MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC mITX Motherboard Reviewed & Overclocked

Daniel Dobrowolski writing for has just spent some quality time with the latest Gaming Mini-ITX motherboard from MSI, the MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC. The board of course is designed to work with the latest Skylake CPUs and is branded being a Mini-ITX board that packs plenty of features considering it’s restrictively petit 17cm x 17cm dimensions.

While packing enough features to compare with a full ATX board is never easy on a mITX board, creating a motherboard which can assist easy and problem-free overclocking can be a wholly different challenge. Daniel tested the overclocking experience of the MSI Z170I Gaming Pro AC and found that it might in fact be a tough gig for your average gamer:

I kept seeing my CPU clocks throttle down despite the temperature being under 65c. The clocks would drop into the 4.0-4.2GHz range and go as high as 4.5GHz despite being set for 4.7GHz. Like many other MSI motherboards, the Z170I Gaming Pro AC requires more hand tuning than most. I found that I had to set the CPU vCore for 1.42v, which is higher than I typically need. I then had to set the SA voltage to 1.1 and set the CPU current limit to 256. The last one was really the tricky part but that’s the setting that kept the system clocks from behaving the way I intended.

With regard to memory clocking, the Z170I Gaming Pro AC doesn’t handle anything above 2666MHz that well with this CPU at least. It may work with other CPU and memory combos, but in this case I had rampant instability, random restarts and BSODs at 2800MHz or more. After lots of time tuning and testing I discovered that the Z170I Gaming Pro AC needed the 1.42v vCore setting only due to running the RAM at 2666MHz.”

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