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MSI X99S MPower Motherboard Overview and Overclocking Guide

By: Steven Bassiri | Guides | Posted: Jan 22, 2015 10:11 pm

CPU Regulator Analysis




With more and more things being integrated into the CPU and PCH, there isn't much that sets motherboards apart, but the voltage regulator is still one part that differs greatly between motherboards. With the X99 platform, the VRM area has been effectively reduced by half, while the current demand has been almost doubled due to the high TDP of the new CPUs. The X99 VRM is possibly one of the most important parts of any X99 motherboard, especially when it comes to overclocking.




The CPU VRM features a total of twelve phases. Each phase is made up of an integrated power phase. The whole thing is controlled by a six-phase digital PWM from Intersil. MSI is utilizing six ISL6617, which are phase doublers, to get twelve phases from the six phases the PWM provides. These phase doublers do a nice job of taking in one PWM signal and providing two. MSI is using 12x 330uF (3960uF total) tantalum capacitors, which have great properties when it comes to varying temperatures (like subzero). The inductors are MSI's SFC, and should support up to 60A each. This is undoubtedly a strong arrangement.




The power stages integrate one high-side and one low-side MOSFET, along with a driver. These are from Fairchild Semiconductor. These FDMF5823DC are capable of outputting up to 55A each. They seem to also have an extra pad on the top, perhaps to act as a heat sink. The PWM (the ISL6388) is from Intersil, and is Intersil's first digitally programmable PWM.



Memory Regulator Analysis




This is the first time I have seen a Powervation branded PWM used on a motherboard; they seem to be focused only on DC/DC buck controllers. MSI is using two of them here, one for each memory set. The PV3203 is a dual-phase digital PWM. Each memory phase is made up of two ONSemi NTMFS4C05N, and a single NTMFS4C08N, which are more than enough for the DRAM's main voltage rail.




On the left, we have two drivers; there are two sets of these on the back of the board for both sets of memory VRMs. On the right, we have an unknown chip, but it is most certainly in charge of PCH power.

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