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MSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review (Page 10)

Steven Bassiri | Nov 11, 2016 at 11:48 am CST - 2 mins, 18 secs time to read this page
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: MSI

Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption

CPU power is measured through the 8-pin connector, which is hooked up to a hall effect IC, which measures current and puts out a voltage in proportion to the current. That voltage is logged by a National Instruments ADC, which logs the DC voltage level that I then convert into current.

msi-x99a-tomahawk-motherboard-review

Note on Thermal Images: In the temperature section, we use our Seek thermal imaging camera to capture the surface temperatures of major components on the board. I look at the VRM and then all other things that light up the screen. If there is something to worry about, then I will state it. Otherwise, I will just show the hotter running parts of the board for fun. Unless some component is over 80-90C, then there isn't anything to worry about.

All systems will act differently, so I will look for commonalities, such as how far from the VRM the heat spreads through the PCB and the difference in temperature between the front side and backside of the PCB. Keep in mind, the majority of the heat from the VRM goes into the PCB as it is a giant soldered on copper heat sink. A larger difference in temperature between the back and front of the PCB points towards a more effective heat sink.

Thermal Testing at Stock Speeds:

The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i GT) radiator are turned on to high (12v).

MSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 84 | TweakTown.comMSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 85 | TweakTown.com

Full frontal.

MSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 86 | TweakTown.comMSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 87 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the front of the VRM.

MSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 88 | TweakTown.comMSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 89 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the back of the VRM.

Thermal Testing at 4.0GHz Overclocked Speeds:

The image on the left is always at idle, and the image on the right is at load. During ALL TESTS, fans above the VRM that cool the CPU cooler's (Corsair H110i GT) radiator are turned on to high (12v).

MSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 90 | TweakTown.comMSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 91 | TweakTown.com

Full frontal.

MSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 92 | TweakTown.comMSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 93 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the front of the VRM.

MSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 94 | TweakTown.comMSI X99A TOMAHAWK Motherboard Review 95 | TweakTown.com

Up-close of the back of the VRM.

The VRM on the X99A TOMAHAWK's Intersil PWM and MOSFETs have decent light load efficiency; phase shedding is definitely taking place at idle. VRM thermal performance at load is a bit on the warm side. The tradeoff with more components is more heat, but higher current capability, so as long as you can cool them down, everything is fine. Temperatures never exceeded 50C, which is excellent.

Anything under 60C is great, 60-80C is acceptable, and anything above 80C is a bit worrisome (if at stock).

Last updated: Nov 15, 2019 at 01:16 pm CST

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Steven Bassiri

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Steven Bassiri

Steven went from a fledgling forum reader in 2003 to one of the internet's brightest tech stars by 2010. Armed with an information systems degree, a deep understanding of circuitry, and a passion for tech, Steven (handle Sin0822) enjoys sharing his deep knowledge with others. Steven details products down to the component level to highlight seldom explained, and often misunderstood architectures. Steven is also a highly decorated overclocker with several world records.

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