The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 is compatible with Intel processors with the LGA 1151 socket.
It has 64 GB DDR4 maximum RAM and conforms to the ATX form factor standard.
|CPU Socket||LGA 1151||SLI Support||2 graphics cards|
|CPU Compatible Make||Intel||Crossfire Support||2 graphics cards|
|CPU Chipset||Intel® Z170 Express||Onboard GPU||yes|
|Form Factor||ATX||PCI Slots|
|Max RAM||64 GB DDR4||SATA 1.0||0|
|RAM Slots||4 x DDR4||SATA 2.0||0|
|Memory Channels||2||SATA 3.0||0|
|Compatible RAM Speeds||RAID Support||yes|
|USB 2.0 Internal Slots||4||Internal I/O|
|USB 2.0 Rear||2||Back Panel I/O|
|Graphics Card Interface||PCIe v3.0|
The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 uses the Intel LGA 1151 CPU socket. Any compatible Intel CPU will have the same socket entry. It uses the DDR4 memory type, with maximum speeds of up to 3200 MHz, and 0 DDR4 slots allowing for a maximum total of 64 GB RAM.
Conforming to the ATX standard, the MSI Z170A GAMING M5 should fit into the majority of cases. ATX is the most common form factor, and as such has a high degree of compatibility with other components while providing a decent number of slots to widen your expansion options.
The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 has 6 SATA 3.0 hard drive slots. These allow for theoretical data transfer speeds of up to 6GB/s, as opposed to the 3GB/s of SATA 2.0. Generally speaking, only high performance hard drives, specifically solid-state drives, will be able to take advantage of the bandwidth potential of SATA 3.0 ports, though it is backwards compatible, so you do not have to take advantage.
The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 supports onboard graphics. This allows for integrated graphics when paired with a compatible CPU that supports them. Integrated graphics are a cheap alternative to using a graphics card, but should be avoided when frequently using modern applications or games that require intense graphical processing. There are 3 PCIe x16 slots on this motherboard. This means it is perfectly capable of accommodating the latest graphics cards, although it is important to try and use a graphics card with the same graphics card interface of PCIe v3.0, as anything below will not reach the motherboard's potential, and anything above will have its performance slashed to the bandwidth maximum of the MSI Z170A GAMING M5's PCIe v3.0. The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 supports up to 2 Nvidia SLI connected graphics cards or up to 2 AMD Crossfire connected graphics cards for improved overall graphical performance at the cost of multiplied graphics-based power consumption as well as the price of the cards themselves.
The MSI Z170A GAMING M5 has 6 USB 2.0 slots but no USB 3.0 slots. While USB 3.0 slots are so far by no means necessary, and with a plethora of USB 2.0 peripherals to choose from, the USB functionality on this motherboard should be fine. If planning on building a new system, a motherboard with USB 3.0 is likely to have a longer life cycle, however.