MSI Z270 Gaming M6 AC is a no-nonsense board with serious style


— 11:30 AM on March 10, 2017

MSI offers a dizzying array of motherboards with Intel's LGA 1151 socket. Yesterday, MSI Deutschland let slip the latest model in the company's "Enthusiast" family: the Z270 Gaming M6 AC. The company says the board "redefines superiority." We're not sure about that angle, but despite being a few steps down from the very peak of MSI's motherboard offerings, the M6 AC still looks like a very nice ATX motherboard.

The Gaming M6 AC has all the features you expect from a high-end Z270 motherboard. That means support for two-way SLI and three-way Crossfire, a pair of PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, and USB 3.1 ports in both Type-A and Type-C form on the rear panel. The board also includes DisplayPort and HDMI connections for the CPU's integrated graphics, and a whopping 15 USB ports—although eight of those come from internal headers. The Gaming M6's paired PCIe x16 slots are reinforced with MSI's "Steel Armor", and one of the M.2 slots includes MSI's Shield heatsink.

Naturally, the Z270 Gaming M6 AC is intended for overclocking. It includes diagnostic LEDs, as well as MSI's BIOS Flashback feature that lets users re-flash the BIOS without a CPU, memory, or graphics card installed. The M6 AC also officially supports memory overclocking at speeds up to 3800 MT/s when using a Kaby Lake CPU. Regular old analog audio comes courtesy of Realtek's top-tier ALC1220 codec, and the Gigabit Ethernet connection is powered by Killer's newest E2500 controller.

Unlike most of the rest of the Gaming M range, the M6 AC includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support. Both wireless connections are managed by an Intel 8265 chip that supports 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 with EDR support. The wireless chip and two external antennae come on a PCIe card, making it easy to remove if there's no need for it.

The look of the board is relatively subdued for a high-end offering, and MSI says it was designed after the theme of a "futuristic armored spaceship." There are RGB LEDs on the chipset heatsink, but aside from that, it resembles a stealth fighter in gunmetal grey and black. The board comes with a Phanteks 16" (40cm) RGB LED light strip that builders can hook up to the board's Mystic Light header. MSI hasn't announced pricing for the M6 AC yet.

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