MSI unleashes more than 30 new Kaby Lake and AMD Ryzen motherboards

Brace yourself. The motherboards are coming.

The “M” in “MSI” must stand for “motherboards,” because at CES 2017 the company launched more than 30 new mobos designed to work with Intel’s just-dropped Kaby Lake desktop processors. Thirty. Kaby. Lake. Motherboards.

But a pair of motherboards tucked away at the end of the display proved just as exciting—the first desktop AM4 motherboards for AMD’s hotly anticipated Ryzen processors and Bristol Ridge APUs that I’ve ever seen in the wild.

AMD AM4

Sure, it was a bit anticlimactic since AMD announced an army of AM4 motherboards mere hours later, but it was still good to see a Ryzen motherboard in the proverbial flesh, hanging toe-to-toe with its high-end Kaby Lake counterpart.

msi am4 motherboards Brad Chacos

MSI’s X370 Xpower Gaming Titanium (left) and B350 Tomahawk (right).

The MSI X370 Xpower Gaming Titanium (which gets its name from the AM4 X370 chipset) mirrors MSI’s Titanium Z270 motherboard for Kaby Lake in many ways, right down to debuts never before seen in an AMD motherboard, such as DDR4 RAM and MSI’s own one-click “Game Boost” button, which automatically overclocks your games for enhanced performance. The X370 board also supports U.2 and M.2 SSDs, up to three graphics cards, USB 3 ports galore, and more—though it lacks the unique “M.2 Shield” found on some high-end MSI motherboards to protect against potential damage and bring down SSD temps just a wee bit.

The MSI B350 Tomahawk is based on AMD’s toned-down B350 chipset for Bristol Ridge APUs, so it lacks some of the X370 board’s bells and whistles. The Tomahawk doesn’t include a U.2 slot, for example, and only a single M.2 SSD vs the Titanium’s two. Bristol Ridge APUs have only been available in pre-built systems up until now, however, so it’s nice that discrete desktop components are starting to trickle out to the streets.

More like Kaby Ocean

But the real meat in MSI’s booth was the legion of Kaby Lake motherboards. All 30-plus weren’t on show, but a healthy number of them were. MSI splits its motherboards up into several series, with several models in each.

msi m2 shield Dan Masaoka

The unique M.2 Shield found on many of MSI’s higher-end Kaby Lake motherboards.

The Enthusiast Gaming series packs all the bells and whistles you can ask for, from the aforementioned exotic SSDs and one-push Game Boost to refined heat sinks and support for as many graphics cards as you can throw at them. (Okay, up to three or four.) The highlight of this class is the Z270 Gaming M7 (which actually won a CES 2017 Innovation Award for its design), resembling the aggressive, angular look of an alien ship. Nasty, shooty aliens, too—not nice ones. But the motherboard sure looks purdy!

Right below that is the Performance Gaming series. These motherboards pack most of the same features of the Enthusiast Gaming motherboards, but may be missing a feature or two, and they sport more in-your-face “gamer”-style designs. That goes doubly so for the Z270 Krait Gaming motherboard pictured above, which MSI designed to fit in more color neutral cases where flashy colors just wouldn’t fit. One particularly interesting tidbit: MSI dips the PCI-E brackets for the Krait Gaming motherboard into a sort of liquid paint that leaves each one with a unique, camouflage-like look. No two are alike.

z270 krait gaming Dan Masaoka

The design on the Z270 Krait Gaming’s PCI-E slots is like zebra stripes in more ways than one.

Finally—barring business-centric models that we aren’t focused on here—you’ll find the Arsenal Gaming series. It’s awfully similar to the Performance Gaming series, but with an aesthetic design inspired by tank treads. If you look at the collective picture of MSI’s Kaby Lake motherboards at the top of this page, you’ll notice that all the Arsenal models appear to have been driven over by tanks. That’s intentional!

All of MSI’s new Kaby Lake motherboards, just like every new Kaby Lake motherboard, are also ready for the revolutionary new “Optane” storage that Intel’s preparing to launch later in 2017. What does that mean, exactly? Well, no one knows, yet. But it’s good to know these motherboards will be ready to ride the bleeding edge either way.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags CES 2017

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?