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My impressions of the MSI PRO Z790-A WiFi ProSeries ATX Motherboard (2024)

My thoughts on the MSI PRO Z790-A WiFi Motherboard: performance, cooling design, BIOS features, and future-proofing value.
Thomas Wilson



December 14, 2023


The MSI PRO Z790-A WIFI is a great motherboard that I have been using in day-to-day computing and gaming for the past weeks. I look for reliability, ease of use, and the ability to stay current with technology without the need for constant upgrades.


Property Value Property Value
Brand MSI CPU Socket LGA 1700
Compatible Devices Personal Computer RAM Memory Technology DDR5
Compatible Processors Intel Celeron, Intel Pentium Gold Chipset Type Intel Z790
Memory Clock Speed 7200 MHz Platform No Operating System
Model Name PRO CPU Model Pentium


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Performance and Compatibility: A Deep Dive

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When I look at a motherboard like the MSI PRO Z790-A WIFI, I’m assessing it for two critical aspects: performance and compatibility. As someone who prefers efficiency and reliability in my tech, I gravitate towards hardware that promises to keep up with my work and gaming demands without frequent upgrades. Here’s what stands out:

  • Support for 12th/13th Gen Intel processors: I get peace of mind knowing I can pick from a range of CPUs for the performance level I need.

  • DDR5 Memory: The future-proofing here is apparent with support up to 7200+ MHz, something that makes a notable difference in my daily multitasking and gaming sessions.

  • Enhanced Power Design: Stability is key, and the robust power supply eases my mind. It’s clear this board is designed to maintain performance without hiccups.

However, it’s not all about top-tier specs. Compromises sometimes are part of the package, but in this case, they seem minimal:

  • While overclocking is a breeze on this motherboard, I did stumble upon the default settings for cooler types in the BIOS that could easily cause overheating if not carefully managed. It’s an odd default that could trip up less experienced users.

  • Also, while this board’s compatibility with a wide range of Intel processors is a solid plus, users with older M.2 drives or those unwilling to transition to Windows 11 may hit roadblocks due to compatibility issues.

Most importantly, this motherboard seems tailored to users who like to optimize and customize their setup. For instance, the BIOS, while sometimes a bit quirky with its black and white theme, is straightforward enough once you get to know your way around. It allows fine-tuning to maximize the potential of your CPU and RAM, which is crucial for both professionals and gamers.

I did notice a missed opportunity with the onboard RGB options. While the built-in lighting would not have been a dealbreaker, it’s a feature I find aesthetically pleasing, and its absence was noticeable.

In sum, the MSI PRO Z790-A WIFI has delivered a reliable and efficient experience suitable for my complex projects and gaming. Its few drawbacks are overshadowed by its significant capabilities and thoughtful design for future-proofing my setup. Sure, it might not be adorned with all the fancy extras, but its core performance is rock-solid, which is what truly counts for me.

Thermal Solutions and Build Quality: Keeping Cool Under Pressure

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When it comes to building a high-performance PC, thermal management is crucial, and the MSI PRO Z790-A WiFi does not disappoint. This motherboard is equipped with a premium thermal solution that includes an extended heatsink, MOSFET thermal pads rated for 7W/mK, and additional choke thermal pads, which allow for exceptional heat dissipation—even under the most strenuous workloads.

Particularly noteworthy features of the thermal solution include:

  • Extended Heatsink Design: Covers a larger surface area for better heat dissipation.

  • 7W/mK MOSFET Thermal Pads: Provide high-end thermal conductivity, ensuring that core components stay cool.

  • M.2 Shield Frozr: Keeps M.2 SSDs cool to prevent throttling and maintain peak performance.

Despite these positives, it’s worth mentioning that users often report struggling with the factory settings for cooling profiles, especially when dealing with high-performance CPUs. Some tinkering might be required to prevent the system from overheating, particularly when choosing a “liquid” cooling profile that potentially unlocks power limits, causing excessive temperatures.

The build quality of the motherboard is another standout, with its 6-layer PCB made from 2oz thickened copper and server-grade materials, offering a sturdy foundation that’s built to last. It instills confidence in me as a user that my system will remain stable and reliable, even after years of heavy use.

However, the motherboard does have some drawbacks:

  • The absence of onboard RGB might disappoint users who want their system’s aesthetics to match its performance.

  • Users have reported that some M.2 slots could become obstructed by a large graphics card, which is something to consider during the build process.

From my personal experience, the MSI PRO Z790-A’s thermal solutions and build quality form a solid base for a powerhouse system. Heat is often the enemy of performance, and nothing ruins your day quite like an unexpected shutdown due to overheating in the middle of a work project or gaming session. The peace of mind that comes with knowing my system can withstand the heat is invaluable, especially when I’m pushing my hardware to its limits.

In summary, while there are a few points that could be improved, the thermal solutions on offer are robust, effective, and essential for maintaining system stability. The build quality complements this, promising longevity and durability. These features are often overlooked at first glance but are critical for a smooth, high-performance experience over time.

BIOS and Software: Navigating the Setup

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Navigating the BIOS and software setup on the MSI PRO Z790-A WiFi ProSeries Motherboard was quite an intuitive experience. MSI’s Click BIOS 5 is a user-friendly UEFI BIOS with a sleek interface, which is something I’ve come to appreciate. However, there were a few hiccups that I encountered, and I’d like to share those along with the pros.

First, the positives deliver where it matters:

  • Ease of Access: Accessing the BIOS is straightforward. A simple tap on the ‘Delete’ key during startup brings you right into the BIOS.

  • Organized Layout: The tabs are well-organized, making it simple to find different settings such as boot options, hardware monitoring, and more.

  • EZ Mode: Great for beginners, this mode displays critical information and simplifies complex adjustments. This was a lifesaver for setting basic configurations without fussing with the advanced settings.

  • One-click Overclocking: The built-in Memory Try It! and Game Boost features handle basic overclocking tasks without needing expert knowledge.

  • Hardware Monitoring: Real-time hardware monitoring is well-implemented, enabling me to keep tabs on system temperatures, voltages, and fan speeds.

Despite the user-friendly nature, there were a couple of drawbacks to be aware of:

  • Software Center: MSI’s software suggestion prompt during the initial Windows setup felt intrusive, and honestly, the bloatware it comes with is a bit of a drag. I suggest you skip it and opt for necessary drivers only.

  • BIOS Updates: While the board shipped with an older BIOS version, updating to the latest version required a bit of effort and was essential for better hardware compatibility, especially for the RAM XMP profiles.

The BIOS color theme being in black and white was a minor aesthetic niggle that bothered me. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it does detract a bit from an otherwise modern design language.

In terms of setup, the motherboard’s EZ Flash feature deserves special mention. It allowed me to update the BIOS without a CPU, which is a huge plus if you’re upgrading processors down the line.

Overall, while there is room for improvement, especially by minimizing unnecessary software intrusions, the MSI PRO Z790-A’s BIOS and companion software are quite competent. They provide essential features expected from a high-end board while remaining accessible enough for novice builders. It’s not a perfect experience, but the benefits far outweigh the quirks, and I believe it sets a solid foundation for system stability and tweaking as needed.

Value and Future-Proofing: Assessing the Investment

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When investing in a motherboard like the MSI PRO Z790-A WiFi, it’s crucial to weigh its features against current requirements and future-proofing potential. This board checks off several boxes on my professional needs list while also keeping an eye on what’s to come. Here are some of the key points I consider when assessing this investment:

  • Support for the latest processors: Compatibility with 12th and 13th Gen Intel CPUs means immediate relevance and a good span of future support.

  • DDR5 Memory: The future is screaming fast memory speeds, and with support for DDR5, up to 7200+ MHz, I’m comfortably ahead.

  • Power Delivery and Thermal Management: Robust power design and thermal solutions can handle intense workloads - crucial for my use case.

On the downside, there are a few hiccups. The initial BIOS set-up might need a bit of work, particularly for enabling XMP profiles. Moreover, the factory BIOS version could be dated, making an immediate update necessary. However, once these initial setup hurdles are overcome, the board delivers on its promise of performance and stability.

I’m generally wary of motherboards that claim to be ‘jack-of-all-trades’ because there’s often a hidden trade-off. Yet, the MSI PRO Z790-A strikes a fine balance between performance and utility. I’m particularly impressed by its broad range of compatibility - it’s not just a gaming motherboard. It can fuel an intensive workstation or a creative rig with equal prowess. It’s a testament to MSI’s engineering that they’ve pulled off such versatility without skimping on quality or stability.

What seals the deal for me is not just these features, but also their execution. Anyone can list impressive specs on paper, but MSI delivers an experience where these elements come together seamlessly in practice. The fact that this board doesn’t overdo it with unnecessary extras means you’re not overpaying for flashy features that won’t be used.


  • Future-proof with DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support

  • Impressive power design and thermal solutions

  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth add versatility and convenience


  • BIOS may require an immediate update for optimal performance

  • Out-of-the-box setup might not be as smooth for users without prior experience

In conclusion, despite a few caveats, the MSI PRO Z790-A WiFi motherboard is a solid investment. It offers a robust platform for current tech while paving the way for future hardware without necessitating a complete system overhaul down the line. By ensuring compatibility with cutting-edge technology and providing a stable, feature-rich foundation, MSI reinforces the buyer’s confidence in the PRO Z790-A motherboard as a key component in a high-performance, forward-facing setup.