Our installation and overall experience with the MSI Z170A Gaming M9 was smooth and quite uneventful with respect to stability. Everything we threw at it below 4.8GHz was golden. Still, we know seasoned overclockers will have a field day pushing the limits and testing the numerous BIOS tuning options on this board, to eek out additional performance. In terms of the benchmark numbers, in general the MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK is right in the mix with many other top-shelf Z170 boards, and it offers rock-steady performance in any use case.
The MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK is an excellent, enthusiast-class motherboard and we think it looks great too. Its spacious and well-designed, loaded with features, both on the board itself and included in the utility suite. Its armored backplate and water-cooling accommodations built-into the heatsinks offer added peace of mind and expand customized cooling options. In addition, MSI has taken network gaming performance, system tuning, and audio very seriously, and provides users with a variety of ways to fine tune and enhance all three with options like Rivet's Double Shot Pro networking technology, a comprehensive BIOS / UEFI, and shielded audio components with Nihimic enhancements.
If you're light on cash, there are definitely cheaper options that offer similar stock performance on the market. However, this board's aggressive aesthetics and feature-packed nature help justify the addition cost. This board can also hold its own against some of the very best Z170-chipset motherboards on the market. For example, it's $100 cheaper than the ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme but offers similar performance. Comparably, you do lose out on a few extras with the MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK. There are fewer PCIe slots and slightly more limited multi-GPU support.
Other than that, you're still left with a rock-solid board that is ready for extreme gaming or extreme overclocking, and it looks sharp in the process. We highly recommend the MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK.
Roomy, easy to build
Killer DoubShot Pro Wi-Fi/LAN/Bluetooth
USB 3.1 ports (w/ Type-C)
Dual 4x M.2 storage support
7.1 Channels with Xtreme Audio
DDR4 Memory 3600MHz OC supported
Intuitive UEFI BIOS
OC at BIOS, on-board and the desktop