As soon as Intel releases the next flagship set of logic for desktop platforms, a contest called “the release of the most sophisticated motherboard” starts immediately. As a rule, a little time passes from the past of such a competition (thanks to Intel), and serious technological breakthroughs simply do not have time to mature. Therefore, you have to dodge: some add a second LAN, others add a dozen LEDs, still others increase the area of the radiators by 20%, and the fourth have fun with the color scheme. As a result, the product surprises not only with a set of “skills”, but also with its price.
In the contest “the cheapest motherboard on the top set of logic” there are much fewer people who want to participate. But in vain! Modern economic realities force every ruble to be counted, and the simple user somehow does not seek to give the top five for beautiful technologies that do not affect the performance of the technology. And to pamper yourself with overclocking, squeezing extra megahertz from the unlocked processors, those who wish are always there. Because the motherboard MPG Z390 GAMING PLUS from MSI at a price of 10 thousand rubles is of some interest. Can it work as efficiently as the top modifications costing 20-30 thousand?
- Form Factor: ATX (305 x 244 mm);
- Processor socket: LGA 1151 v2;
- System Logic: Intel Z390;
- RAM: 4x DIMM DDR4 2133-4400 MHz, up to 64 GB;
- Sound: HD Audio (Realtek ALC892);
- Wired network: 1 Gb Ethernet (Intel I219V);
- Expansion slots: 2x PCI-Ex16, 4x PCI-Ex1;
- Storage devices: 6x SATA III 6 Gbit / s, 2x M.2 (2280/22110, NVMe);
- Back panel: PS / 2, RJ45, 6x 3.5 mm jack, 2x USB 2.0, DVI-D, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 3.1 Type-C;
- Price: 10,000 rubles.
The motherboard comes in a small cardboard box.
Minimum equipment: instructions of different formats, a disk with drivers, a dummy on the rear panel, screws for the M.2 SSD
AppearanceThe board is full-sized, 305 x 244 mm. The “budget” segment is unambiguously indicated by the almost complete absence of marketing decorations and optional chips. But first things first.
The MPG Z390 GAMING PLUS is based on the Z390 chipset - a version of Z370 flavored with modern interfaces, which, in turn, is no different from the Z270.
Near the processor socket to a minimum of overall elements, and the installation of large cooling systems should not cause problems.
But nevertheless, with such a density of installation, the slots for RAM could be moved further from the socket. Modern DDR4 modules are often decorated with high heatsinks, which can "conflict" with the processor cooler. A set of DIMM slots is standard - four pieces, DDR4 is supported, the total amount of slats is not more than 64 GB.
Also pleased with the "old" slots with two latches on the module. Initially, they rested on the video card and prevented the removal of the strips from the assembled system unit, but in GAMING PLUS the DIMM and PCIEx16 slots were separated by a sufficient distance for the module to be removed freely.
The PCI Express slot configuration is interesting: only two x16 and four x1. Usually a third x16 is bred, to which 4 lines are connected. It is convenient to install RAID controllers and fast ssd in them: the farthest slot from the processor does not interfere with the video card.
In the case of GAMING PLUS, the first slot (from the socket) works in x16 and x8 modes, the second - x4. The red PCIE is additionally reinforced with a metal insert, which prevents mechanical damage to the slot design under heavy load. For more than 10 years of practice, I have not seen broken slots, but in general, additional fixation of the connector in the PCB is not harmful.
For fast drives, there are two M.2 connectors that support the installation of SSDs with SATA and NVMe. The standard length limit is 100 and 80 mm (near and far from the processor, respectively).
There is a third slot, which can be mistaken for another M.2 from a distance, but it is intended for a Wi-Fi adapter, which was not included in the price package for the sake of cost.
For slow drives, there are six SATA III ports, offset to the edge of the board in three dual corner connectors. This arrangement saves space, but disconnecting the cables in the assembled system unit is not very convenient.
Looking at the frankly mean back panel, you involuntarily ask yourself a question - why on the Z390 board along with native support for USB 3.1? On a different “office” mATX motherboard, the USB kit is richer. There are only six USB, a couple of which are the second version. Of the four remaining, only two are 3.1 gen 2.
There are four more 3.1, but for them you will have to take expansion strips with long cables - both pads are wired close to SATA. One of them is rotated 90 degrees, which is convenient when connecting the plug from the front panel of the system unit, but is extremely inconvenient in other cases.
Cooling on the GAMING PLUS is doing well. There are two large radiators - one on the system logic, the second on the power keys of the power subsystem.
True, not at all - the two phases were left without passive heat sink as less loaded. Another way to save on production as much as possible.
The power of the converter itself was enough for the i9-9900K, but I would not recommend revealing the full potential of this processor without finalizing the cooling of the power circuits.
The energy consumption of the stone jumps more than one and a half times, and the heating of mosfets under the radiator will exceed 50 degrees, without a radiator it turns out 70 or more. This is not fatal, but for a long time I would not use power components at this temperature.
To monitor the passage of the POST procedure, a simple indicator is soldered. Each LED is responsible for its initialization stage of the equipment, and in case of problems it is easy to determine the cause of the failure. A two-digit digital would be even better, but it apparently did not fit into the budget.
The sound subsystem is built on the basis of the ALC892 codec with a sophisticated power system.
To connect the fans, seven four-pin connectors are soldered to the board - three near the DIMM slots, one behind the block with audio jacks and three more on the left side.
BIOSThe UEFI BIOS Setup Menu shell is divided into two parts: simple and “advanced”. In simple single-screen mode, there is a minimum of information, only the most basic: information about components, boot devices, temperatures, voltages, active technologies, firmware version. You can set the basic modes of operation of some components.
In advanced mode, the menu is divided into two large sections. The first, Settings, contains the settings for the controllers and components of the board.
In the second, Overclock, everything for overclocking and fine-tuning the processor, RAM and voltage converters.
To save the settings, a system of profiles is provided that can be saved to USB drives.
Beginning enthusiasts can use the Board Explorer section, which clearly illustrates the slots and connectors involved. A summary of installed components is displayed below.
In general, the menu is simple and concise, but the firmware clearly needs refinement: after setting certain frequencies and voltages for the memory, the board went into a deep stupor, and you had to display it by resetting the settings with a jumper. From the second or third time the problem disappeared.
SoftwareThe set of proprietary software for Windows is small: Dragon Center utility is a single “control center” of the board. There is no such abundance of settings, as in the UEFI shell, but for an inexperienced user it is quite enough.
Monitoring of voltages, temperatures and revolutions is configured in the appropriate section, and displayed on a separate window.
EyeRest technology changes the color gamut and brightness settings, just five presets.
Gaming Lan Manager is responsible for setting up the network - speed test, access restriction, IP blocking, activity monitoring
Mystic Light is responsible for controlling the backlight on the board. There are two highlighted zones - the end at the power connector and the inscription GAMING PLUS next to the second CPI Express x16.
MSI Z390 GAMING PLUS is a practical and inexpensive motherboard capable of working with i3, i5, i7 and i9 processors on the Coffee Lake core. One of the main advantages in it is the price. This is one of the few full-sized motherboards on the Z390 with a wide range of configuration and overclocking capabilities. In pursuit of a low price, I had to cut off everything unnecessary, including USB connectors on the rear panel - there really are not enough of them, as well as cooling to the processor VRM mosfets. These moments cannot be called critical - USB can easily be expanded with trims or an additional controller for 700 rubles, and problems with cooling the power circuits are possible only when using the most powerful i7 and i9.
May not like
Small amount of USB on the back
Strong heating of VRM mosfets during overclocking of powerful processors.
Final rating: 7 out of 10.