User Review 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.
 

rakesh_sharma23

Do It Yourself
Adept
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

CPU - Intel Core i7 7820X CPU
Board - MSI X299 GAMING PRO Carbon AC
RAM - 4 X 4GB Corsair DDR4
SSD - Kingston SV300 120GB
Cooler - CM MasterLiquid 280 Pro
GFX - ASUS STRIX GTX 950
PSU - Cooler Master V1200
Display - Acer S220HQL
OS - Windows 10





AMD Test setup

CPU - AMD Ryzen 7 1700
Board - MSI X370 GAMING PRO Carbon
RAM - 2 X 8GB ADATA DDR4
SSD - Kingston SV300 120GB
Cooler - CM MasterLiquid 280 Pro
GFX - ASUS STRIX GTX 950
PSU - Cooler Master V1200
Display - Acer 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)

UPDATE : Also want to add that X299 motherboards are more expensive than X370 motherboards(even the more cheaper AMD B350 boards which support OC too). And don't forget all the RAID restriction crap from Intel on X299 boards.




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

Source / More info

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Chaos

Well-Known Member
Veteran
Nice review! All the first wave of x299 boards seem to have compromised VRM cooling. Seems like board makers are more concerned about RGB bling than reliable operation. All of them throttle due to the VRM hitting 100+ temperatures.

Also could you please measure the power consumption with Prime small fft instead of CB15? The numbers should be a lot higher due to AVX.
 

rakesh_sharma23

Do It Yourself
Adept
Nice review! All the first wave of x299 boards seem to have compromised VRM cooling. Seems like board makers are more concerned about RGB bling than reliable operation. All of them throttle due to the VRM hitting 100+ temperatures.

Also could you please measure the power consumption with Prime small fft instead of CB15? The numbers should be a lot higher due to AVX.

Thanks.
And yes x299 boards have VRM issues, but few boards are having decent cooling solution too. Like Aorus X299 Gaming 7.. have a look.







Yes power consumption is way too high with Prime,, but that's an extreme torture for the board and i like to give a general idea about the power consumption.

Basically X299 platform is a total crap from Intel (like RAID key).. especially the last moment panic i9 CPU announcement. One can imagine the VRM situation with release of high end i9 CPUs.. i thing we may get to see X299 v2 soon.
 

Chaos

Well-Known Member
Veteran
^^ That looks like a solid heatsink design. What chips are they using for power delivery in the gigabyte? They cheapened out in the Ryzen boards where there was concern about overheating in the Gaming K7.

As for HCC i9 CPUs, I have my real doubts if any of these boards will survive the torture of an 18 core i9. This was an extremely rushed platform and it shows in everything.
 

rakesh_sharma23

Do It Yourself
Adept
I have these three boards and following are the VRM Section details.



MSI X299 uses IR35201 as controller and IR 3555M as MOSFET
AORUS X299 uses IR35204 as controller and IR 3556M as MOSFET
STRIX X299 uses DIGI+EPU ASP1405i (which is IR35201) as controller and IR 3555M as MOSFET

So far AORUS is the best x299 board I could find here.
 
Last edited:

thatsashok

Active Member
Adept
Sharmaji ka thread after many days. Detailed as ever. Currently in office and will go through thread at night

is this for any build you have planned ? can you point me to the log if u put up a thread
 

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