Review MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge: A Mid-Sized Value

AlistairAB

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May 21, 2014
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Nice review, but I feel you could have emphasized a little bit more on the voltage regulator issue, that it really isn't acceptable. Enhanced all core turbo is 5ghz. STOCK all core turbo for the 9900k is 4.7ghz. So basically the review shows (as my own purchase showed before I returned the motherboard and CPU) that the 9900k can not run its stock turbo with this board: not even in an open test bench without heat from the video card. 4.5ghz really isn't satisfactory when you could have been running a 4.9 or 5ghz 8700k or 8086k with the same motherboard.

Throttling is "minor" but is that really our expectations for a $200 motherboard? It's the most expensive micro atx Z390 in the store. Z390 motherboards were not re-engineered for the 8 core CPUs as hoped, it is just a Z370 with a new coat of paint. If you want 6 cores, it is an ok motherboard. 6 cores throttled at 4.9ghz.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Nice review, but I feel you could have emphasized a little bit more on the voltage regulator issue, that it really isn't acceptable. Enhanced all core turbo is 5ghz. STOCK all core turbo for the 9900k is 4.7ghz. So basically the review shows (as my own purchase showed before I returned the motherboard and CPU) that the 9900k can not run its stock turbo with this board: not even in an open test bench without heat from the video card. 4.5ghz really isn't satisfactory when you could have been running a 4.9 or 5ghz 8700k or 8086k with the same motherboard.

Throttling is "minor" but is that really our expectations for a $200 motherboard? It's the most expensive micro atx Z390 in the store.
If you have the cooling you can set it up to run 4.90 GHz on a 9900K that overheats at anything greater than 1.30V and needs around 1.35V to get to 5.0GHz until it overheats.

9900K is a special circumstance due to its extra cores, with 8700K and 8086K having quite lower power loads. Prime95 in small FFTs is also a special circumstance due to the application pushing AVX registers harder than any "real world" application we've tested. We take every board's stress level to these maximums in our search for something that has the quality to survive these unrealistic loads, and the best boards are only pushing the same CPU to 4949 MHz.

We've only found two boards that are maginal at these loads: Both are MSI boards and both cost slightly less than $200. Every cheaper board fails miserably in the same stress test. Most higher-priced boards pass the same stress test. And those factors put both $190 boards in a PRICING niche between the ones that fail miserably and the ones that have no issues stress testing the 9900K.
 

jpe1701

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Mar 13, 2015
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I know you only do the Intel boards, but when can we expect some AMD x470 or b450 reviews? The best motherboard article is very outdated. Last I heard the AMD review writer had a day job so was really behind but I'm looking at b450 boards like the Asrock b450m steel legend and there aren't any reviews.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
I know you only do the Intel boards, but when can we expect some AMD x470 or b450 reviews? The best motherboard article is very outdated. Last I heard the AMD review writer had a day job so was really behind but I'm looking at b450 boards like the Asrock b450m steel legend and there aren't any reviews.
I did some X470 and B450 reviews to take up the slack from our AMD tester, and he even surprised me with a B450 article that we published last weekend. I thought he was still busy with X399 ;)

Anyway, we just got offered another board about a week ago and it still hasn't arrived yet, but we are pushing out whatever we get.
 

AlistairAB

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May 21, 2014
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If you have the cooling you can set it up to run 4.90 GHz on a 9900K that overheats at anything greater than 1.30V and needs around 1.35V to get to 5.0GHz until it overheats.

9900K is a special circumstance due to its extra cores, with 8700K and 8086K having quite lower power loads. Prime95 in small FFTs is also a special circumstance due to the application pushing AVX registers harder than any "real world" application we've tested. We take every board's stress level to these maximums in our search for something that has the quality to survive these unrealistic loads, and the best boards are only pushing the same CPU to 4949 MHz.

We've only found two boards that are maginal at these loads: Both are MSI boards and both cost slightly less than $200. Every cheaper board fails miserably in the same stress test. Most higher-priced boards pass the same stress test. And those factors put both $190 boards in a PRICING niche between the ones that fail miserably and the ones that have no issues stress testing the 9900K.
I guess part of it is that I was spoiled by the 8086k computer I built with the Asus Strix Z370M. It hit 4.9ghz at 1.26V with no problems. I hope Asus gives us a nice micro atx board next gen that isn't the Gene that costs $600 CAD. Did anyone review the Asus Tuf Z390M and find similar throttling to this MSI board? I didn't mean to sound too critical, I'm so happy you even talked about the throttling at all! I used you as a reference to a customer that I wasn't making stuff up haha, so people have realistic expectations. It's one of the most important parts of a motherboard review for me. Thank you.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
I guess part of it is that I was spoiled by the 8086k computer I built with the Asus Strix Z370M. It hit 4.9ghz at 1.26V with no problems. I hope Asus gives us a nice micro atx board next gen that isn't the Gene that costs $600 CAD. Did anyone review the Asus Tuf Z390M and find similar throttling to this MSI board? I didn't mean to sound too critical, I'm so happy you even talked about the throttling at all! I used you as a reference to a customer that I wasn't making stuff up haha, so people have realistic expectations. It's one of the most important parts of a motherboard review for me. Thank you.
You got spoiled by a six-core CPU. Well so did I, with the 8700K. But the 9900K has two more physical cores and that's why our overclocking attempts are thermally limited to 1.30V. I mean, we could use sub-ambient cooling, but that's not very realistic.

I actually got this one previously tested. I believe it was rated 5.20 GHz at 1.45V. But once again, I'm not using sub-ambient cooling, and the tester wasn't using Prime95 small-FFTs.
 

jpe1701

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Mar 13, 2015
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I did some X470 and B450 reviews to take up the slack from our AMD tester, and he even surprised me with a B450 article that we published last weekend. I thought he was still busy with X399 ;)

Anyway, we just got offered another board about a week ago and it still hasn't arrived yet, but we are pushing out whatever we get.
Thank you. I guess i missed that review for the gaming pro carbon. Little expensive for what I want. I'm looking for micro atx for an htpc/living room gaming build but I want the vregs to be good enough to handle my 2700x at stock because I plan on migrating that into the build after zen 2 comes out and I upgrade.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Thank you. I guess i missed that review for the gaming pro carbon. Little expensive for what I want. I'm looking for micro atx for an htpc/living room gaming build but I want the vregs to be good enough to handle my 2700x at stock because I plan on migrating that into the build after zen 2 comes out and I upgrade.
Excellent, I'm working to secure a board that matches this description.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Thank you. I guess i missed that review for the gaming pro carbon. Little expensive for what I want. I'm looking for micro atx for an htpc/living room gaming build but I want the vregs to be good enough to handle my 2700x at stock because I plan on migrating that into the build after zen 2 comes out and I upgrade.
It took a while to get the board we were promised, but here's the review (sorry I probably missed your purchase date).
https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/biostar-racing-b450gt3-micro-atx-motherboard,6052.html
 

MaCk0y

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Apr 17, 2013
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I recently got this board along with a 9900K and I don't have problems with the VRM overheating. I have the 9900K running at all core 5GHz at 1.30V. LLC set to Mode 3 and CPUs switching frequency set to 375KHz. No throttling at all. I also have the RAM overclocked from 3600MHz to 4000MHz and will probably try to push them further.
 
Nov 14, 2019
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I recently got this board along with a 9900K and I don't have problems with the VRM overheating. I have the 9900K running at all core 5GHz at 1.30V. LLC set to Mode 3 and CPUs switching frequency set to 375KHz. No throttling at all. I also have the RAM overclocked from 3600MHz to 4000MHz and will probably try to push them further.

Thats great to hear. I am about to buy this for a small build with a custom loop. If you don't mind me asking, what RAM are you using? Also, since I am using LIQ, Im thinking of buying this monoblock that will help cool the VRM.

https://shop.bitspower.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=7072&search=z390m+

@Crashman do you have any experience with "Bitspower"? The rest of my components will be from EK but they dont make a monoblock for this particular board. Just the MEG.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Thats great to hear. I am about to buy this for a small build with a custom loop. If you don't mind me asking, what RAM are you using? Also, since I am using LIQ, Im thinking of buying this monoblock that will help cool the VRM.

https://shop.bitspower.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=7072&search=z390m+

@Crashman do you have any experience with "Bitspower"? The rest of my components will be from EK but they dont make a monoblock for this particular board. Just the MEG.
Every monoblock-equipped board we test had the block produced by Bitspower. CPU temperatures are mediocre, but they do a great job on the voltage regulator. And by mediocre for the CPU, I mean "I can't believe I went through all the work to install custom liquid cooling just to get the same CPU temperature as the all-in-one I replaced" -degrees.
 
Nov 14, 2019
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Every monoblock-equipped board we test had the block produced by Bitspower. CPU temperatures are mediocre, but they do a great job on the voltage regulator. And by mediocre for the CPU, I mean "I can't believe I went through all the work to install custom liquid cooling just to get the same CPU temperature as the all-in-one I replaced" -degrees.

HAHA!!! Thanks for info and advice. My last build on the core v21 was with 2 AIOs, 240mm for the CPU and 140mm for the GPU. Temps were great. Looking to do a custom loop this time around, part for the challenge on the VT 20 case, and part because i've never done it, and part b/c I like the look :) Thanks for the prompt response, I will def be buying this mobo and pairing with an i9-9900K.
 

MaCk0y

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Apr 17, 2013
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Thats great to hear. I am about to buy this for a small build with a custom loop. If you don't mind me asking, what RAM are you using? Also, since I am using LIQ, Im thinking of buying this monoblock that will help cool the VRM.

https://shop.bitspower.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=7072&search=z390m+

@Crashman do you have any experience with "Bitspower"? The rest of my components will be from EK but they dont make a monoblock for this particular board. Just the MEG.
G.SKILL F4-3600C17-16GTRS.
 

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