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MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon review: The entry to the high-end

By Chester Labaco - 5 Jan 2017


Alongside the arrival of Intel’s Kaby Lake processors are the 200-series chipset motherboards. Much like the Z170 chipset, the Z270 chipset is geared towards enthusiasts. The biggest change on the Z270 chipset comes in the form of four more PCIe 3.0 lanes. This allows the Z270 chipset to support up to 24 PCIe lanes. This change, however, is purely optional and is up to the motherboard manufacturer to apply the changes.

Another change in the Z270 chipset is its support for Intel’s new Optane Memory. At this point, we’re still waiting for the first batch of products armed with 3D XPoint memory. Unfortunately for Skylake and Z170 chipset owners, Optane is only available to Kaby Lake and 200-series motherboards.

Since both Skylake and Kaby Lake shares the LGA 1151 socket, Skylake processors are still supported when pairing it with a 200-series motherboard. Many manufacturers have also updated their UEFI enabling support for Kaby Lake processors on a 100-series motherboard.

Let’s move on from what’s new from the Kaby Lake processors and let’s see what Intel’s partners have been concocting the past year. We’ll be taking a look at one MSI’s motherboards: the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon. Check out its complete specifications in the table below:

MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon

Suggested Retail Price US $175
Chipset, Processor Support Z270, Kaby Lake and Skylake

4x DDR4 memory slots, supports up to 64GB

DDR4 3800(OC), 3600(OC), 3200(OC), 3000(OC), 2800(OC), 2600(OC), 2400, 2133

Dual Channel Architecture, supports Intel XMP


6x SATA III ports

2x M.2 slots, support up to PCIe 3.0 x4, SATA III, PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe U.2 SSD with Turbo U.2 Host Card, M.2_1 slot supports 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices, M.2_2 supports 2242/2260/2280 storage devices. Intel Optane Memory Ready for all slots



Realtek ALC1220 Codec, 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio,

Supports S/PIDF ouput

Expansion Slots

3x PCIe x16 slots (support x16/0/x4, x8/x8/x4 modes),

3x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots

Networking 1x Intel I129-V LAN controller
Rear I/O

1x PS/2 Combo port

2x USB 2.0 Type-A ports,

1x DVI-D port

1x HDMI port

1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port

1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port

4x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports

1x LAN (RJ45) port

5x OFC audio jacks

1x Optical S/PDIF support

Internal Connectors

1x 24-pin ATX main power connector

1x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector

6x SATA III connectors

2x USB 3.1 Gen1 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports)

2x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)

1x 4-pin CPU fan connector

1x 4-pin water pump fan connector

4x 4-pin system fan connectors

1x Front panel audio connector

2x Front panel connectors

1x RGB LED connector

1x TPM module connector

1x Chassis intrusion connector

1x Clear CMOS jumper

Form Factor ATX
Other Features

Command Center

Live Update 6

Fast Boot

Super Charger

Gaming App



MSI Smart Tool

Gaming LAN Manager

Nahimic Audio


Mystic Light, Mystic Light Extension

  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
RGB Lighting
Decent Overclocker
Reinforced RAM and PCIe slots
The Bad