the Realtek ALC892 with 7.1 channels.
- Supports 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i3/i5/i7 processors for Socket LGA1151
- Intel® Z370 Chipset
- 4 x DDR4 memory slots, support up to 64GB
– Supports DDR4 Up to 4000MHz
- Dual channel memory architecture
- Supports ECC, un-buffered memory
– ECC UDIMM memory (non-ECC mode)
- Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
- 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (Modes: 16, 4)
- 4 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slot
- 1 x DVI-D
- 1 x D-Sub
- 1 x Displayport™ port (1.2)
- Supports 2-Way AMD® CrossFire™ Technology
- Intel® Z370 Chipset
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
- 1 x M.2 slot (Supports Intel Optane Memory – 8th Gen Processor required)
- Intel® Z370 Chipset
– Supports RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 for SATA storage devices
- Realtek ALC 892 Codec
– 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
- 1 x Intel i219 Gigabit LAN controller
Back Panel I/O Ports
– 1 x PS/2 mouse/keyboard combo port
– 2 x USB 2.0 ports
– 1 x VGA port
– 1 x DVI-D port
– 1 x DisplayPort port
– 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
– 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports
– 6 x OFC audio jacks
- 12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )
- ATX Form Factor
Now that we have all of the technical aspects out of the way, what exactly are you getting with this board?
Well, it is a motherboard. For $120, you get one heck of a motherboard that actually has a lot to offer for a budget-friendly price.
Sound That Pulls You Into The Game
Get the most immersive sound experience when gaming. MSI Audio Boost delivers the highest sound quality through the use of premium quality audio components. This lets you enjoy breathtaking, game-changing sound to create the most exciting gameplay.
Apps To Greatly Improve Efficiency
With years of experience in creating performance enhancing tools that are easy to use, only the highest quality applications are at your disposal. Use these tools to get the most out of your motherboard and achieve victory when gaming.
Unmatched Memory Performance
MSI motherboards are crammed with features to fuel your gaming rig's memory with more speed, higher overclockability and increased stability.
MSI Z370 GAMING PLUS Closer Look
The Z370 GAMING PLUS sits towards the lower end of the Z370 models currently on offer with a general focus on value orientated gaming, as opposed to balls to the walls overclocking and even users looking to run SLI graphics configurations to make your eyes pop and mouths water. Of course, it's much better to judge a product on what it has got instead of what it hasn't got, but in terms of style, the full black PCB design with contrasting red lines and alternative design looks very good, in my opinion. The board might not have full RGB LED functionality on the board itself (only red LEDs), but a single RGB header is included to allow for use with compatible RGB LED strips.
The board has 4 memory slots for DDR4 memory with speeds up to DDR-4000 and 64GB in maximum capacity allowed. This is a significant improvement over the last range of models with only the most stringent of overclocking focused boards running 4000MHz memory and above.
With 6 SATA 6Gb/s ports being ample for most users, the board also uses a single M.2 slot that sits just above the top PCIe x16 3.0 slot. Please note that when in use, it disables the SATA1 slot on the motherboard due to bandwidth.
Frequently Asked Questions About MSI Z370 Gaming Plus
At just $119 (AU$159), the MSI Z370-A Pro is actually a pretty great deal for a moderately high-end motherboard. You're getting all the necessary features of the flagship platform at a budget price.
Polypheme. DRagor : Nope, it does not have it. You would need either PCIe WiFi card or or one connected through a USB.
With manual overclocking, the Z370-A Pro was able to match other more expensive boards in overclocking, reaching 5.1 GHz. In addition, overall overclocking on the Z370-A Pro was as easy as any other unlocked Intel processor.
The two biggest differences between Z370 and Z390 are built-in USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) and WiFi 802.11ac support. Z370 had neither of those, though some motherboard manufacturers added them by using separate controllers. Z390 now has both integrated into the chipset itself and can handle up to six USB 3.1 ports.
There are plenty of options on this board for peripherals, components, and cooling that if you didn't know the price was $120, you'd probably never guess the cost would be that little and instead think it was $160 or so.
The MSI Z370 GAMING PLUS is a solid option for users on a strict budget and hasn't needed some of the more cost adding features such as USB 3.1 Gen2 ports (10Gb/s). However, for what this board lacks, it makes up for in other areas, which is to say that unless you're primarily after a basic Z370 motherboard on a budget, then this board most likely wouldn't get a look in either way!
Starting with the pricing, you can pick the MSI Z370 GAMING PLUS up for around £125/$129 depending on your country of purchase and all in all, and it's a very good price, all things considered. Yes, certain premium features have been omitted purely for cost-cutting measures to keep the board competitive with other brands entry-level Coffee Lake based Z370 models. Without beating around the bush, but you know a motherboard is focused on value when the audio is powered by the cheaper Realtek ALC892 codec and not the usual 1220 featured on the previous Z270 models. Pricing is the key factor here, and despite the decent and mid-level features, basic PCB and red and black design, we can't imagine MSI is making any money from this model, if at all!
Performance-wise, there wasn't anything abnormal, especially not compared to other boards we have tested, and everything seems to be shipshape. Users expecting to use multi-graphics card configurations may look to more expensive and feature-rich boards for their setups, but what this board does offer is fairly adequate. This includes 2 x PCIe x16 slots with only AMD CrossfireX being supported; unfortunately, this board doesn't feature a PLX chip. There are no USB 3,1 Gen2 ports featured either, which I have previously touched on, which is a little disappointing given this is a brand new platform, but some sacrifices had to be made in order to keep the pricing competitive.
The solid red and black theme strikes a bit of colour back into the gaming brands as a lot of manufacturers have opted for more neutral and subtle aesthetic changes from Z270 to Z370. I personally like the styling, and although not classed as RGB, the board does feature a single RGB header for added customizability; not much, but enough to keep some people satisfied, we would imagine.
If your looking for a cheaper way onto the new Z370 Intel Coffee Lake architecture, then the Z370 GAMING PLUS from MSI should certainly be considered. The pricing is decent, albeit still, a little higher than I would like to see, and the design is certainly minimalistic with its red and black theme, but the board is decent all-around, and it has to be respected!