Updated: Z270 Godlike mobo can hold a home network on its shoulders


— 3:00 PM on May 24, 2017

MSI has been teasing a new motherboard from its Godlike series for a bit now, primarily on Twitter. Eager enthusiasts were chomping at the bit for more information, because the persistent rumor was that the new board would be MSI's debut of the hotly-anticipated X299 platform. Sadly that's not the case, but the company's new Z270 Godlike Gaming still looks pretty swanky.

The blacked-out board is the first ever to include the new Killer xTend suite of networking tools. Essentially, using the triple Gigabit Ethernet connections and on-board 802.11ac Wi-Fi, the Z270 Godlike Gaming can function as an Ethernet switch and Wi-Fi extender. Killer's new feature isn't intended to replace a proper home gateway or router, but it can provide wired and wireless network connectivity to other devices nearby. Killer's xTend software manages traffic intelligently: high-priority connections on the xTend-equipped machine won't be interrupted by traffic from connected devices, and those devices' performance won't be compromised by the Godlike PC's low-priority transfers, like large file downloads.

MSI was one of the first companies to start using ASMedia's ASM2142 USB 3.1 controller, allowing two ports to simultaneously run at 8 Gbps. Now the company is the first to bring out a board using the ASM3142 controller with the Godlike Gaming. The company admits that the ASM3142, which still connects to PCIe 3.0 x2, isn't actually any faster than the ASM2142, but it should draw less power in use. We're not sure power draw is a big concern for those building rigs based on boards like this, but it's nice all the same.

Buyers of the Z270 Godlike Gaming will find a new type of RGB Mystic Light header onboard, and a compatible Phanteks RGB LED lightstrip in the box. The lightstrip is a new style that allows each light in the strip to be set to a different color. This capability extends to the board itself, allowing builders to turn their systems into a glimmering kaleidoscope of glorious chromatic chaos.

The rest of the board is as top-shelf as you expect from a board named "Godlike." All four of its PCIe x16 slots and all four of its DIMM slots are metal-reinforced. All three of its M.2 sockets get M.2 Shields, and its lone U.2 port is reinforced, too. It has on-board power and reset switches, as well as diagnostic LEDs. As usual MSI makes a lot of noise about the audio quality of this board, although given the presence of a high-end ESS Technology DAC and what appears to be a 1/4" phone jack in the back, we're ready to take MSI at its word.

MSI calls the Z270 Godlike Gaming "released", but we couldn't find it yet at e-tail. It will probably arrive very soon, so keep an eye out if you're looking for what will surely be one of the finest Z270 boards out there. Just make sure you have full pockets when you're looking, because if experience is anything to go by, divinity doesn't come cheap.

Update 5/25/17 4:30 PM: This article originally stated that the Z270 Godlike Gaming could serve as a home gateway when directly connected to a router or modem. The Killer xTend suite does not function in this manner. Instead, it serves only as a wireless network extender paired with an onboard Ethernet switch that can then be connected to one's primary router. We regret the error.

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