MSI Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon Review

Published by Luca Rocchi on 13.02.19

With the Gaming Pro Carbon, MSI has a well equipped mid-range motherboard in its portfolio, which comes with a bunch of interesting features. There are for example two M.2 Gen 3 x4 slots as well as a good looking design. Apart from that this model should feature a rather interesting price.






Specs and Delivery

Chipset Intel Z390
Memory Dual Channel DDR4, 4 x DIMM, Max. 64 GB DDR4, 4400 OC, Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Slots
  • 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16
  • 3 x PCIe x1
Audio Realtek ALC1220P-VB2
Storage Intel Z390 chipset
  • 2 x M.2 slots
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
Network Intel I219V Gigabit LAN Controller
Internal Connectors
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 connectors
  • 2 x USB 2.0 connectors
  • 1 x 4-pin CPU fan connector
  • 1 x 4-pin Water Pump connector
  • 5 x 4-pin system fan connectors
  • 1 x Serial port connector
  • 1 x Front panel audio connector
  • 2 x System panel connectors
  • 1 x Thunderbolt Add-on Card Connector
  • 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
  • 1 x TPM module connector
  • 2 x 4-pin RGB LED connectors
  • 1 x 3-pin RAINBOW LED connector
  • 1 x 3-pin CORSAIR LED connector
Extrenal Connectors
  • 1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
  • 1 x HDMI Port
  • 1 x DisplayPort 1.2 Port
  • 1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Ports
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Ports
  • 1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED
  • HD Audio Jacks
Forfactor ATX


Power design

VCC

VCCGT

Controller Phases Doppler Highside MOSFETs Lowside MOSFETs Controller Phases Doppler Highside MOSFETs Lowside MOSFETs
UPI uP9521P 5 x 2 - 5 x Onsemi 4C029N 5 x Onsemi 4C024N Same VCC 1 - 1 x Onsemi 4C029N 2 x Onsemi 4C024N


Gallery

  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon
  • MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon


Benchmarks


Conclusion

General   + -
A closer look at the motherboard lineup from MSI reveals that the MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is a high-end model, regarding their gaming branded Z390 based products. Compared to the previous model, MSI has changed completely the design of the heat sinks as well as the color scheme. Last but not least there are several good features like several USB 3.1 ports, a good flexbility regarding the storage and Mystic Light RGB with several effects. The motherboard  is currently listed on Geizhals for 190 Euro, which is perfectly reasonable considering the feature list.    - Design
- Layout
 
       
Layout   + -
The layout of the MSI Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon AC has been well thought. This model features six angled SATA which can be found in the bottom right corner. Since the Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is a mid-range motherboard, it's no surprise that there aren't any power- and/or reset-buttons. Apart from that we like the placement of the full-sized PCI-Express slots and two of them are being equipped with metal reinforcement plates. There is a total of three full sized PCI Express slots and three PCIe x1 slots. This means that there is plenty of space for graphics cards in multi GPU setups to breathe. In addition there are two M.2 slots.  

- Space around the CPU socket - Realtek ALC1220

 
       
Power design   + -
On the MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard we find 4 x 2 + 1 phase power design. Nevertheless it's based on uPI's mid-range uP9521P controller regarding the VCC side. Furthermore there are four Onsemi 4C029N on the highside and four Onsemi 4C024N MOSFETs on the lowside. Regarding the VCCGT section we see a similar design, MSI has placed the same PWM controller and one MOSFET.

Overall the VRM design is certainly good enough for a wide variety of users.
   
       
Performance   + -
At the moment our test setup includes only eight motherboards but during the upcoming we will add more models. Calculating the average of all benchmarks results we ran, we see that this board scores 7th but the gap with the 1st place isn't so far at all. The difference is about 5%. Checking out the energy efficiency we see that this board is in the bottom part of our chart. Maybe with a BIOS update, we might see better perfomance on this motherboard. We are quite confident about that.   - Power consumption
       
Recommendation   + -
The MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is a well equipped Z390 motherboard. This board is also rather quick according to our 2D and 3D benchmarks. On top of that it comes with a vast feature set. If you are looking for a ATX motherboard based on Intel Z390 chipset and you haven't big pockets, we suggest to check out this model. The MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is available on Geizhals for 190 Euro.   - Price
       
Rating
We give the MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon AC excellent 4 out of 5 stars.



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MSI Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon Review - Motherboards Intel Z390 - Reviews - ocaholic