MSI Z97 Gaming 6 Review
Published: 19th May 2015 | Source: MSI | Price: |
You will never confuse the MSI Gaming range for any other brand. We have always loved the packaging from MSI and the Gaming 6 is no different. Although red text on a black background is the kind of colour clash that keeps opticians in holiday homes, everything else about the Gaming 6 box is splendid. Clear features neatly laid out.
The board itself is so plain it's almost spartan. An acreage of black plastics on a black PCB, with only the Gaming "shield" logo and minimalist red heatsink highlights to break things up. The M.2 socket sits far enough away from the CPU socket to allow for freedom of cooling options, and there is plenty of space between the PCI Express slots for maximum GPU airflow.
Audio is an area that MSI have paid close attention to. The Gaming 6 has the audio section of the PCB separated for reduced interference, as well as allowing for extra power inputs and promising a rock solid 5V output to your USB audio device.
The IO section contains the fewest ports we've seen in a long time. From left to right we find a combined PS2, two USB 2.0 ports, VGA, DVI and HDMI. Next to that we have the star of the show, the USB 3.1 Type-C port. By virtue of being around a third the size of a regular USB it should, as it gains traction, erase the need for multiple cable types. It's thin enough to be used in everything from PS4 pads to mobile devices. If you've ever done the "three turns to insert the cable" dance with your USB you'll also appreciate that it hasn't got a right or wrong way to insert it. It just works. Add this to the massive power output it's capable of and it's the future for USB, we actually think type C will come into its own when used with an external hub and thanks to that power that can be utilised would be perfect for using or charge multiple devices from one port. We cant help but think that just a single type C connector with nothing else above it is a waste of valubale I/O real estate, we think the type C should have been on top of two type A 3.1 ports even if they all had to share the same bandwidth. Alongside those are the RJ45, USB 3.0 and audio ports.
The general lack of connectivity is futher demonstrated in the SATA department. Six in total of which some will be lost should you utilise SATA Express.