The company has split its desktop motherboards into four product segments based on number of PCI-E slots, maximum DDR4 memory speeds and RGB lighting characteristics– Enthusiast series, Performance series, Arsenal Series and Pro Series. However, all of these boards will include support for Intel’s Optane SSDs. While the company plans to launch a whopping total of 30 motherboards based on Intel’s Z270 chipset and supporting Kaby Lake processors, it had about twelve boards on display at its booth with three from each category to give attendees an idea of what to expect in terms of performance and features.
At the top of MSI’s motherboard lineup is the overclocking series starting with the Z270 XPower Gaming Titanium ($329.99). This board features four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, up to DDR4 4000MHz memory, three Turbo M.2 slots with shields, one U.2 slot and single-color RGB lighting. Next is the Z270 Gaming M7 ($249.99), featuring three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, up to DDR4 4000MHz memory, three Turbo M.2 slots with shields and adjustable RGB lighting with multiple LEDs. Other boards in this category include the Gaming M5 ($199.99) and Gaming M3 ($159.99), featuring three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots each, up to DDR4 3800MHz or DDR4 3600MHz memory, two Turbo M.2 slots ,and adjustable RGB lighting.
While the overclocking series packs in the most ports and features, next up is the gaming series which is actually very similar and comes at a slightly lower price point. At the top of this list is the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon ($174.99), featuring three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, up to DDR4 3800MHz memory, two Turbo M.2 slots and adjustable RGB lighting. Next up is the Z270 Krait Gaming ($159.99), featuring the same specs in a black and white design. Other options include the Z270 Gaming Pro ($164.99), and the Z270I Gaming Pro Carbon AC ($179.99), a Mini-ITX board with just two DIMM slots and a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot.
MSI’s arsenal series was introduced in summer 2015 for casual rather than dedicated gamers, as it expects these users will play the latest titles with either mainstream or integrated graphics options. At the top of this series is the Z270 Tomahawk ($139.99), featuring three PCI-E 3.0 x16 ports, up to DDR4 3800MHz memory, two Turbo M.2 slots and double grounding to prevent electrostatic damage. Next up is the Z270 Tomahawk Arctic ($124.99) with the same features along with white LEDs, followed by the Z270M Mortar ($129.99) with a Micro-ATX form factor and two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots.
The company’s Pro series is designed more for business professionals who require stable PC performance without compromising on OEM build quality. At the top of this list are the Z270 SLI Plus ($149.99) and Z270 SLI ($139.99), featuring three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E x1 slots, up to DDR4 3800MHz memory, and two Turbo M.2 slots. Next up is the Z270 PC Mate ($124.99), featuring two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E x1 slots, one PCI slot, up to DDR4 3800MHz memory and two Turbo M.2 slots. Last up is the Z270-A Pro ($114.99), featuring two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, four PCI-E x1 slots, up to DDR4 3800MHz memory and one Turbo M.2 slot.
MSI’s latest LGA 1151-based motherboards are now available at from online and in-store retail locations and are compatible with existing Intel Skylake and upcoming Kaby Lake desktop processors.