Here are key points about the MSI X299 Gaming M7 ACK.
Beautifully Bright: I really like how MSI has implemented their built-in RGB LEDs, but I also really respect how MSI has designed the motherboard to offer a totally black approach when it comes to allowing the motherboard to fade into a case. The was the RGB LEDs are diffused under the heat sinks and shields allows for a subtle yet recognizable design, and the dragon on the PCH heat sink is one of the most beautiful things I have seen on a motherboard.
M.2 Shield System: MSI has done a fine job with the M.2 shields. Both of them are attached by a strong hinge to the PCH heat sink, and a large thermal pad sits under each section of the shield to make great contact with the M.2 drive. The hinge mechanism is a nice touch; the only downside is that you have to remove your GPU to change or install M.2 drives.
The Latest USB Technologies: MSI offers both USB 3.1 on the rear and through an internal header on the inside of the motherboard, but they also offer both a right angled USB 3.0 internal header and a normal straight header. The rear of the motherboard also has a special USB 2.0 port that doubles as the port you can use for USB BIOS flash recovery.
OC Features: The OC Knob is a nice touch, but the POST code display, power button, reset button, and BIOS selection switch are also nice. The clear CMOS button on the back is nice. One thing that sticks out is the voltage read points, which isn't a common sight on X299 motherboards. MSI's BIOS settings also make overclocking very easy; I really like their fixed and dynamic frequency settings.
Expensive: At almost $400 the X299 Gaming M7 ACK is one of the most expensive motherboards, and compared to many other X299 motherboards, it offers extra features to increase its price point. Whether you need those features is up to you.
MSI's X299 Gaming M7 ACK is not only sexy, but it's also loaded with features. I really like how the motherboard looks, and while MSI didn't go overboard with the RGB LEDs, they do offer some really nice LED effects, such as the dragon on the PCH. I am a huge fan of their new M.2 shield, and only one other brand has a solution I like to the same extent, and that solution is $100 more than this one.
The quality on this motherboard is top notch, everywhere from the CPU and memory VRMs to the re-driver used on the USB 3.0 ports on the rear. I was also impressed with the Killer Wireless AC module and the dual audio codecs. The amount of metal in the PCH/M.2 heat sink is surprising, especially taking into account the amount of metal in the VRM heat sink.
MSI didn't cheap out when it comes to how the motherboard looks or how it performs, and it's a quality product with some stellar looks.
The Bottom Line: With a really crazy custom M.2 shield mechanism, solid components in power delivery, and components to improve signaling, MSI's X299 Gaming M7 ACK is a quality product with fantastic looks to match.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and X299 Gaming M7 ACK Overview]
- Page 3 [MSI X299 Gaming M7 ACK Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [MSI X299 Gaming M7 ACK Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [VRM and System Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]