MSI definitely released a unique motherboard in the sense of its colour scheme. As I mentioned right at the start, I was unaware that MSI were going to bring another motherboard to the market that has an overclocker-orientated (as well as high-end gaming) design to it, as they supposedly dropped the XPOWER (from previous generations) moniker in favour of their “GAMING” brand. I think that the silver (Titanium) look will appeal to a lot of potential system builders, but the price may be a little off-putting as it is just under £210 (at the time that this review was written).
The performance that this motherboard offers is somewhat lower than I was expecting. I was not expecting it to trump the charts purely based on its price, but I was hoping it would at least match its cheaper counterpart, the GAMING M7. There are results at which it excels, but there are a fair few which let it down too. Given that the motherboard is approximately £60 more expensive, I’d hoped for more consistent performance across the board, not just a few high fliers here and there. I know that I say this time and time again, but the numbers are ultimately all within a margin of error when looking at it in a statistical manner, but the differences are there; and if you’re one who wants only the best performance, and you take benchmark results seriously even if they are within 0.1 FPS of all other motherboards, you may have decided to look elsewhere. It’s a shame that the performance didn’t always match the Titanium’s strikingly good looks. However, at the end of the day, it didn’t drag its heels or lag way behind, it was ultimately just a little bit lower in the performance sector than I was expecting from such a prestigious looking product.
With thanks to the massive VRM system that MSI have deployed on the Titanium, it is no wonder that it is able to withstand anything that I was able to throw at it from a reviewer’s aspect. The motherboard held up very well and was extremely stable throughout testing. The circuitry also remained very cool, even with next to no airflow over the motherboard itself due to it being on a test bench, and not within a chassis where the airflow aids the system temperatures. Overclocking the RAM isn’t typically something we cover, but I wanted to give it a go just to see what would happen. It was easy to just bang in settings, save and exit, and then let the board do the rest. Moreover, I was able to bang in settings that teammates had given to me and they would just work. Worst case scenario, it fails to boot, and the system automatically recovers itself in a couple of seconds without you needing to do a thing.
There’s a silver motherboard? Who would’ve thought it? MSI did. They released the Titanium with its unique colour scheme to the world to be the only motherboard in the current marketplace to feature such a bizarre yet beautiful looking motherboard. Now, I know that this may not be to everyone’s liking and it is a little bit of a Marmite situation, but people have similar views on the ASUS Sabertooth line up with their thermal armour. Some will absolutely love it and they will pay what they have to in order to obtain such a product, and others will despise it and refuse to even take a second look at it. If it were me, I’d snap up the Titanium in a second due to its gorgeous and extremely unique looks. The performance aspect of the motherboard does play into such a decision, but if I were looking at a board purely for its aesthetic purposes, the Titanium would be on the top of my list.
MSI’s OC Dashboard is a very nifty bit of kit, as I explained in the overclocking segment of this review. A lot of things can be done with it if you are inclined in such a way, but it is purely aimed at those people who are speed junkies and enjoy pushing the boundaries just that little bit further than your typical PC enthusiast. It is very useful for changing clock speeds on the fly as well as being able to completely reset your system to a factory new state with the push of a button; well, at least on the BIOS and motherboard side of things anyway.
Discussing value is not always an easy feat everyone has a different perception on what is good value for money and what is not. At Play3r, we have a grading scale, and the Titanium falls into the highest bracket based on the average of the other motherboards. For me, the £210 price tag is somewhat steep given that it is basically an M7 with a few tweaks here and there to give it the edge over a cheaper alternative. As the price is set at over £200, it absolutely is a high-end product with a high-end price tag. Whilst there are motherboards out there that are much more dear to your wallet (ASUS and GIGABYTE, I’m looking at you here), there’s also a lot on offer for the money. Granted that most regular users will use the motherboard to its full potential, it’s always nice to have the options available should you wish to go down another road in the future.
On to the final bit of our conclusion, as per usual, and it’s time for the awards ceremony! I’ve given this one a lot of thought, and I am proud to be able to give it a couple of awards that I feel it rightfully deserves. First and foremost is its Design award, which is based upon the looks of this truly unique motherboard; and it is also based upon the component design too, ranging from the VRM design to the M.2 PCI-E slots. To me, it is all spot on and sets a real example of what a high-end motherboard should be like. I am also going to give the board my personal recommendation as an Editor’s Choice award as it is a fantastic bit of kit. It is not for everyone, especially priced at £210, but it is a motherboard for those whom can afford (or just want) such a product. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it is a board that would be at the top of my “to buy” list if I were in the market for a high-end board because it is such a radical and wicked looking product.
As always, I’d like to send special thanks to MSI for allowing me to take a look at their Z170 XPOWER Titanium Edition motherboard.
– Awesome aesthetics
– OC Dashboard is very handy and a great feature
– Rock solid and very easy to overclock
– Great BIOS recovery when things go pear shaped
– It often gets beaten by cheaper boards, including their own GAMING M7
– RAM performance is slower compared to many other boards
– It has a premium price but the performance (which may change with BIOS updates in the future) was a little lacking for me
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