Carbon fiber all the things
Gigabyte’s gaming 5 series has generally always been the value king, but it might need to rethink its game plan with the likes of MSI dropping this sweet little number on to the AMD playing field. It may not have as clean a look as Gigabyte s mighty Aorus lineup, but it’s hard to deny that the connectivity is there. Sort of.
Well, OK, so you lose out on a few banks of SATA 3, there’s no U.2, and it’s still prone to MSI’s haphazard butchery of the rear I/O, but all in all, it’s a well specced board for anyone looking to build a fairly entry-level Ryzen rig, even featuring DVI-I for those future APUs that might come out soon (seriously, we don’t know). All joking aside, couple this with a Ryzen 5 1600, and you’re looking at a six-core. 12-thread, DDR4-touting overclockable workstation base for a little under $400.
So. aesthetics. Yeah, it’s covered in a carbon fiber finish. Were not sure why. Honestly, do motherboards benefit from being lighter? (Spoiler: It s not carbon fiber.) It’s a controversial checkered finish that you’ll either love or hate. On the other hand, the black finish across the board is swell, and the RGB lighting is easy to configure to any color you want in MSI’s desktop app.
Onboard audio across the brands right now is pretty solid. Not quite up to the level of DAC and HRA, but for anyone simply wanting to plug and play, you’re unlikely to find much difference between motherboards. The Nahimic audio suite included with MSI’s lineup since the Z170 series, on the other hand, is a force to be reckoned with. For those familiar with THX’s Crystalizer software, way back in the days of Windows 7, think of this as that on steroids.
On to performance, and the Gaming Pro Carbon actually outshone its XPower cousin in the X265 benchmark, Cinebench, and even Fry Render, by around 1 percent in most cases. Memory latency was fairly middle ground, with power draw being our overall winner, both under load and idling. We also managed a swift 3,000MT/s overclock on our 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX kit as well—again, with the latest BIOS update. We can t stress enough how important it is that you update your BIOS if you’re already using—or thinking about jumping on to—the AM4 platform.
Ultimately. MSI’s X370 Gaming Pro Carbon is one of the best value boards out there. If you’re looking for all the connectivity and features that Ryzen has to offer in an affordable package, and aren’t too bothered about appearances, the Pro Carbon is definitely the board for you.
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- Dependable feature set; it’s black; RGB lighting; solid performance; staggering price.
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- Carbon finish is controversial; needs more rear I/O.