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MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Sep 11, 2014 9:12 pm
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TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Close up with the MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC

 

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With our first real look at the motherboard, you can see the overall design isn't really anything we haven't seen before. We have the same black and red design that is linked with the GAMING Series of products from MSI. Let's move in a little closer, and see exactly what we have going on.

 

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Apart from the five PCIe x16 slots, we've got a few things that stand out here, including the Streaming Engine up the top, which offers hardware decoding, and the M.2 Gen3 x4 connector between the bottom two slots. You can also see our Audio Boost towards the bottom, along with the shielding around it.

 

Going back to the PCIe x16 slots, you can see, as we just mentioned, MSI is offering us five here. Because of the fact the PCIe lanes are handled on the CPU, and different CPUs offer a different amount of lanes, it can get a little confusing here. If you're using a 40 lane CPU, you will have the option of (one video card) x16, or (two video cards) x16 / x16, or (three video cards) x16 / x16 / x8, or (four video cards) x8 / x8 / x16 /x8 setups, depending on how many video cards you want to use.

 

If you're on a CPU that carries only 28 PCIe lanes, the setup will look a little different. You'll have a (one video card) x16, or (two video cards) x16 / x8, or (three video cards) x8 / x8 / x8, or (four video cards) x8 / x8 / x8 /x4 setup, depending on how many video cards you want to use.

 

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Moving across to the bottom of the board, you can see we've got a fairly standard here, with a number of USB 2.0 and fan headers across the bottom. The other major stand outs include a USB 3.0 header towards the right, and a LED Debug readout in the far right corner.

 

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Turning the corner, you can see we've got a bunch of SATA ports offered here. Sitting alongside a single SATA Express Port, we have ten SATA III ports that all run off the Intel X99 controller. We also get another look at the LED Debug readout in the bottom corner.

 

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Heading to the north end of the board, you can see our main 24-Pin ATX power connector, with a USB 3.0 header to the left, and our V-Check points to the right hand side. These are used in conjunction with our V-Check cables, which are provided in the bundle to measure the voltage accurately in a number of different areas.

 

Above these, you can see we've also got a power and reset button along, with our OC Genie button. Just around the corner, you can see we've also got our main 8-Pin CPU power connector, along with a 4-Pin connector if you wanted to do some serious overclocking.

 

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Moving backward, you can see our CPU socket, which is pretty clean. We've got quite a nice looking heat sink setup that has a copper heat pipe running between them. We also have eight DDR4 DIMM slots that support up to 128GB of DDR4, with speeds ranging from 2133MHz DDR, all the way up to 3333MHz DDR via overclocking.

 

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Starting from the left side of the I/O, we see a PS/2 port, and two USB 2.0 ports below that. Continuing to the right we have a Clear SMOS button, followed by eight USB 3.0 ports, which run off three different controllers, including the Intel X99 chip, ASMedia ASM1042AE chip, and the VIA VL805 chip. The furthest USB 3.0 ports have a single gigabit networking port above them, which runs off the Killer E2205 controller.

 

Along with that, we've also got 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, and Bluetooth 4.0 via the Intel AC 7260 chip. Finally, we finish off our look at the I/O with the five auxiliary ports and a single optical out, all of which run off the Realtek ALC1150 HD Audio Codec.

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