Packaging and the Board
The box is nicely designed and feels sturdy. The board is packaged inside in an anti-static bag and seems to be well protected.
The accessory package is very well done, perhaps one of the more interesting because of the extras MSI provides. MSI is giving away cool swag like a door tag, a plus sized case badge, and even a poster. Back to useful accessories; there are six SATA 6G cables, two SLI bridges, a back-panel IO shield, some header extensions, and cable stickers.
I have circled the fan headers on the board. There are a total of two PWM header and three voltage mode headers, all of them can be controlled by a really nice UEFI GUI or Windows software. The black and yellow accenting is subtle yet elegant; it is a very nice board to look at. The back of the board reveals some unprotected chips, but that shouldn't be much of an issue since they don't generate much heat and are low profile.
The back-panel IO features an Intel NIC, eight USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a clear CMOS button, a PS/2 port, and a gold plated TOSLINK with S/PDIF optical.
There are a total of four PCI-E 3.0 full sized 16x slots, but you can't run 4-way SLI/CF because of the extra PCI-E 3.0 allotment to the M.2 slot. If you run a single GPU or two GPUs, then the upper two slots are to be used for 16x/16x. If you do 3-way with a 28-lane CPU for 8x/8x/8x, you use the three uppermost slots and keep 4x for the M.2 slot.
If you do 3-way with a 40-lane CPU then you use the two uppermost slots and the last slot for 16x/16x/8x, but the M.2 slot defaults to 2x PCI-E 2.0 lanes from the PCH and shares bandwidth with the SATA Express connector.
MSI is known for their right angled USB 3.0 connectors, and they don't disappoint here. There are a total of 10 SATA 6G ports, two of them are shared with an SATA Express port.
This is the M.2 slot that uses either 2x PCI-E 2.0 from the PCH or 4x PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU for 32Gb/s. You can actually chose which you want in the UEFI.
The POST code indicator is one of the handiest tools a system builder can have, and this one doubles as a digital CPU temperature display when the system is done with POST.
A long 12 phase VRM is being cooled by a hefty heat sink, we will cover it more detail in following sections.
The audio section is isolated from the rest of the motherboard PCB and there are LEDs on the underbelly of the board that will illuminate this path. MSI uses two amplifiers for the back-panel IO and front panel header audio outputs.
The heat sinks are held down by metal screws and make great contact with the components they cool.
MSI also provides overclocking buttons and switches. You can increase system parameters in real time, switch between 1.2GHz and a higher speed, or switch between different BIOSes very easily.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the X99S-MPower]
- Page 3 [X99S-MPower Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 5 [Test Setup and Overclocking]
- Page 6 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 7 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 8 [Temperature and Power Consumption]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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