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MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Review

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MSI Z170A Gaming M7 Testing:

LAN performance will be tested via a utility to gauge the performance of the onboard network solutions. The motherboard being tested will be connected via a Gigabit switch to another system with an integrated Gigabit network solution on board.

iPerf is a small lightweight utility run from the command prompt and can be used to measure both TCP and UDP performance on a network. iPerf is cross-platform software and open source. The test is configured to run for 20 seconds with a window size of 256 KB and four simultaneous streams that should be able to saturate the TCP link on a good NIC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.25 is used to test the sound solution on board each motherboard. Nothing beats a good set of ears and headphones, but this is a graphic representation of the capabilities of the installed hardware. Sampling mode is 24-bit 44kHz.

 
MSI Z170A Gaming M7
ASUS ROG M7H
Frequency Response dB
+0.96,-1.57
+0.22,-0.56
Noise Level dBA
-145.9
-91.6
Dynamic Range dBA
127.4
91.7
Total Harmonic distortion %
0.0045
0.0043
Intermodulation distortion +noise
3.824
.114
Stereo Crosstalk,db
-141.5
-91.7
Intermodulation distortion + noise (Swept Freq) %
0.017
.0091
Frequency Response (Swept Sine), db
+1.6,-7.4
+0.0,-0.2

 

In iPerf, the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 delivers data throughput of 941 Mbits/s through the Killer E2400 series processor. Speed is not everything, however, and MSI includes Killer Networks' own software package to manage or prioritize data across the Gigabit connection. I tried installing MSI's LAN Manager software and found that it says this board is not supported. Odd on MSI's marquee mainstream board, to say the least. I'm sure that MSI will get this working going forward. While running the test I found that the CPU overhead was running between 5% and 9%; a level seen on most of the boards I have tested regardless of LAN hardware used.

From a hardware perspective, MSI has built an awesome package that separates the audio solution from the main PCB, much like we see on the comparison board. On its own, the Audio Boost sound solution was what I have come to expect from a Realtek 1150-based solution and then some. After running the RightMark Audio software, I found that the solution ranked Good in the test with several Excellent indicators. The one thing I did not like was the Nahamic software and how it impacted the sound before tweaking to my own tastes. It is functional, but the bass hit was a bit overpowering, covering up the highs. Again, tweaking gets you closer to your ideal listening profile.




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