A series of MSI Z790 motherboards

(Image credit: MSI)

MSI motherboards are normally known as some of the best motherboards on the market, due to their high-quality builds. However, a new controversy involving models equipped with the high-end Intel Z790 chipset has recently emerged online.

According to Tom’s Hardware, some of those Z790 models are at risk of failure due to cracks in the platform controller hub (PCH). The PCH controls data paths for components in certain instances and helps maintain the system clock, among other essential functions. 

The Z790 chipset in question supports a range of Intel processors including Intel 12th, 13th, and 14th Gen Core processor series, meaning this could be a widespread problem. It’s also more problematic since Z790 chipset motherboards are priced higher than others, so users would have invested some serious money for them. 

YouTuber and repair technician Joshi Repair discovered this issue, as he demonstrated the cracks on a PCH on the Z790 Tomahawk Wi-Fi motherboard. A thermal camera shows the severity of the cracks in even more detail.

According to Joshi, “We assume something happened to these silicon chips somewhere along the factory process.” It does look like this is the case.

MSI says that it is aware of the problem and has remedied the cause in MSI’s production pipeline, however, so the extent of the problem will likely be very limited. 

“Regarding the MAG Z790 Tomahawk WIFI incident, we’ve discovered that a minority of units may encounter non-functional PCH potentially resulting in Dead on Arrival (DOA) of the motherboard product,” an MSI spokesperson said in an emailed statement to TechRadar. “We have isolated the cause to a previously used chipset heatsink screw design and have taken proactive measures to address this issue.

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“A revised chipset heatsink screw design has been implemented into our production, and the known cases have been resolved,” they continued. “We uphold high standards of responsibility and accountability and want to assure affected customers can promptly receive product replacements. They may contact our local customer service center for assistance.”

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Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.

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