As you can see in the above photo MSI has gone for a shipping container that is both eye catching and yet elegant in its understated aesthetics. In a sea of ‘1333333337 G4M3RZ’ styling this combination of light blue with funky graphic tells you precisely who this motherboard model is meant for: mature enthusiasts. Mature enthusiasts who don’t just want their system to look cool but be cool… and are willing to pay for the privilege of having both.
Mix in a decent “show and tell” list of information on the back and this is motherboard packaging design done right. All of which was expected. The last generation MPG Carbon WiFi’s shipping container was also above average; however, it still is nice to see that instead of just resting on their laurels MSI’s graphics design team expanded upon the themes of the previous generation. Expanded, expounded and improved them by refining them down to their key essences. Other companies could learn a thing or two from MSI’s graphics design department and we one day hope that understated elegance with unique styling becomes the norm and not the exception. Until that day arrives, we personally will continue to vote with our wallets, and encourage others to do the same.
Moving on. We were pleasantly surprised when we first picked up this box as it simply felt thicker than most mid-range motherboard shipping containers feel. This is because it more accurate to describe this shipping container as one meant for premier / flagship models and not mid-range ones. Opening it up our hunch was proven correct. This is a beefy box with overkill, and OCD, level of protection baked in. Everything from nice separation and compartmentalization to thicker than average cardboard. Everything infers quality and pride of workmanship. Color us impressed.
The included accessories are also best classified as above average with little included that does not serve a purpose. In addition to the typical (very good) installation guide and user manual, warranty registration card, the very good WiFi + BT antenna (with excellent magnetic base), SATA cables (sadly only two), RGB cables, and cable labeling stickers… MSI also includes a USB flash drive for the software and accessories instead of a DVD. We cannot underscore how big a deal that is, as it shows much far MSI is willing to go that extra mile to keep their buyers happy.
Yes. It may sound petty and small minded, but the inclusion of a flash drive actually was one of the reasons we picked up a Z690 Carbon WiFi last generation. It was for an ODD-less case build, our usual motherboard of choice was out of stock, and including either an external ODD, or using a bigger case was simply outside the build’s budget. Usually all we would do in such situations is use our backup motherboard of choice… and take the 20 minutes to copy the data from the ODD to a flash drive using a different system. Instead, we took a risk on the Z690 Carbon… as not having to waste our time, and instead having MSI do it for us, was a big enough bonus to convince us to try different things. That spur of the moment decision eventually led us to using many of those boards in many builds – as the board’s overall value impressed us as much as including a flash drive originally did.
So yes. Small things can indeed matter, and much like the shipping container design, this is an area MSI is well above average. Once again, we sincerely wish for the day when commenting on such a value-added feature is not needed as everyone does it. Until that day, it can make or break a sale. So hint, hint motherboard manufacturers. Follow MSI’s lead and stop including ancient tech on $300+ motherboards.
Now… with all that said. MSI still ship the USB flash drive with an ISO on it. Not the individual files. This means one must first extract the iso from the USB 2.0 (~20MB/s transfer rate for the ISO file) flash drive to your desktop. Extract. Then copy back. So yes. There is still a lot of room for improvement.