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

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 2×2 802.11ac 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.

Comments closed
    • Kraaketaer
    • 3 years ago

    I guess this “redefines superiority” into meaning “not really better in any tangible way than most other competing products”?

    Oh, and to echo everyone else here: loads of nonsense here. Loads. This is a plenty-nonsense board. The Asus Prime B350M-A is a no-nonsense board. Although even non-green/brown PCBs can be argued to be nonsense.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]MSI Z270 Gaming M6 AC is a no-nonsense board[/quote<] [list<][*<]There are five nonsense plastic decorations for the [i<]six[/i<] PCIe slots. [/*<][*<]The PCH heatsink is some kind of LED dragon abstract shape nonsense. [/*<][*<]Two of the PCIe slots are garnished with silver nonsense. [/*<][*<]The I/O port cluster if covered in plastic nonsense to hinder the VRM heatsink's airflow. [/*<][*<]The VRM heatsinks themselves are mostly decorative nonsense, both in shape and efficiency. [/*<][*<]The DIMM slots are tarted up with some silver bling nonsense. [/*<][*<]The lack of colour coded audio ports is just nonsense. [/*<][*<]The Killer NIC drivers are nonsense; In fact "gaming NICs" are all provably nonsense. [/*<][*<]The Wireless AC with only a 1x1 antenna connection is nonsense. [/*<][*<]The Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 2 is 100% pure nonsense.[/*<][/list<] I find this board guilty on ten counts of nonsense; How do you wish to plead?

      • Waco
      • 3 years ago

      THE DEFENDANT PLEADS GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS!

    • Derfer
    • 3 years ago

    I was actually considering this or the M5 till I saw it used the Killer E2500. These companies know these NICs are inferior to the Intel solutions, they know they have random compatibility issues, but they slap them on these boards anyway because of the marketing.

    Makes me wish Intel would rebrand one of their standard NICs to “Hyper Killer Xtreme” and change literally nothing else about it just to displace the E2500 from the market.

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      The E2400 was just a cheap Atheros NIC with a load of silly bloatware that provided dubious benefits to gaming whilst adding quirks that caused some fairly serious issues in other games and general connectivity.

      I have since run any board with Killer NICs in “dumb, Atheros” mode by not installing the software because at least you can rule out the Killer software stack from network issues then. I’m still utterly dumbfounded that people think shaving fractions of a millisecond off their latency is worthwhile, especially since your ISP can still have latency in the double figures when the server is in the same city as you.

      • deruberhanyok
      • 3 years ago

      +1, like, thumbs up, etc.

      The one dark spot in my otherwise glowing opinion of my Gigabyte GA-Z170MX Gaming 5. Is the “killer” NIC.

      I honestly would have been happier with a realtek something or other.

      (you know what really irks me, though? In linux the thing is just recognized as an Atheros chip and it works fine. but in Win10 there’s no built-in Atheros driver that works, so I have to go and install the “driver only” package from their website. Who installs drivers for a NIC these days? Seriously?)

      • LostCat
      • 3 years ago

      2500 uses a new driver stack which (TO MY KNOWLEDGE) doesn’t have the same problems. I’d like to try one sometime.

    • EndlessWaves
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]MSI Z270 Gaming M6 AC is a no-nonsense board[/quote<] [quote<]it resembles a stealth fighter in gunmetal grey and black.[/quote<] Um...

    • Khali
    • 3 years ago

    I hate to say it but I see lots of nonsense on this board. All that plastic bling that serves no function and the LED’s on the chipset heat sync are all useless stuff that just drives the cost up.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    What purpose do those numbered doohickeys on the expansion slots serve? Looks like they’re at least half the height of the expansion slot fitting.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]It includes diagnostic LEDs, [/quote<] OK WTF MSI?!?! You put LEDs onto a motherboard that might conceivably have some sort of utilitarian purpose? Get with the program here!

      • Growler
      • 3 years ago

      Seriously! Frivolous RGB LEDs or GTFO!

      • Redocbew
      • 3 years ago

      They’re obviously doing it wrong. It’s only when the LEDs stop blinking that there’s a problem.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      If it wasn’t for these on my B350 Tomahawk I may never have figured out why my Ryzen box wasn’t POSTing. I can forgive all kinds of finickiness for that.

      edit: wrong misappropriated pseudo-military name in the board title.

      • thedosbox
      • 3 years ago

      Recent experience with a H270M Mortar suggests those things are useless. The LED for the graphics card once lit up despite it outputting a signal to the monitor, and nothing lit up when the CPU power cable became detached from the power supply.

      I’m also not fond of the trend with ever larger heatsinks that make CPU cooler installation more difficult.

        • Waco
        • 3 years ago

        I’m not fond of the heatsinks being larger despite them being thermally far less efficient than a “basic ugly” heatsink.

        Why is it so hard for them to just make it look utilitarian? Efficiency is far more important to me than the way the damn thing looks.

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