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MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2066 in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 12, 2017 4:45 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: MSI

Packaging and Overview

 

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The motherboard's box is very similar to their previous Gaming Pro Carbon series motherboard, except instead of a car on the front we get a picture of the motherboard. The motherboard packaging is better than what most other vendors have to offer.

 

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The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s cables, a set of silver and gold plates, two antennas, RGB splitter and extension cable, 3D printing mounts, IO shield, SLI HB Bridge, manuals, driver DVD, and a case badge.

 

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You can switch out the plates on the heat sinks, for this review MSI sent a custom wooden box with a set of plates that had TweakTown written on the VRM plate. I changed the carbon fiber black ones to blue.

 

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The motherboard offers six fan headers, all of which are hybrid DC/PWM mode fans and can operate in either mode. The five headers circled in red all have the same characteristics, but the one header circled in yellow supports up to 2A of power for water cooling pumps. The motherboard's aesthetics are straight forward, all black with hints of silver can turn more silver or even gold with the default accessory package. The back of the motherboard isn't bare of components, but it doesn't have too many.

 

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The motherboard's IO panel includes a clear CMOS button, BIOS Flashback recovery button, PS/2, three USB 2.0 ports (the vertical one is for the flashback feature), WIFI antenna outputs, four USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, 1Gbit LAN, and 7.1 gold plated audio jacks with S/PDIF optical.

 

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MSI's PCI-E layout isn't crazy complicated like some other motherboards. The PCI-E x1 slots are directly routed to the CPU. The first physical x16 slot is wired x16, the second is x4, third can be x16 with a 44 lane CPU or x8 with a 28 or 16 lane CPU, and the fourth only works at x8 with 44 and 28 lane CPUs. The SLI mapping is located on page 33 in the manual.

 

There are two M.2 slots, they will disable SATA slot 1 or 2, depending on which has a SATA based M.2 SSD in it. The M.2 shield is a bit thicker than their original, but not as thick as some of their competition.

 

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There are eight SATA ports, two of them are angled straight up. The U.2 port shares its bandwidth with four of the SATA ports. There is one USB 3.0 internal header angled 90 degrees, and another one is angled straight. Between the two USB 3.0 internal header is a USB 3.1 type-C header.

 

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The motherboard does support the extra 4-pin power connector, which is very important for overclocking the high core count CPUs. The motherboard also features a POST Code display along with boot LEDs in the top right corner.

 

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In the lower right-hand corner of the motherboard, we find the two straight SATA 6Gbps ports, the OC Knob, Power and reset buttons, dual BIOS switch, VROC header, and two USB 2.0 ports. We find an RGB LED header at the bottom along with system fan headers, TPM header, and Demo LED button that allows you to change between LED modes.

 

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The motherboard without the covers on the left and heat sinks and shields on the right.

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