The majority of Z170 motherboards have adopted a rather bold and ostentatious aesthetic design aimed at the gaming market. However, the MSI Z170A PC Mate is an unusual LGA 1151 motherboard which provides a stable, simplistic layout at an ultra-cheap price point. This particular board is quite bare-bones and features a 6-phase CPU power delivery and subtle heatsinks.
MSI’s Z170A PC Mate adopts an understated black theme with white accents to add a degree of visual flair. The PCB thickness is currently unknown but probably uses 4 layers to improve rigidity and help withstand component installation. MSI’s Military Class V branding is present throughout and includes 2 PCI-E x16 slots. Additionally, there are 2 legacy PCI slots, 5 SATA ports and a single SATA-E connection. In terms of rear IO, the board contains 6 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, RJ45, DVI-I, VGA and audio jacks.
Despite the board’s budget focus, you can easily use DDR4 RAM with speeds up to 3400MHz and a maximum capacity of 64GB. From the picture above, we can see a EZ Debug LED which helps with diagnostics and cheaper to implement than a post readout. It will be fascinating to see what kind of overclock is possible on the PC Mate. However, I’m not entirely sure if this will make its way to the US and European market but it might become a popular choice in China.
Do you think it’s worth spending the extra on a premium motherboard?