Excellent VRM: The X399 Creation has moved down the socket and DIMMs so that they could fit in a giant 16 phase digital VRM. The VRM is using the brand new 70A Infineon power stages, which are rated above the 60A parts many other motherboards use.
Fan Control: These days high-end motherboards are loaded with a high number of fan headers, and that's because custom watercooling has become more popular leading to users requiring more of the headers. All the headers on this motherboard are hybrid DC/PWM headers, so they will work with either fan type. We also like the inclusion of external temperature sensor input, and the inclusion of the temperature probes.
Aesthetics: As far as we could tell, the RGB LEDs on this motherboard were addressable, and the grow from the ones on the rear of the PCB on the right side are quite nice, as are those that are integrated into the IO cover.
M.2 Card: Many people want super-fast storage, and in this case the addition of the quad M.2 card is a nice surprise.
No Rear USB 3.1 (10Gbps): Scouring through the official specifications, I thought I found a typo when I found that the website lists all rear USB 3.1 as Gen 1 and not Gen 2. After looking at the motherboard's hardware, mainly the Pericom PI3EQX chip that re-drives the USB 3.1 Gen 2 from the chip, I asked MSI. I was a bit shocked when they told me they changed the specification to Gen 1 from Gen 2 because the performance they were seeing weren't at their levels. So to keep people happy they down speced their own motherboard, which leaves a question, who is listing USB 3.1 Gen 2 when it's not as fast as it should be to meet that spec?
We commend MSI for changing their specification on the two rear USB 3.1 ports, that's very honest, and it makes us wonder how many other X399 motherboards don't offer up to snuff USB 3.1 Gen 2. The internal type-C header is USB 3.1 Gen 2 though, as it uses a discrete ASMedia controller.
We were very impressed with the VRM on this motherboard, fan control, the aesthetics, and the additional four M.2 card. The motherboard costs $505, which is a lot, we think it has mostly to do with VRM cost.
While the WIFI is the latest Intel has to offer and theoretically can do 1.73Gbps and the motherboard features dual Intel NICs, the motherboard does not have any multi-Gbit LAN ports or heavily upgraded audio other flagship X399 motherboards offer at this level. Overall, it's a solid motherboard with a great set of features, quality, and looks.
The Bottom Line
Offering a monster 16 phase VRM with 70A power stages, solid USB implementation, awesome fan control, and the ability to run seven M.2 SSDs at x4 PCI-E, the MEG X399 CREATION is an excellent motherboard.
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