MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi Review

With the introduction of the Intel Rocket Lake-S processors, there is also a new chipset, including new mainboards. The following is a closer look at the MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi to show a few changes to the new circuit boards as an example. Overall, you can say that the equipment has made a small step forward.


The Gaming Carbon has been the top model in the MPG series from MSI for some time. It doesn’t matter which socket or chipset is on the board. The MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi can also be understood in the same way. For gamers, it should have everything they need and offer slightly upscale features. This time, the board has got a twin, so to speak – the MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Force dispenses with the WLAN adapter and is more colorful, but otherwise designed and equipped identically ( see Intel Z590 overview ). The most recent version of the carbon motherboard has reduced its playful character a bit, but not completely discarded it.

Basically, the change from the Z490 to the Z590 chipset should also lead to changes in functionality. This is of course because the 11th generation Intel Core CPUs now provide 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes. So not only can the graphics card use the faster standard, but also, as with AMD since Ryzen since 1000, an SSD can be connected directly to the CPU. As with the competition from Ryzen 3000, the data carrier can also work with Gen4 lanes. MSI now refers to this as Lightning Gen4, which is actually no specialty or no different from normal PCIe 4.0 lanes.

Scope of delivery

The manufacturer not only advertised the board itself, but also the more comprehensive scope of delivery. The extensions and adapters for the 5V and 12V (A) RGB headers are not new. Also, a cable to connect a CorsairLightning Hubs is back. However, the number of SATA cables has deteriorated for several generations. There are only two left here. What is new is that there are cable labels for the SATA and (A) RGB cables. Also new is a small sheet with high-quality stickers, which can also be attached to the battery. Fortunately, you miss a driver CD / DVD. Software and drivers are now included on a USB stick. The two included screwdrivers in key optics and the brush can be described as really completely new. Do you really need that? Probably not, especially since the screwdrivers are actually almost too big for most of the screws on the board.

The specifications

So that you can immediately see where there are changes compared to the last two generations, the corresponding models have also been included in the following table. The direct predecessor is likely to be of particular interest, as the 1200 socket is also used here. You will quickly notice the higher RAM rate, although you have to say that the value only relates to a single-sided DIMM configuration. With two single-sided DIMMs, for example, it should be possible to achieve 4400+ MHz on both boards. So apparently not a really big change. Of course, the power supply also catches the eye. With 16 + 1 phases it is clearly drilled out again. How the structure is to be understood in concrete terms will be explained again later. To ensure a secure energy supply, two 8-pin EPS and a PCIe 6-pin socket for the PCIe slots have now been soldered on. But here the question also arises whether this is really needed in times of dying multi-GPU systems. Progress can be found in the M.2 slots, of which there are now three instead of two. The WLAN adapter has also been improved. There is now WiFi 6E instead of WiFi 6. Thunderbolt is not implemented directly, but there is a header for the current TB4 standard. The Z590 Gaming Carbon also makes use of the new Realtek ALC4080. There are 2 slots, of which there are now three instead of two. The WLAN adapter has also been improved. There is now WiFi 6E instead of WiFi 6. Thunderbolt is not implemented directly, but there is a header for the current TB4 standard. The Z590 Gaming Carbon also makes use of the new Realtek ALC4080. There are 2 slots, of which there are now three instead of two. The WLAN adapter has also been improved. There is now WiFi 6E instead of WiFi 6. Thunderbolt is not implemented directly, but there is a header for the current TB4 standard. The Z590 Gaming Carbon also makes use of the new Realtek ALC4080.

The mainboard at a glance
 designation  MSI MPG Z590
Gaming Carbon WiFi
Gaming Carbon WiFi
Gaming Carbon
 Mainboard format  ATX
 base LGA 1200 LGA 1151 v2
 price  ~ 330 €
 Manufacturer homepage
Chipset key data
 Chipset  Intel Z590  Intel Z490  Intel Z390
 Memory banks and type  4x DDR4 up to 5333 MHz  4x DDR4 up to 4800 MHz  4x DDR4 up to 4400 MHz
 Random Access Memory (RAM)  max. 128 GB
 SLI / CrossFire  3-Way AMD CrossFireX (x8 / x8 / x4)  NVIDIA 2-Way-SLI (x8 / x8),
AMD 3-Way-CrossFireX (x8 / x8, x8 / x8 / x4)
 Phases  16 + 1 + 1 phases (75A MOSFETs)  12 + 1 (60A MOSFETs) 10 + 1
Power connections  2 x 8-PIN
1x 24-PIN ATX
1x 6-pin
 1x 8-pin
1x 4-pin
1x 24-pin
 1x 8-pin
1x 4-pin
1x 24-pin
Features key facts
 PCI Express  1x PCIe 4.0 x16
1x PCIe 4.0 x16 (x8)
1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4)
2x PCIe 3.0 x1
 1x PCIe 3.0 x16
1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x8)
1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4)
2x PCIe 3.0 x1
 1x PCIe 3.0 x16
1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x8)
1x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x4)
3x PCIe 3.0 x1
 NMVe- and SATA  6x SATA  1x PCIe 4.0 x4  2x PCIe 3.0 x4 & SATA  6x SATA
2x PCIe 3.0 x4 & SATA
 6x SATA
2x PCIe 3.0 x4 & SATA
 USB  1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2
4x USB 3.2 Gen.2
4x USB 3.2 Gen.1
8x USB 2.0
 1x USB 3.2 Gen2x2
5x USB 3.2 Gen.2
2x USB 3.2 Gen.1
6x USB 2.0
 5x USB 3.2 Gen.2
4x USB 3.2 Gen.1
6x USB 2.0
 Thunderbolt  AiC header (13-pin)   AiC header (5-pin)
 LAN  1x 2.5Gb LAN (Intel I225-V)  1x 2.5Gb LAN (Realtek RTL8125B-CG)  1x 1Gb LAN (Intel I229-V)
 Wireless  2×2 Wi-Fi 6E (Intel AX210)
Bluetooth 5.2
 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 (AX201)
Bluetooth 5.1
 Audio  Realtek ALC4080
1x Toslink
5x 3.5mm jack
 Realtek ALC1220
1x Toslink
5x jack 3.5mm
 Fan header  1x CPU fan header
6x fan header
1x pump header
 1x CPU fan header
5x fan header
1x pump header
 lighting  2 zones
1x 4-pin, 12V
2x 3-pin, 5V
1x 3-pin Corsair , 5V
 3 zones
2x 4-pin, 12V
1x 3-pin, 5V
1x 3-pin Corsair , 5V

The connection on the MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi

For the new Z590 mainboards, MSI has also revised the diagram showing the connection of the respective circuit board. The new view is even better structured, but it may also be due to the MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi itself that everything can be read directly from the following image. As you can easily see, the first and second PCIe expansion slot as well as the first M.2 slot are connected directly to the CPU, provided that it is an Intel Rocket Lake-S CPU, of course. With a Comet Lake-S CPU, the first M.2 slot cannot be used and the two upper x16 slots are connected to the CPU with Gen3 lanes. But you can also quickly see that the chipset is now connected with DMI x8 instead of x4. This then provides all other connections on the board. With AMD, the CPU can also help here. At Intel, however, the boards are a little less dependent on the CPU generation, should there be differences. You can see here that lane sharing is only used for the data carriers, which is broken down in more detail below.

The middle and lower M.2 slots share the connection with various SATA sockets. The table shows which combination is actually possible. In total, a maximum of eight data carriers can be connected directly with the appropriate CPU. Additional PCIe SSDs could be connected via PCI_E5 and of course PCI_E3.

There are no real special features in terms of internal connections. Since the Z590 chipset now supports TB4, the corresponding header can also be found on several boards or the connection is also partially installed directly. At MSI, it is no longer a specialty that you can plug in a Corsair Lighting Hub so that you can do without a Corsair controller. It can be said that the fan headers are well placed. In any case better than z. B. the MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge WiFi, in which almost all can be found on the lower edge. One can also mention that the internal USB-C header “only” implements 3.2 Gen2. The buyer did not want to buy a second Gen2x2, although the chipset would actually be able to do so.

Detailed view/features I

The fact that it is the MSI MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi can easily be seen without the lettering. As the only board from the manufacturer, decorative elements with a carbon-look are installed. Real carbon fiber would be cooler, of course, but that would only increase the price unnecessarily. Overall, the new circuit board is rather dark and is only interrupted a little by the two stripes on the I / O cover and M.2 heat sink. The two steel slots also stand out slightly from the gloomy appearance. The MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Carbon, for example, still relied on silver cooling blocks and looked a little more playful.

The new type of voltage converter heat sink is a particular eye-catcher. Instead of a simple aluminum block, the new design offers a significantly larger surface. This is achieved by providing the base plate with towers, so to speak. The design also provides that not only the MOSFETs but also the coils are also cooled. In contrast to the mainboards with extended heatsink (see MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk ), the I / O panel on the MPG Z590 Gaming Carbon WiFi is made of plastic and not aluminum. For this purpose, a lighting zone has been placed here.

What is new is that three M.2 SSDs can now be accommodated. These can be hidden under an M.2 Shield Frozr. While the upper and lower slot can also be reached when using a triple-slot graphics card, the middle one can only be equipped without a graphics card installed. This is also because the heat sink is significantly larger there and also covers the PCH cooling block. The top slot is connected to the CPU, so it can only be used if an eleventh-generation processor is used. PCIe 4.0 is then also used here. The lower two slots are attached to the chipset and can therefore only work with Gen3 lanes.

The extras on the board include the 2-digit LED for postcode diagnosis and the status LEDs. On the lower edge of the board, there is also the LED switch again, with which the lighting of the board and the header can be deactivated. Also of interest is the header slightly to the right of it. The connection for a TB4-AiC is located here. Interesting because the faster standard now relies on a 13-pin header than on 5-pins as with TB3. A little further to the right is a 6-pin PCIe socket. This also supplies the slots with energy. Even if CrossFireX can be used, the usefulness is questioned, as is that of the socket.

The Realtek ALC4080 audio codec is one of the other innovations. The manufacturer speaks of the Audio Boost 5 if this is used. If an additional ESS DAC is installed, we are talking about the Audio Boost 5 HD. Overall, the rest of the structure is reminiscent of the Audio Boost 4 of the MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi, only that the codec was swapped. This new codec can now come up with 32-bit / 384 kHz. This does not change anything at the audio outputs and inputs. There are still five jacks and one Toslink installed.

The two antenna connections are located next to the audio terminal. The Intel AX210 WLAN adapter is plugged in so that the new WiFi 6E standard with 6 GHz can be used. You can access the network with 2.5Gbit by cable. The Intel I225-V is used for this instead of the Realtek solution as on the previous board. The USB-C socket on the back panel supports USB 3.2 Gen2x2, while the other three red ones support USB 3.2 Gen2. The blue sockets transmit to 3.2 Gen1, the black to 2.0 standard. As you can see, the Bios Flashback function is also included again.

Detailed view/features II

A so-called Duet Rail structure is used for the power supply. In total there are 18 MOSFETs with 75A, which are divided into 16 + 1 + 1 phases. Eight-fourth phases are responsible for the CPU. All are controlled via ISL69269. The CPU draws energy from two 8-pin connectors, so there shouldn’t be any bottlenecks. In addition to the voltage converters, there is also another innovation. The holes for the screws of the heat sink are now guided through the inserted copper rings, which correspond to a reinforcement.

The heat sink is not only given a new structure but also relies on a heat pipe substructure. This lies directly above the MOSFETs and connects the two massive blocks. Hard rubber blocks ensure that the construct cannot tilt. Overall, the new design is visually and technically pleasing, and the test will have to show whether it works effectively.

The Z590 should also be effective or efficient again. Because what MSI uses as a heat sink is really not big or massive. A slight error crept in with the sample at hand – the thermal pad was not applied in the middle. Since this has not yet been the case with any other MSI board that ended up in the editorial office, this should also be the exception.

The dismantling of the Shield Frozr clearly shows the dimensions of the middle heat spreader. It is no coincidence that the PCH cooler has two holes. The six RGB LEDs shine through here and make the carbon lettering glow. The thermal pads on the underside can be described as new.

What’s next?

Currently, there is still an NDA on all further technical details of the chip or the new CPU generation. We will publish a comprehensive article with valid benchmarks at the appropriate time. The test course should take place as usual, but we are also open to suggestions or requests regarding the test. A comparison between the two Intel CPU generations (Comet Lake vs. Rocket Lake) is also being considered.

MSI MPG General Summary

MSI MPG To summarize, we see that it has very good features in terms of design, price and performance. MSI MPG, which has given a successful performance compared to its competitors in this segment, has not received any serious complaints from its users until now and has given its users confidence with maximum positive feedback. With the MSI MPG 2-year warranty, it continues to support any problem after the sale and does not suffer the user.

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Installation of the Product is Extremely Simple. You can set it up easily with the included Guide.

Has no known chronic problems.

Yes, they say they are generally satisfied.

The minimum warranty period is 2 years.

You can buy it from sites like amazon, ebay.

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