MSI MAG Z590 TORPEDO Motherboard Review

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Today we took a look at the MSI MAG Z590 TORPEDO motherboard. This is a midrange motherboard, based on the price, around $250 for an Intel Z590 chipset-based motherboard based on the LGA 1200 socket. It is within MSI’s MAG series of hardware, geared for entry-level midrange end-users with a gamer focus. It supports the 11th Gen Intel Core Rocket Lake-S CPUs as well as 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs. You will get PCI-Express 4.0 on this motherboard with GPU support and primary M.2 NVME SSD support with MSI Lightning Gen 4 as well as Intel Adaptive Boost.


The MSI MAG Z590 TORPEDO allows Intel Adaptive Boost on the 11th Gen Core CPUs like our i9-11900K. This motherboard comes with two profiles, a 251W limited option, and a completely unlocked Enabled option. In addition, there is a CPU Cooler Tuning option that can restrict PL1 power levels, or basically make them unlimited. In this way, we can very easily unlock power restraints on the i9-11900K and when that is done the only restraint is literally the ability of your CPU cooler to keep the CPU cool enough.

We are using an MSI MEG CORELIQUID S360 AIO Cooler and it did well for allowing Adaptive Boost to push our CPU. This motherboard played a big role with the VRMs able to handle the power and push the CPU as much as possible, not holding it back. We were truly held back by the cooler, and not the VRMs.

By enabling Adaptive Boost we saw a real advantage in all core frequency on the CPU. It went up from 4.8GHz at default to 5.015GHz at Adaptive Boost 251W and 5.1GHz with fully unlocked Adaptive Boost. This frequency boost allowed real improvements in benchmarks and a reduction in rendering times on the CPU. This did make the power go up, but it was as predicted.

At default, it maxed out at 177W, but with ADaptive Boost, at 251W we indeed maxed out at 251W. Then, with it fully unlocked the remaining Wattage it was able to be pushed up to was 266W. This high Wattage did create a lot of heat. With our cooler at 100% fans, the default temperature was 68c and Adaptive Boost pushed us to 93c and then 95c at maximum. That is the edge of the capability.

The MSI MAG Z590 TORPEDO motherboard also did well with DDR4 support and performance. We had a great Crucial Ballistix MAX DDR4-4400 CL19 16GB RAM Kit installed and had no troubles. We did have to run it in Gear 2 to hit 4400MHz, we tried Gear 1 and it was a no-go. However, another kit that is DDR4-3600MHz runs just fine at Gear 1 on this motherboard. By using fast DDR4-4400 we managed to hit 64GB/s memory bandwidth, which is very good. There’s a lot of room for customization of RAM frequency, timings, Voltage, XMP, and Gear settings with this motherboard to make any enthusiast happy with the tuning options.


All of the options above turned out to provide a performance benefit with the Intel Core i9-11900K CPU. We saw a 6% improvement on average in benchmarks. We saw this improvement in AIDA64’s CPU Queen benchmark, Cinebench, and 3DMark’s CPU Profile testing all 16 threads. We also saw a reduction in rendering times in Blender. Overall, Adaptive Boost did improve performance to a meaningful degree in benchmarks.

Our overall evaluation, with all things considered, is that the Adaptive Boost 251W option is probably your best with the i9-11900K. It reduces the power to 251W, which should help your CPU last a little longer, and of course, that means it gets a little less hot than completely unlocking it.

The performance level at 251W is close enough to unlocked that it provides the best balance of pushing the CPU (overclocking) and power and heat generated. The little extra frequency and performance from having the CPU unlocked at full Adaptive Boost isn’t worth the extra Wattage, temperature, and performance it provides. Therefore, if you wish to overclock the Intel Core i9-11900K stick with Adaptive Boost 251W on the MSI MAG Z590 TORPEDO motherboard.

Final Points

Overall, the MSI MAG Z590 TORPEDO motherboard offers an impressive array of features and support for Intel 11th Gen Core Rocket Lake-S CPUs. It gives you a multitude of DDR4 options, 3 M.2 slots with one allowing PCIe 4.0 Gen 4 NVMe performance, dual-LAN with a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, onboard 7.1 audio, HDMI, DisplayPort, 10Gbps USB, and 20Gbps USB, and a dash of color with a blue and black and grey theme with RGB.

We found the VRMs held up, as we were able to push our CPU to the limits with Intel Adaptive Boost at unlocked power levels, which actually improved all core frequency and performance, only limited by your cooler. The motherboard has VRM cooling all around that seems to do the job well. It has a couple of heat spreaders for your SSDs, and many homemade MSI features built-in.

Using MSI Center there is a lot of real-time functionality you can manipulate from within Windows for easy enthusiast tuning. Don’t let the MAG branding scare you, this motherboard is built for gamers and can pull off an overclocked Intel Core i9-11900K just fine. This is a pretty feature-rich board, considering it is in the entry-midrange segment. If you are sticking with Rocket Lake-S for now, or looking to upgrade, but want to save a little by not buying into the most expensive latest CPUs and motherboards, then this motherboard will fit an 11th Gen Intel CPU perfectly.


Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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