September 15 introduced a new motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 under Socket LGA1151, targeted at gamers and enthusiasts. Motherboard for Skylake processors premiere marked not only the network controller Killer E2500 from Rivet Networks, but the new chip ASMedia-ASM2142 – host-controller USB 3.1 Gen2. Therefore, in this article we will not only test the motherboard, but also to assess the possibility of a new Controller Killer E2500.
In addition to the network controller Killer E2500 MSI emphasizes the installation of a new host-controller ASM2142 USB 3.1 Gen2, which can be connected with more capacity, which theoretically gives higher performance USB 3.1 Gen2. Other equipment is also quite worthy: three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and four PCIe 3.0 x1, the usual four banks of memory DDR4 DIMM, SATAe two interfaces and two SATA 6 Gb / s.
As for USB, then in addition to two USB 3.1 Gen2 are six USB 3.1 Gen1 and six USB 2.0 ports. There is also a video output DVI-D and HDMI, one Gigabit LAN port, and five 3.5-mm analog audio ports, supplemented by one optical digital output Toslink. The sound system is the Audio Boost 3 known MSI technology. Let us look at MSI Z170A Gaming M6 more closely.
Visually motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 decided to go with a combination of black and red colors on a combination of gray and black. The rest we get the same black PCB. The manufacturer has implemented the function of Steel Armor for two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and four DDR4 DIMM. All other interfaces are black. Fee for sure will please fans of the dark “iron”.
In addition to the motherboard, you will get the following accessories:
In addition to management of the motherboard, the I / O caps and a DVD with drivers and utilities MSI also offers a Quick Start Guide, four SATA cables, the bridge 2-way SLI and several cable labels. You will also receive a sign on the door MSI, MSI Gaming sticker and card product registration.
Intel Z170 Chipset will be the flagship product for several months, according to rumors, at the beginning of 2017, he will give way to his successor.
In the line of Intel 100 chipsets we have a major change. Among the new features include the connection between the CPU and PCH via Direct Media Interface interface in version 3.0, which provides higher throughput. Without such a step was not enough, since Intel has significantly increased the number of PCIe lanes Z170 chipset.
Instead of eight PCIe 2.0 lanes the chipset Z97, Z170 in the PCH supports up to 20 lines PCIe 3.0, which offers a great opportunity to connect additional controllers. Who would have thought that the switches and PCIe bridges remain in the past.
As X99A Gaming Pro Carbon, MSI Z170A Gaming M6 used to MOSFET from NIKOS. With two exceptions to each of the 12 throttles connected MOSFET PK616BA and PK632BA. The two phases are connected by a pair of MOSFET PK616BA and PK632BA.
For additional CPU power provides 8-pin EPS + 12V, which can provide power up to 336 watts. MSI uses capacitors “Dark Caps”, which claimed the life of up to ten years.
As MSI PWM-controller installed Intersil ISL95856, which is enough to manage all phases without additional support.
As might be expected from Skylake S platform, there are four memory banks DDR4 DIMM, which allow you to set up to 64 GB. Depending on the DIMM strips are supported and higher clock speeds than regular. On the lower end of the PCB are six points of the direct voltage measurement. Using a multimeter, you can accurately measure the CPU voltage, iGPU, RAM, VCCSA, VCCIO and PCH.
With regard to the expansion slots, MSI Z170A Gaming M6 offers four PCIe 3.0 x1 slots and three mechanical PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. Connection slots via the CPU or via the chipset. The top two slots PCIe 3.0 x16 with Steel Armor function get line from LGA1151 processor, the remaining slots are connected to the chipset Z170. If the graphics card is installed in the top slot PCIe 3.0 x16, she gets a full 16 Gen3 lines from the CPU. With two graphics cards 16 lines equally divided at x8 / x8. You can set and AMD’s third card, which will receive a maximum of four lines of the Z170 Gen3 chipset.
With regard to the storage subsystem, the MSI Z170A Gaming M6 offers on two SATA Express interface, SATA 6 Gb / s slots and M.2 E-Key, all of them are connected to the chipset Z170. Some restrictions may apply depending on the slots employment. They also depend on the work M.2 SATA interface mode or PCIe. The following table shows how the current time limit given.
Interfaces from left to right, top to bottom:
On the I / O panel, there are all the main interfaces. Integrated graphics core can be derived through the DVI-D and / or HDMI 1.4a. Besides hereditary interface PS / 2 are two ports USB 2.0, four USB 3.1 Gen1 and two USB 3.1 Gen2. The latter are represented by two interfaces Type A and Type C. Of course, not without the usual five 3.5-mm audio jacks and optical digital output Toslink.
In the photo you can see the EMI shield with the inscription “Audio Boost 3”. Beneath it lies the popular audio codec Realtek ALC1150, which complement the five Nippon audio capacitors and two headphone amplifier OPA1652 from Texas Instruments. The latter allows you to connect headphones with an impedance of 600 ohms.
Controller Super I / O Nuvoton NCT6793D-M monitors voltages, temperatures and fan speeds. In addition, it allows you to adjust the fan speed.
And now for the distinctive features of MSI Z170A Gaming M6. Under the EMP-screen Gaming LAN hides new controller Killer E2500 from Rivet Networks. The network controller provides priority to the passage of network packets on-line games. You can also manage priorities and other applications. Transmission speed of 1 Gbit / s is quite typical for the consumer segment.
Mounted on board and chip TMDS Level Shifter PTN3360DBS from NXP, providing conversion of 5V to 3.3V to the HDMI interface. With support for HDMI 1.4b provides compatibility with the format of 4K and 3D-content.
The second distinguishing feature of the motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 – the new controller ASM2142 USB 3.1 Gen2 from ASMedia, we meet for the first time. Unlike its predecessor ASM1142 new ASM2142 uses to connect two lines instead of one Gen3 Gen3 line or two Gen2. As a result, the theoretical throughput increases of up to 16 Gbit / s. But the number of interfaces has not changed, you will get two USB ports.
At the lower end of the motherboard can be seen built-in switch Slow Mode. It will be useful to ensure that the system load at extremely low temperatures in the case of cooling with liquid nitrogen.
MSI well-ordered space available on the ATX motherboard. Layout censures did not cause, in spite of the large number of additional components. The usual places are five 4-pin FAN, all you can manage. Is that in the UEFI must activate Smart FAN Mode mode. curve with four stages can be set for each fan. But even on default settings fans work fairly quietly. If the CPU temperature is 40 degrees below the bar, the speed of the fan is only 12.5 percent of the maximum. The next two strips speed achieved with increasing temperature up to 55 degrees Celsius and 70, the rate increases to 37.5% and 62.5%. If the processor reaches 85 degrees Celsius, the fans run at full speed. fan control system leaves a positive impression.
MSI has added new motherboards feature “Guard Pro”, which is divided into five categories: Circuit Protection (short circuit protection), Humidity Protection (from moisture protection), High Temperature Protection (protection against overheating), ESD Protection (from static protection ), EMI protection (protection against EMI).
The motherboard was equipped with the latest version of BIOS A04. Perhaps it was not the final, but no, we have not found problems.
The Taiwanese manufacturer has established a familiar interface UEFI EZ Mode. On the overview page you will get information about the installed the CPU, memory, storage and connected fans. It also has links to the M-Flash utility, the list of Favorites and hardware monitor. With LAN-ROM can be activated by buttons, Fast Boot, AHCI, sound processor, and enable / disable CPU Fan warning. You can see the magazine “BIOS Log Review” when problems arise. Striped top EZ-Mode has a button to switch to Advanced mode, to which we now turn.
MSI has added to the top left corner of the date and time Game Boost button, which displays the current exhibition level (green dot). button activation XMP located nearby. The colors correspond to colors UEFI motherboard Gaming – red and black. On any tab menu is displayed on top of the installed CPU model, clock speed and memory capacity, memory frequency. Close displays the time and date, and the BIOS version. Also, using a simple drag and drop icons, you can change the boot options. As we expected from MSI, in the upper left corner displays the CPU temperature monitoring results and the motherboard. Virtual button “Game Boost”, you can press the mouse, switching software or hardware mode function. The second button allows you to activate the virtual XMP.
The menu item “Settings” is divided into six tabs. At the first “System Status” you will receive information similar to the traditional versions of BIOS. The user can re-view the current BIOS version, memory capacity, information on how to connect drives to the SATA ports. “Advanced” tab provides multiple configuration options that are related to integrated components. The last three tab “Boot”, “Security” and “Save & Exit” clear title. More interestingly OC overclocking menu. In it you can find an extensive range of overclocking features – we discuss them later. Firmware Utility “M-Flash”, MSI has received a separate menu item, the same goes for overclocking profiles “OC Profile”. They can be exported to a USB-stick and import from the drive. In total, you can set up to six OC profiles.
Next comes highly functional hardware monitor (Hardware Monitor), which allows you to view a large number of parameters – temperature, voltage, fan speed. There is a built-in fan controller that allows you to manage five connectors for fans (with CPU FAN). Each fan may be controlled manually or automatically, in four steps in the graph. Finally, there is a paragraph Board Explorer, allows you to explore the hardware components of the board. You can immediately see set certain components in any slot. So once again look into the case will not have to. There are five pages of “Favorites”, which you can add the most frequently used functions. Add frequently used functions very easily. Just press the right mouse button on the desired function, then a small window will appear and the user can specify which of the five selected pages to add a function.
MSI’s UEFI we are quite convinced. All your settings worked well and correctly without any problems. You can use the mouse or keyboard navigation.
The motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 is well prepared for overclocking, users will receive a large number of relevant features. Overclockers will be pleased, too.
MSI allows you to put on MSI Z170A Gaming M6 base frequency from 70 MHz to 655.12 MHz in steps of 0.06 MHz. CPU voltage can be set through a fixed mode (Override), adaptive (Adaptive) and offset (Offset). In the first two cases, you can specify the voltage from 0,600 V to 1,550 in steps of 0.005 V. In adaptive mode can be specified as a fixed voltage and the offset for the Turbo, that is, to work under load. The offset mode can be specified from 0,001 V to 0,990 in two directions. All other overclocking tools are shown in the following table.
Our Core i5-6600K processor was able to earn 4.4 GHz. Of course, the strap 4.5 GHz, we have not reached, and 4.4 GHz – a good result. We noticed that MSI Z170A Gaming M6 does not function Load-Line Calibration, although it has been active. We put stress in the BIOS to 1.250 V, but under load VCore voltage on CPU-Z information was reduced to 1,224 V.
Instead we got 4.5 GHz, 4.4 GHz, but with less stress.
The platform Skylake-S, we will continue to memory overclocking. We used four DIMM module capacity of 4GB – “G.Skill RipJaws4 DDR4-3000”. In the first test we will check the XMP functionality, and memory overclocking second hand, without using XMP.
Profile Extreme Memory Profile breakdowns on MSI Z170A Gaming M6 without any problems, the system was successfully launched and operated stably. The same applies to the settings exposed by hand, and we were able to achieve lower latency. In both tests, we installed VDIMM 1.35 V.
MSI also offers Command Center, where you can make advanced settings for Windows. For example, you can install the factors separately on four cores, set the voltage and fan speed. Available memory settings and integrated graphics core. Here you can also control the function Game Boost. As a bonus, you can read the current voltage levels.
Command Center can alert the user when levels exceeded certain values. You can record the values of the voltages, fan speeds and temperatures in the magazine.
The DVD with drivers and software supplied MSI / Intel utility Extreme Tuning Utility, well familiar to us:
XTU allows you to overclock the CPU and memory are directly under Windows. Thanks to built-in hardware monitor, you can monitor CPU temperature, the actual clock speed and other parameters. In addition to CPU and memory frequencies, you can change the voltage. But not trigger settings in real time, they are cached. And the operation is performed when the system is rebooted. You can also test configuration with the stress test to check the stability of work. If the settings are found stable, they can be conveniently stored in the profile.
We tested the MSI Z170A Gaming M6 in the following configuration:
To test the bandwidth used by other components.
After entering the market of processors on Nehalem microarchitecture and integrate a memory controller on the CPU, the performance difference between motherboards become negligible. This is not surprising, because the manufacturers have disappeared almost all optimization mechanisms. In the past, they could optimize the chipset settings to squeeze one or two percent of the performance of the motherboard, but this possibility has disappeared. We conducted our tests the memory modules in the mode of 2.133 MHz and latency 15-15-15-35 2T, and all motherboards, allows you to adjust memory timings, showed similar performance.
Although comparative performance tests of motherboards and are not able to give such a difference, as before, they are still interesting. The fact that the tests allow you to quickly evaluate how different manufacturers implement support functions such as the Turbo, or rely on background overclocking tricks. With the motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 we had the option to disable Enhanced Turbo, so that a fair comparison.
Today, the question is quite relevant PC power consumption, energy consumption and the difference between motherboards is far more common than the difference in performance. On the one hand, it can be associated with BIOS, Intel wherein power saving functions may be implemented or not completely correct. Or simply disabled by default. Or inactive integrated components when they are replaced by additional chips, or simply not used, is not turned on and continue to consume energy. The power supply circuit also contributes to the overall power consumption, since it can provide more energy than is required components. Yes, and efficiency (efficiency) power supply system is also very important. If the efficiency is low, the system consumes more energy from the power supply. We should not underestimate the role of management software, the entire power supply system must be balanced and coordinated in order to ensure an acceptable efficiency.
On MSI Z170A Gaming Pro Carbon is set a few extra controllers. Namely LAN-controller, USB 3.1 and audio codec chip, which contribute to the overall system power consumption.
We measured the power consumption of the system in idle mode under Windows, as well as a full 2D-load Cinebench 11.5 and Prime95 (torture test, full load). The following is the power consumption for the entire system.
On MSI Z170A Gaming M6 motherboard interface, there are two USB 3.1 Gen2, which provides a new controller ASMedia ASM2142. Namely one port Type A and Type C. Theoretically, the bandwidth of 10 Gbit / s, but it would be difficult to find a drive that could have a similar level of load capacity. In theory this speed can provide high-speed M.2 modules, but now we have decided to take two drives (m) SATA 6 Gb / s in RAID 0.
For testing, we used an external snap RaidSonic ICYBOX-IB-RD2253-U31. Inside we found two 2.5-inch SSD OCZ Vector 150 with a capacity of 480 GB. Solid state drives provide a read speed of up to 550 MB / s and write speeds up to 530 MB / s. Both work in the SSD RAID 0 array, so that the interface USB 3.1 Gen2 will be loaded fully.
ASM2142 controller immediately showed his potential. Faster connection to the system of 16 Gbit / s (Gen3 x2) resulted in read speeds c our drive RAID 0 923 MB / s, write speed was quite decent 872 MB / s. So ASM2142 almost completely reveals USB 3.1 Gen2 specification.
The motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 are six USB 3.1 Gen1 ports. On the I / O panel, there are four ports, two more can be derived through a comb. All ports are directly connected to the chipset Z170-PCH. we again used the same solution for evaluating performance USB 3.1 Gen1, as in USB 3.1 Gen2 above tests.
Interface USB 3.1 Gen1 works too close to the theoretical maximum. Reading speed we got up to 444 MB / s, write speed – up to 460 MB / s.
The motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 are two SATA Express interface and two SATA 6 Gb / s. All of them are connected to the chipset Z170 in native mode. For tests, we will be using the drive SanDisk Extreme 120, which will be directly connected to the SATA ports.
Intel SATA controller 6 Gb / s has shown excellent performance. We got a read speed up to 557 MB / s and write speeds up to 525 MB / s.
We are continuing to M.2 tests and Skylake-S platform. With the new series of Intel chipsets 100 M.2 slots should get a significant performance boost thanks to four lines PCIe 3.0 for each, the theoretical bandwidth up to 32 Gbit / s. For the tests we took at Samsung SSD XP941 512GB. Drive 8 cm long provides a read speed of up to 1,170 MB / s and write up to 950 MB / s, at least according to specifications. Solid State Module interface corresponds M.2 16 Gb / s, ie four lines PCIe 2.0.
The test M.2 recording rate was slightly below the normal level. We got a 965 MB / s on the X99 platform, the result was more than 1,000 MB / s. By reading a very decent performance – 1,081 MB / s.
The motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 is the first model in our test lab with the new controller Rivet Networks Killer E2500. September 15 the company officially unveiled Rivet Networks Controller Killer E2500, as we have already mentioned. Among the important innovations may be noted Advanced Stream Detect technology 2.0, which provides prioritization of network applications and the 500 most popular sites on the Internet. There was also improved function DoubleShot Pro, providing for joint work with the second controller Killer (W) LAN system.
But Rivet Networks finalized not only hardware but also software. The utility formerly known as Killer Network Manager, has become a Killer Control Center, the program structure has been changed, the basic set of functions expanded.
On the “Overview”, the user can see the active network applications. They can be “attached” to the top of the list and assign a priority from 1 to 6, the highest priority level corresponds to 1. You can display inactive network processes, which can also be set up.
A more detailed list, we get to the Apps tab. Here again listed network applications for which you can adjust the priority level. In addition, the user can block all application traffic, and put restrictions on download and upload speeds.
The motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 Wireless Controller Killer Wireless AC is not available, but there is a WLAN tab. On it you can see the current status of the wireless network. In addition to signal strength Killer Control Center displays the WLAN channel, transmission speed and the parameters (V) HT.
Finally, there is a settings tab, although the parameters are not so much. Rivet Networks recommends to set the parameters of the network connection to the Internet in Mbit / s. In this case we put 50 Mbit / s for download and 10 Mbit / s on the download corresponding lines VDSL-50.
We measured a maximum transfer rate via Netperf utility. We put the recommended settings manually. As Netperf server we used the controller Killer E2200. New Killer E2500 will have to prove their worth against Intel I218-V and Qualcomm Atheros AR8151. We measured the maximum speed of the UDP protocol.
We used the following command: netperf-a4-1.exe -l 30 -t UDP_RR -H Server-IP-Adresse -p 12801 – -r 120
We set the number of bytes of the request and the response 120. A test time is limited to 30 seconds.
In this example, clearly visible edge over an average delay of 65 ms the controller Qualcomm Atheros AR8151. Daylight Killer E2500 controller has reduced the delay to 56 ms. When you activate the Advanced Stream Detect 2.0, we got the result even better. Killer E2500 controller was able to reduce the delay to 42 ms.
Killer Network Controllers has not gained mass popularity. Some users complain of memory leaks, but in our tests we have with them is not faced, Killer E2500 controller and software Killer Control Center to work in normal mode.
In some scenarios, Killer E2500 controller shown convincing results. He really was able to reduce the delay when accessing the game server. But it should be noted that we are talking about a few milliseconds, and it all depends on your Internet connection. At Killer E2500 controller eats potential, which allows you to make online games more responsive, especially in the case of a bad connection to the Internet and long delays. On the other hand, if the “bottleneck” channel is output to the Internet, then any local controller does not help here.
Between motherboards MSI Z170A Gaming M7 and M5 remained a gap, which is now the new model closes MSI Z170A Gaming M6. It can be called a successful evolutionary development of the family, it would be a decent basis for the future of gaming products. The reason is the new controller ASMedia ASM2142 USB 3.1 Gen2 connection with 16 Gbit / s (Gen3 x2). In addition, the motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 debuted Controller Killer E2500 is powered by Rivet Networks, which has shown good results in our tests, we got a little smaller delays.
On ATX black PCB mounted LGA1151 socket for modern processors Skylake-S, supports up to 64GB of memory via four DDR4 DIMM slots. Video cards can be installed in three mechanical slot PCIe 3.0 x16, but only two of them are connected to the CPU. The lower slot running through Z170 chipset and provides a maximum of four lines Gen3. Between the x16 slots can be seen four slots PCIe 3.0 x1. As a special feature of the DIMM slots are six points of the direct voltage measurement.
With regard to the storage interface, the user will receive two SATA Express and two SATA 6 Gb / s, for the high-speed SSD modules available two M.2 M-Key slot. Let us turn to USB. MSI offers six USB 3.1 Gen1 and six USB 2.0 ports. Of course, modern motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 can not do without high-speed USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, we have one port Type A and Type C on the I / O panel. They work on the newest controller ASM2142. If you want to use integrated graphics integrated into the CPU, the available outputs DVI-D and HDMI 1.4b. For connection to the LAN meets the new Ethernet Controller Killer E2500. Finally, the audio system is the Audio Boost 3.
We did not find any weaknesses UEFI BIOS, motherboard efficiency is also quite decent. Among the shortcomings can be noted except that the restrictions do not allow the use of some ports at the same time drives. But here, the reason lies in the chipset, so MSI did not blame. The motherboard MSI Z170A Gaming M6 has not yet appeared in Russia, and in Europe, accessibility is poor. We found it in only one store for 199 euros. But over time, the situation should improve with the availability and the price – down.
With the exception of restrictions on the simultaneous use of interfaces, drives, MSI Z170A Gaming M6 has no serious drawbacks. We get a great platform LGA1151 equipped with modern technology thanks controllers ASM2142 USB 3.1 Gen2 and Killer E2500.