MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon CPU Power, DDR4 + PCIe Slots, M.2 Sockets
CPU Power & Overclockability
It has a fully-digital PWM architecture with load-line calibration. Although high quality (and expensive) analog PWM exists, digital PWM allows for more accurate control of the power frequency and modulation.
The MOSFETs and inductors are kept cool by aluminium alloy heatsinks, which help to increase reliability and longevity of the VRM.
To keep extreme gamers and overclockers happy, there are a total of SEVEN fan headers peppered throughout the motherboard. One of these is a dedicated water pump header that supports up to 2 amps, giving you full control of the water pump speed.
If there are any enthusiast-grade features that we regret were not included in this motherboard, it would be the Power and Reset buttons.
DDR4 Memory Slots
The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon (US | UK | MY) has four DDR4 DIMM slots. The Intel Z390 chipset only supports DDR4 memory up to 2666 MHz, but the Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon allows for overclocked memory clock speeds of up to 3600 MHz, with all four slots populated.
If you can live with just two slots, you can further push their clock speeds up to 4400 MHz! This is made possible by its fully-isolated memory circuitry and improved layout, which reduces interference for a cleaner signal.
The four memory slots are also covered with Steel Armor. In this case, it is not meant to add strength to the slots, but to protect them against electromagnetic interference.
PCI Express Slots
The first two PCI Express x16 slots are sheet metal reinforced – what MSI calls Steel Armor. They increase the rigidity of the PCI Express slots, allowing them to support heavy graphics cards. The third PCI Express x16 slot lacks this Steel Armor reinforcement.
The top-most PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot operates at full x16 speed with a single graphics card.
If you have two graphics cards, you will need to install them in the first and second PCIe x16 slots; and they will both run at x8 speed. The third PCIe x16 slot only runs at x4 speed.[adrotate group=”1″]
Dual PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 Sockets
The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard has two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 sockets. They support M.2 solid state drives, with lengths of 42 mm, 60 mm, 80 mm or 110 mm. The third PCI Express x16 slot (which runs at x4 speed) can be used to add a third SSD. You can run them in RAID 0, 1, 5 or 10.
Only the second M.2 socket has a heatsink, and it’s a large one. If you intend to install only one M.2 SSD, then you should obviously install it in the lower M.2 socket, so the drive is cooled.
The upper M.2 socket is “naked”, although you can always install a DIMM cooler to help keep both the memory modules and the SSD installed in this socket cool.