Overclocking and Conclusion


To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. At the stock base clock speed of 100Mhz, we could not get the CPU to run at the expected 5.1GHz, nor would the board run the installed memory at anything close to 4000Mhz. We even saw this memory behavior when attempting to use the UEFI XMP functionality to run the memory at its factory rated settings. However, the system did stabilize with the CPU at 5.0GHz with a 4.8GHz ring bus and 3200MHz memory speeds. This was done at a 1.34V CPU voltage and a 1.35V memory voltage with all other values left at default settings. All overclocking sessions remained stable for over 4hrs. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA's OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 8x MSAA in stress test mode. Note that 8GB (2 x 4GB) of Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4-4000 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.

100MHz Base Clock Stats with 5.0GHZ CPU and 3200MHz memory speed

Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.


As of May 8, the MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard was available from Amazon.com for $187.16 with free shipping. The board was also available from Newegg.com for $174.99 and B&H for 164.99 with free shipping.


The MSI Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard is a well designed board with some aesthetic enhancements meant to appeal to the gaming enthusiast. MSI integrated a carbon fiber overlay into all board heat sinks, as well as the rear panel cover, giving the board a striking appeal when combined with its liberal sprinkling of LEDs and the black PCB. MSI integrated LEDS into the board's surface as well as along the upper and lower edges of the board bottom, giving the board a ground-effects style look when powered. The Z270 Gaming Pro Carbon performed well at stock settings, but fell a bit short in the overclocking department compared to what we've seen from other Intel Z270-based motherboards. The hinged M.2 cover plate / heat sink was another nice add-on from MSI, but it would have been a nice addition for both slots rather than just the M.2 slot underneath PCIe x1 slot 3..

The biggest oddity with the board was its overclocking performance. The board would not stabilize with the CPU above a 5.0GHz speed nor with memory running above 3200MHz. That with a CPU that has easily run 5.1GHz and memory that clocked 4000MHz on other Z270 motherboards. The other major oddity with the board was with its UEFI Game Boost function. It only offered an overclock of 4.8GHz whereas other motherboard vendors offer UEFI-assisted overclocking of 5.0GHz with a 7700K CPU. Both issues, while notable, should be able to be remedied in a future UEFI revision.

We will be taking a more in-depth look into this board and its features in the near future, which should uncover even more strengths with this board and its new branding than was discussed in this preview article.


  • Stock performance
  • Overclocking potential
  • Board aesthetics, layout, and design
  • UEFI BIOS design and usability
  • Configurable RGB LEDs using LED applet included with MSI Gaming App
  • Hinged M.2 cover plate / heatsink for secondary M.2 slot/li>
  • Ground-effects style under-board lighting


  • Unable to run memory at speeds above 3200Mhz
  • Lack of RGB LED configuration via UEFI
  • UEFI-assisted overclocking limited to CPU speeds of 4.8Ghz
  • CPU speeds limited to 5.0GHz for manual overclocking
  • CMOS battery placement
  • No PCIe x1 port to right of primary PCIe x16 slot
  • Lack of hinged cover plate / heat sink for both M.2 slots
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