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Some MSI motherboards are reportedly failing due to cracked chipsets

Repair technicians claim that issues concerning the PCH on MSI Z790 motherboards may be widespread, but the cause remains unclear.

A close up of a PCH on an MSI Z790 motherboard, in which cracks are visible

April 04, 2024, 04:30 PT: MSI has provided an official statement on the issue. The company encourages affected customers to get in contact with support.

MSI’s statement can be read here. The original article follows:

For decades, MSI motherboards have been rightly celebrated for their features, quality, and value. However, it appears that some models equipped with the Intel Z790 chipset may be at risk of failure following the discovery of cracks in the platform controller hub (PCH), affecting multiple boards.

You’ll find the Z790 chipset on the best gaming motherboards from MSI and other manufacturers, providing Intel 12th, 13th, and 14th Gen Core processors with the richest feature set compared to other Intel chipsets, including PCIe Gen 5.0 support. This makes the reported problems with the boards in question all the more concerning, given that Z790 naturally comes at a higher price than other chipsets.

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As shown in the video above by YouTuber and repair technician Joshi Repair (via Tom’s Hardware), the PCH on the Z790 Tomahawk Wi-Fi motherboard is afflicted with cracks. Looking at it through a thermal camera better demonstrates the severity of the problem, though, with stronger contrast making the cracks more visible.

The scale of the issue currently remains unknown, but Joshi believes this could be a more widespread issue than previously hoped. Following their investigation into possible causes, Joshi says, “we assume something happened to these silicon chips somewhere along the factory process.”

Should this issue affect your board, this kind of fault is thankfully covered by warranty, as Joshi highlights following an agreement with MSI to swap the boards for new ones. Thankfully, there doesn’t appear to be any risk to components seated in these problematic motherboards.

MSI is yet to issue a public statement on the issue, but PCGamesN has reached out to the company for comment. However, Joshi claims that MSI told them that it isn’t aware of any issues within its production line.

This wouldn’t be the first widespread issue to affect an MSI product this year, however, with the company’s GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super graphics cards also proving problematic, albeit prior to launch. This problem was ultimately resolved by a BIOS update, thankfully.