New Drivers: MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition ASMedia SATA

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MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition ASMedia SATA Driver

MSI ZA XPower Gaming Titanium Edition review Storage: 8 x SATA ports (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10), 2 x M.2 slots, 4 lane, PCIe (RAID 0 HOTKEY port), 2x USB Gen 2 (ASMedia ), 4x USB Gen 1 (Intel Z). Intel Z Motherboards ZA XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM EDITION Max Memory (GB); PCI-E x16; PCI-E Gen; PCI-E x1; SATA Express; SATAIII; M.2 Slot. With an MSRP of $, the ZA-XPower Gaming Titanium Edition sits at a competitive Gaming Titanium Edition board: four SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; two M.2 PCIe x4 USB, • ASMedia® ASM Chipset.

MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition ASMedia SATA Driver Windows

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MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition ASMedia SATA Driver

MSI Z170A XPower Gaming Titanium Edition review

From its intriguing name — is it made of titanium? It is part of MSI's Enthusiast Gaming series of motherboardsbut manages to stand out from the crowd with its striking looks. As further testament to its Titanium branding, the board uses titanium chokes and a phase power delivery system.

It mixes the convenience of desktop software tweaking with the stability of BIOS overclocks, although it's not a replacement for either. Deeper options will still have you tapping F2 or Delete at boot time, the same as any other motherboard.

MSI ZA XPower Gaming Titanium Edition review PC Gamer

Not all the action is limited to the OC panel. The lower-right corner of the board is MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition ASMedia SATA to the Spinal Tap-inspired Game Boost knob, which provides hardware access to 8 ascending overclock settings but is labeled to go up to 11 anyway. No reboot is required for these to take effect, but access to higher knob numbers depends on the quality of the CPU. You'll need some sweet silicon to turn the knob all the way up like Nigel.

Cinebench scores Inside the case Powered up, the XPower provides 8 motherboard LED indicators for various functions such as hard drive activity and a handy CPU temperature reading from the debug code display that comes online once the system is fully booted.

MSI ZA-XPower Gaming Titanium Edition Motherboard Review PC Perspective

Temp reporting functions from these displays should be the rule rather than the exception; once you get used to them you wonder how you managed with sluggish or obscure software temperature monitors beforehand. A little more mystic flash, or perhaps color coordination, would have been appreciated here.

New Driver: MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition ASMedia SATA

The functionality of the OC Panel is fantastic, but it needs better presentation than it's given. Owners of previous MSI motherboards will feel right at home and dive into options immediately; much of the look and layout from the Z97 BIOS has been retained. Tread carefully however, as there's a lot more going on under the hood here than Haswell.

New Driver: MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition ASMedia SATA

The XPower supports dual BIOS loadouts, switchable via motherboard toggle and indicated with an LED, so recovery from corrupted firmware flashes doesn't require computer kung-fu. The OC panel, Gaming Boost knob, and Command Center software all provide easy ways to tweak without spending the day reading guides about Skylake.

Presets for the Gaming Boost knob were particularly handy, serving up a series of system-personalized overclocks that proved mostly stable, if somewhat enthusiastic about voltage. Skylake's hit-and-miss performance portfolio aside, MSI's XPower delivers the numbers its quicksilver looks suggest.

MSI ZA XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM ED. (Intel Z) Motherboard Review

Temperatures rise slowly and stay low, although part of the credit goes to post-Haswell architectural changes as Intel has removed fully integrated voltage regulation FIVR from Skylake and moved it to the motherboard. Image 5 of 7 Firestrike gains over Devil's Canyon are modest, but measureable. Image 6 of 7 Image 7 of 7 Mild overclocks pose no challenge to the XPower, and an off-the-shelf i7 K managed 4.

BCLK tweaking in particular promises enhanced payoffs for Skylake, since Z does away with straps and allows a more flexible range of settings. Due to the FIVR shift and other changes, Zbased motherboards shoulder more overclocking responsibility than corresponding Haswell systems, so cheap components will cut down potential clockspeeds.

This explains some of the disappointing initial reports on Skylake's overclocking performance. MSI includes a lot of gaming accessories, you get the same poster, cable stickers, driver DVD, door hanger, installation guide, and manuals as the premium gaming series motherboards from MSI.

Perhaps the most exciting accessory is the OC-Dashboard, a separate PCB that houses buttons and switches for overclocking and it comes with an extension cord. The two CPU fan headers circled in red are PWM headers, and the three headers circled in blue are voltage mode connectors but 4-pin headers.

MSI Z170A XPOWER Gaming Titanium Edition ASMedia SATA New

The motherboard's aesthetics are unique among Z motherboards, the silver PCB can be seen as silver or as white depending on viewing angle, but the heat sinks are silver. The heat sinks match the PCB very well.

When the motherboard is installed and powered the audio LEDs are red, and the contrast is quite nice. MSI also has designed the board with DDR4 Boost trace markings, which are supposed to represent MSI's commitment to memory overclocking the printed on traces aren't the real memory traces.

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