The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon Motherboard Review!

MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon SATA Ports, Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 3, I/O Ports, Mystic Light

Limited SATA Ports

The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon (US | UK | MY) has six standard SATA 6Gb/s ports. There are no SATA Express ports. But what’s really problematic is the stacked side-facing design. They may prove to be troublesome to access in tight cases. If only MSI included a few vertical ports.

Do note that the first M.2 socket (M2_1) uses the SATA_2 port, if you opt to use it in the SATA mode. In addition, the second M.2 socket (M2_2) uses both the SATA_5 and SATA_6 ports in PCIe mode.

What this basically means is you have limited support for SATA drives with the Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon. It’s not the end of the world, but don’t expect to run two M.2 SSDs with six SATA drives. That’s not happening.

You can have six SATA drives only if you install one SSD in the first M.2 socket in PCIe mode. With two SSDs in PCIe mode, you can only have a maximum of four SATA drives.


Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 3

The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon (US | UK | MY) features their Audio Boost 4 audio technology, which promises to deliver “studio-grade” audio capabilities.

Although MSI has been quite reticent about their Audio Boost 4 technology, our investigation revealed that it consists of :

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  • an EMI-shielded Realtek ALC1220P audio processor
  • an isolated audio circuit
  • Japanese-made Chemi-Con capacitors
  • dual op amplifiers
  • Nahimic 3 virtual 7.1 sound software

Their Nahimic 3 software is what creates a virtual 7.1 surround sound effect out of ordinary stereo sound. It will give you better directional audio cues when you game, and a more immersive listening experience when you watch movies, or listen to music.


Rear I/O Ports

The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon (US | UK | MY) has pre-installed shields for the rear I/O ports, for easier installation and better EMI protection.

To the left are two USB 2.0 Type A ports with a PS/2 combo port above, followed by the DisplayPort and HDMI ports. Marked in red are two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports – one Type A and one Type C.

Next, you have the Intel I219V LAN port, with two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (red). Finally, we have the five audio ports and the optical S/PDIF out port.


MSI Mystic Light

As its name suggests, the MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon (US | UK | MY) is designed to appeal to gamers. Hence, it supports the MSI Mystic Light technology, which allows you to control and sync RGB LED lighting on the motherboard and other compatible devices.

Mystic Light gives you full control of the 16.8 million LED colours with 29 light effects. Thanks to the provided extension cables, it is compatible with standard RGB, RAINBOW as well as CORSAIR LED lights.

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