MSI Z370 Gaming Plus Review

If you plan to build a computer around a new 8th generation Coffee Lake processor from Intel, the MSI Z370 Gaming Plus may just be your best option.

MSI Z370 Gaming Plus Review

The Z370 Gaming Plus looks and performs like a thoroughbred gaming motherboard, with AMD CrossFire support, stylish looks, and even one RGB header. All of this comes for a lower price than we’re used to seeing on Z-series motherboards

Does the lower price indicate fewer features or less power? We’re determined to answer those questions, so we took the board through its paces to check it out. 

MSI Performance GAMING Intel 8th Gen LGA 1151 M.2 D-Sub DVI DP USB 3.0...
  • Supports 9th / 8th Generation Intel Core, Pentium, and Celeron Processors for Socket LGA 1151
  • Intel Z370 Express Chipset
  • Form Factor: ATX. EZ Debug LED : Easiest way to troubleshoot
  • 4 x DDR4 memory slots supporting up 64GB
  • Supports 2-Way AMD CrossFireX

MSI Z370 Gaming Plus (Our Review)

Overall Assessment 

The new Z370 Gaming Plus from MSI is a clear upgrade over the popular MSI B360 Gaming Plus. Not only do we get more processing power out of Intel’s Coffee Lake processors, but we also find some style improvements in a flashy red and black design.

This motherboard offers any budget gamer a decent set of features, with enough options to expand and upgrade your rig over time. 

Supported Processors

If you plan to unleash the power of your new Core i9 processor, but you’re on a limited budget, like many of us, this motherboard is an excellent choice. 

The Z370 chipset supports 8th generation Coffee Lake processors and offers backward compatibility with older SkyLake and Kaby Lake CPUs. 

Such compatibility makes it an excellent option for anyone interested in slowly building up their rig as they can afford it.

RAM

The Z370 Gaming Plus offers us a good 64GB of RAM across 4x DDR4 DIMM slots. Although it’s a decent amount, we would have loved to see a higher limit. This memory capacity should satisfy all but the most hardcore gamers. 

This RAM also matches what we saw on its AMD-compatible cousin, the MSI B450M Gaming Plus motherboard

Peripherals

Any gamer would love the peripheral support on this motherboard. While it doesn’t have the top-of-the-range features we like to see on gaming motherboards, it has enough to keep your rig competitive.

There’s one M.2 port along with 6x SATA 3 ports for our storage devices. The single M.2 port is a valuable inclusion, but we’ve seen similarly priced boards with 2x M.2 ports. 

We also find that there are fewer USB ports than we would’ve liked to see. 8x USB 3.1 ports and 6x USB 2.0 ports are more on the average side. The USB ports are more than enough for most users, but gamers who connect multiple devices may have to think about adding a USB hub.

MSI Performance GAMING Intel 8th Gen LGA 1151 M.2 D-Sub DVI DP USB 3.0...
  • Supports 9th / 8th Generation Intel Core, Pentium, and Celeron Processors for Socket LGA 1151
  • Intel Z370 Express Chipset
  • Form Factor: ATX. EZ Debug LED : Easiest way to troubleshoot
  • 4 x DDR4 memory slots supporting up 64GB
  • Supports 2-Way AMD CrossFireX

Graphics

The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus is a fantastic upgrade over the older MSI B250 PC Mate, but it lacks the exceptional multi-graphics capability of the MSI Z270 SLI. This board supports AMD CrossFire over 2x PCI x16 slots.

Audio

An average Realtek ALC892 codec is in charge of audio on this motherboard. While the ALC892 is not a “gaming-audio” chip, it delivers reasonably good sound. We also find 6x audio jacks that make connecting your surround sound a bit easier.

Aesthetics

The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus is a beautiful ATX motherboard. It comes in a dramatic red-and-black color scheme that can further be customized using an onboard RGB header. Its minimalistic design shouldn’t clash with your customization efforts too much.

It also has some beautiful heatsinks that remind us of the more expensive MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon WiFi.

Conclusion

The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus is a great budget motherboard. It offers a delicate balance of features and performance while maintaining its affordable price. If you’re looking to enter the lightning-fast world of Coffee Lake processors, primarily the Core i9, this motherboard has everything you need.

Pros

  • Affordable 
  • Military-grade components
  • Supports AMD Crossfire
  • Stylish design
  • Energy efficient
MSI Performance GAMING Intel 8th Gen LGA 1151 M.2 D-Sub DVI DP USB 3.0...
  • Supports 9th / 8th Generation Intel Core, Pentium, and Celeron Processors for Socket LGA 1151
  • Intel Z370 Express Chipset
  • Form Factor: ATX. EZ Debug LED : Easiest way to troubleshoot
  • 4 x DDR4 memory slots supporting up 64GB
  • Supports 2-Way AMD CrossFireX

Cons

  • Only 1x M.2 port
  • Average audio

Common questions about MSI Z370 Gaming Plus motherboard

Can you overclock the MSI Z370 Gaming Plus motherboard?

The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus offers reliable overclocking with the Click BIOS 5 software. Using the software is straightforward and makes overclocking easy.

Does the MSI Z370 Gaming Plus have onboard Wi-Fi?

The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus doesn’t have onboard Wi-Fi, so an external adaptor will have to be installed.

Customer Reviews

“I managed to overclock my 8600k easily with the MSI Z370 Gaming Plus. Remember to update the BIOS before you attempt to overclock. ”

HonestReviewer

5/5 Stars

“The MSI Z370 Gaming Plus works great, but I dislike the EZ Debug LEDs. One LED is constantly on if you have a graphics card installed in the PCIe x16 slot.”

Maxime Jutras

3/5 Stars 

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