After spending a bit of time with the MSI Z170A KRAIT GAMING, the only black and white motherboard on the Z170 platform; what do I think of it and is it something I’d recommend? Let’s conclude the review by analysing the product performance, as well as discussing the other areas such as the aesthetics and its pricing too.
For a change, let’s talk about its pricing first and then circle around to the other topics. As it is priced at a competitive £113 with a penny change, it seems to be bang on the money a motherboard that is on the upper end of the low-end scale. Medium range motherboards, for me, start at £120 and go up to £180, so the fact that it is a little below the beginning of a medium range motherboard bodes well in its favour. The motherboard can certainly hang with the more expensive alternatives as it gives us great performance for the money.
As previously mentioned, there are only two black and white motherboards that have ever really surfaced on the mainstream motherboard market, ignoring those options from ECS that were black, white and grey in the P55 days, which makes this one pretty unique. Black and white has not been done by anyone else until recently, but MSI were the first and you’ve got to commend them for pushing the boat out for trying something new. While the motherboard may have looked better with all black slots, rather than the chromed effect for their new shield technology that helps to reduce EMI and reinforce the slot itself, you cannot fault MSI for wanting to include it on the KRAIT.
Given that the pricing is sitting at just under £113 on Amazon (when published), the motherboard is a stonker for the price. One thing which does disappoint me is the lack of right angled SATA ports, when the extra PCB space is clearly there (in the form of a solid black and empty segment to the right of the board. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason as to why it is there, but it was obviously done for a reason. Had the SATA ports been a right angle, I wouldn’t have had any complaints at its price point, bar the rather odd XTU fluctuating performance. I believe this is down to a BIOS issue or possible a software compatibility issue; however, I was unable to test it with anything else other than what software/BIOS revisions were in front of me. I have faith that MSI will be able to fix this if it does turn out to be an problem and not just an isolated issue as it was with me.
How does the motherboard do when we take everything into consideration? Would it be a motherboard that I would encourage you to buy if you were on a budget of approximately £110? Given that I haven’t tested any other motherboards around this price bracket as of yet, and the fact that there’s nothing else quite like it with the black and white theme, I’d be inclined to say yes. The performance is bang on the money and it offers that aesthetic appearance that no other Z170 motherboard can offer, which means you can do some really cool stuff with colour schemes, if you’re into that sort of thing of course! The motherboard overclocks well, remains stable once the clocks are pushed and to add to it all, the BIOS is pretty much indestructible unless you do something really silly. It automatically recovers from a failed overclock without an issue, and that is something that more expensive motherboards have failed at in the past.
The MSI Z170A KRAIT GAMING came out swinging, and it deserves to be given a couple of awards for its performance and its creative looks. For £113, the motherboard it is competing with in a direct manor is the ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING, which also performed very well given its pricing. With everything in mind, I’ve decided to give the KRAIT a Play3r Recommended reward as well as a value award too. I cannot award it a performance award as it just doesn’t perform near the top often enough (although the results are statistically insignificant), and the extra PCB real estate without the right angled SATA ports deducts half a star from a full five star product.
Special thanks to MSI for providing us with a sample for today’s review.
– The only black and white PCB motherboard on Intel Z170
– Great value for money
– Performs well for the cost
– No right angled SATA ports
– Extra unnecessary PCB space which looks odd
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