The MSI Z270 Gaming M3 motherboard features an ATX form factor to offer two PCIe 3.0 x16 and four PCIe 3.0 x1 slots. You can create a gaming system with optional dedicated graphics cards installed in these available PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and link them with AMD Crossfire technology. For everyday builds, the motherboard can deliver detailed visuals through the HDMI and DVI-D outputs by utilizing integrated Intel graphics. To complete the multimedia experience, a Realtek ALC1220 audio codec chipset is on board for immersing you in 7.1-channel sounds. Aside from audio, the Gaming M3 is outfitted with two USB 2.0 and four USB 3.0 ports as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port for networking.
- Intel Z270 Chipset:
- The Z270 chipset is designed to support Intel's 6th and 7th-generation of processors.
- Intel LGA1151 Socket:
- This motherboard supports Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Pentium/Celeron processors in the LGA1151 package. These processors come with integrated graphics, memory, and PCI-Express controllers to deliver onboard graphics, dual-channel DDR4 memory support, and PCI Express 3.0 lanes for graphics performance.
- Mystic Light Sync: Synchronize other RGB solutions with your gaming rig and control all LEDs in one click.
- Twin Turbo M.2 with Steel Armor. Intel Optane Memory Ready, Lightning USB 3.1 Gen2.
- Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 2: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality for the most immersive gaming experience.
- GAMING LAN with LAN Protect, powered by Killer™: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency and bandwidth management.
- Military Class 5, Guard-Pro: Latest evolution in high quality components for best protection and efficiency.
- Click BIOS 5: Award-winning BIOS with high resolution scalable font, favourites and search function.
- GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game and motherboard testing by eSports players.
Six right-angled SATA 6Gbps ports are all provided by way of the Z270 chipset. Sat next to those ports is one of the board’s two internal USB 3.0 5Gbps headers for connection to a case. Its right-angled orientation is ideal for users trying to hide the fat USB 3.0 header cable when trying to conduct cable management.
All six SATA 6Gbps ports can be used alongside a pair of M.2 PCIe SSDs, though M.2 slot 1 steals its SATA 6Gbps link from SATA port 1 and M.2 slot 2 steals its SATA 6Gbps link from SATA port 6. A pair of M.2 SATA SSDs will render two of the physical SATA ports unusable.
I think MSI’s lane allocation for SATA connections is very smart. It is highly unlikely that a user buying this type of motherboard will need more than six SATA devices in total, or six plus two M.2 PCIe SSDs. MSI also deserves credit for pages 32 and 33 in its motherboard manual which give a clear interpretation of possible storage device connections. This reduces the installation complexity to novice users with lots of drives.
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