17 July, 2017   Rakesh Sharma    Reviews . MSI X299 GAMING PRO Carbon AC Review MSI X299 GAMING PRO Carbon AC Review

MSI a well known motherboard manufacture, best known to provide great motherboard options to satisfying every segment of PC market, solution for low budget build to ultra high end feature packed end users needs. Following the same line and aimed at the Intel’s LGA 2066 socket family processors the MSI introduced new X299 line-up of motherboards including a range of features from updated I/O connectivity to the latest storage solutions

So today we are reviewing MSI X299 GAMING PRO Carbon AC motherboard, MSI’s top of the line solution for X299 gaming and enthusiast build.

Now let’s see what this MSI board have for us.

Features

  • Supports New Intel® Core X-series Processor Family for LGA 2066 socket
  • Support Quad Channel DDR4-4133(OC)+, Dual Channel DDR4-4500(OC)+
  • MYSTIC LIGHT: 16.8 million colors / 17 effects controlled in one click with MYSTIC LIGHT APP or mobile devices.
  • 3D Printing Support: exchangeable cover and 3D X-MOUNTING screws.
  • Designed for Extreme Performance: TURBO SOCKET with GAME BOOST, DIGITALL POWER Design
  • Lightning Fast Game experience: TWIN TURBO M.2 with M.2 Shield and Intel Optane Memory Ready, Turbo U.2, LIGHTNING USB 3.1 GEN2
  • VR READY and VR BOOST: Best virtual reality game experience without latency, reduces motion sickness. Supports Nahimic VR & TriDef VR.
  • AUDIO BOOST 4 with NAHIMIC 2+: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality for the most immersive gaming experience
  • DDR4 BOOST with STEEL ARMOR: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • GAMING LAN and Wireless support, powered by Intel®: The best online gaming experience with lowest latency and bandwidth management.
  • MULTI-GPU: With STEEL ARMOR PCI-E slots. Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI & AMD Crossfire
  • SYSTEM SAVER: 3 easy to use options to successfully boot your system again.
  • In-Game Weapons: GAME BOOST, GAMING HOTKEY, X-BOOST, XSPLIT GAMECASTER, APP MANAGER
  • GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game and motherboard testing by eSports players
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning BIOS with high resolution scalable font, favorites and search function
  • WHQL certified for Windows 10
  • Specifications

    Package

    Looking at the front of the box, we see MSI logo with motherboard model no. At the rear of the box, we find that MSI goes into great detail on the specifications of the motherboard.

    Inside the box

    Looks

    Board is a solid build in the mate black colour theme.

    Layout

    Detailed layout of board.

    1. New Intel LGA 2066 Socket Supports New Intel Core X-series Processor Family

    2. 8 x DDR4 memory slots, support up to 128GB. Quad channel memory architecture with the CPU that supports up to 4-channels DDR4

    Featuring DDR4 Boost with Steel armor, Optimized traces and isolated memory circuitry.

    3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR)

    4. ATX CPU Power Connector (8-pin + 4 Pin ATX12V).

    5. Back I/O ports : Clear CMOS button, BIOS FLASHBACK+ button, PS/2 keyboard/ mouse combo port, 3 x USB 2.0 Type-A ports, 2 x Wi-Fi Antenna connectors (optional), 4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, LAN (RJ45) port, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port, USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, Optical S/PDIF OUT connector, 5 x OFC audio jacks

    6. Fan Connectors : 1 x CPU Fan, 1 x Water Pump, 4 x System Fans

    7. EZ Debug LED and Post code display.

    8. 9.Front 2 X USB 3.1 Gen1 connectors and USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port.

    10.8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors.

    11. GAME BOOST / OC knob

    12. Power button, Reset button, Multi-BIOS switch and Virtual RAID on CPU connector (VRAID1)

    13. 2 x USB 2.0 Connectors

    14. 15. Front Panel Connector and TPM Connector

    16. 17.RGB LED connector and Front panel audio connector

    18. Expansion Slots : 4 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots - Support x16/ x4/ x16/ x8 mode with the 44-lane CPU. - Support x16/ x4/ x8/ x0,x8/ x4/ x8/ x8 modes with the 28-lane CPU. - Support x8/ x0/ x8/ x0, x8/ x4/ x4/ x0 modes with the 16-lane CPU. ,2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots

    M2_1 slot supports 2242/ 2260 /2280 storage devices, M2_2 slot supports 2242/ 2260 /2280/ 22110 storage devices. Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready

    Removing Heat-sinks

    MSI used aluminum heatsink in this board with plastic cover over it and RGB LED installed inside. This reduces the total heatsink’s air contact surface area making overall heatsink more insufficient especially for VRM cooling. The base of heatsink is having thermal pad installed.

    I/O cover is having a separate RGB LED pcb mounted..

    Component Layout

    Let’s now see what all components MSI have planned for this board.

    1. 2. 11-phase digital power controlled via IR35201 is IR (International Rectifier) PWM Controller IC and IR3555M (Integrated PowIRstage) is a synchronous buck gate driver co-packed with a control MOSFET and a synchronous MOSFET with integrated Schottky diode with output current capability of 60A DC each.

    3. Two 2-Phase digital memory power supply section

    4. ASMedia ASM1074 a four downstream ports USB3.0 HUB Controller

    5. 10. ASMedia ASM3142 a USB3.1 Controller

    6. Intel i219v one Gigabit Ethernet controller chip.

    7. nuvoTon NCT6795D SuperIO chip monitors temperatures, voltages and other key metrics for normal operation

    8. MSI Audio is powered by Realtek ALC 1220 120dB SNR HD Audio - The ALC1220 is a high-performance multi-channel High Definition Audio Codec with up to 120dB SNR for crystal clear audio along with premium quality CHEMI-CON audio capacitors for a warmer sound and OP1652 op-amp as buffer.

    A semi-transparent line on motherboard separates the whole audio section from the rest of the board in order to minimize interference. So licensing under Stereo mode produces high audio quality with excellent dynamic range.

    RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing MSI High Definition audio against Asus Xonar U7 External Sound card. You can see clearly the difference between Noise level, dynamic rang and Total harmonic distortion percentage produced by MSI High Definition audio

    RMAA Asus Xonar U7

    RMAA MSI Audio

    9. Intel X299 Chipset

    10. MSI uses two SPI chip labeled MXIC MX 2SL12873F a capacity of 128 Mb for storing UEFI BIOS.

    Testing

    For reviewing MSI X299 GAMING PRO Carbon AC motherboard, we were provided a sample Intel Core i7 7820X CPU along, which is a 8-Cores 16-Threads chip. To give a fare idea about the CPU performance we compared it with AMD Ryzen 7 1700 CPU which is also a 8-Cores 16-Threads chip.

    AMD Ryzen is also a new platform so straight comparison was must. We tested both CPUs at stock settings and also at a 3.6GHz stable overclock.

    Intel Test setup

    CPUIntel Core i7 7820X CPU
    Board MSI X299 GAMING PRO Carbon AC
    RAM4 X 4GB Corsair DDR4
    SSDKingston SV300 120GB
    CoolerCM MasterLiquid 280 Pro
    GFX ASUS STRIX GTX 950
    PSUCooler Master V1200
    DisplayAcer S220HQL
    OS Windows 10

    AMD Test setup

    CPU AMD Ryzen 7 1700
    Board MSI X370 GAMING PRO Carbon
    RAM2 X 8GB ADATA DDR4
    SSDKingston SV300 120GB
    CoolerCM MasterLiquid 280 Pro
    GFX ASUS STRIX GTX 950
    PSUCooler Master V1200
    DisplayAcer S220HQL
    OS Windows 10

    BIOS

    Bundled Softwares

    Benchmarks

    Overclocking

    Power Consumption

    Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS. Running Cinebench R15

    Price to Performance

    To get the Price to Performance score we took the Cinebench R15 scores of both CPUs at stock and divide them with Newegg.com price of both as listed on the publication date of this review. (i.e. i7-7820X = $605.50 and Ryzen 1700 = $309.99)

    Pros

    • RGB LED with headers
    • Nice Audio
    • AC WIFI onboard
    • Thermal shield for M.2
    • Great OC

    Cons

    • Very small sized VRM heatsink

    Conclusion

    Intel X299 is the latest platform from Intel and MSI has done a good job with MSI X299 GAMING PRO Carbon AC motherboard in the look and performance section with tones of features and connectivity option to offer.

    The audio, WIFI and overclocking capability could have made this board the best X299 option… but, as reported by our overclocker friend “der8auer”, all X299 boards have VRM heating/heatsink issues. So we tested but not as aggressive in loads and setting as der8auer did, but we kept all setting at stock provided by the manufacturer and concluded that the VRM heatsink on this MSI motherboard is very small in height when compared with other x299 brands motherboards and more the MSI VRM heatsink is having a plastic cover with RGB lighting further insulating the heat and above all NO back-plate on the VRM MOSFETs too. This results in a very high VRM temperature when compared with AORUS x299 and ASUS Stix x299 (i.e. approx 77C) running OCCT stress test at stock. Being the top of the line board and with a premium price tag, we could expect a bigger or better VRM heatsink with proper back plate from MSI.

    Manufacturers Info

    Site Link

    Thanks.

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