All of the Intel X299 boards announced so far: ASRock, ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI
On MSI’s end, the company released five new boards, covering the range from casual gamers to content creators:
- MSI X299 Tomahawk
- MSI X299 SLI Plus
- MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
- MSI X299 Gaming M7 ACK
- MSI X299 XPower Gaming AC
Each board comes with its own unique features, but the X299 XPower Gaming AC stands out because of its design. We haven’t quite seen this look before from MSI, and the board makes itself known with an impressive array of storage expansion options.
There are a total of 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, three M.2 sockets and one U.2 connector, but if that still isn’t enough, you can use the M.2 Xpander-Z (pictured above to the right of the board) to add two more M.2 SSDs.
There is also what appears to be an updated version of MSI’s M.2 Shield feature. The company is calling it M.2 Shield Frozr now, and it has a Gullwing door shield that blends in nicely with the rest of the board.
In addition, the board features four PCIe 3.0 slots and supports up to 3-way CrossFire or SLI, and comes with dual Intel LAN ports. The power design doesn’t sound too shabby either, with a 12+1+1-phase design.
On the other hand, the X299 Gaming M7 ACK has its strength in networking, and it supports Killer DoubleShot PRO technology, courtesy of the Killer E2500 NIC and Killer 1535 Wireless-AC adapter.
The audio solution is an upgraded one that MSI calls Audio Boost 4 PRO, and it features isolated audio circuitry with dual audio processors and Nahimic technology for a supposedly better sound quality through both the front and rear audio jacks.
However, storage options have been cut down slightly from the XPower Gaming AC, and you’ll find two M.2 sockets, one U.2 connector, and eight SATA 6Gbps ports. The power design is also slightly less comprehensive, with a 10-phase design
The X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC carries on MSI’s recent fondness for carbon fiber-clad boards, but it switches things up slightly with a glossy finish on the I/O cover and heatsinks.
But the Gaming Pro Carbon boards have always been about looking good, and MSI has now made the heatsink covers interchangeable as well. In addition, it introduced a new X-Mounting system that allows you to 3D-print accessories such as an M.2 fan stand or GPU holder to modify the board.
Like the Gaming M7 ACK, the Gaming Pro Carbon AC also utilizes a 10-phase power delivery design.
The X299 SLI Plus was made for content creators and professionals, featuring dual Intel LAN ports – powered by Intel I219-V and I211-AT controllers – with 15KV protection static electricity and the occasional lightning strike.
Reliability was key here, and the board also boasts something MSI calls System Saver, which comprises three easy-to-use options to ensure the system successfully boots up.
Finally, the X299 Tomahawk looks set to be the most affordable of MSI’s X299 motherboards. Still, it comes with MSI’s M.2 Shield Frozr heatsink, eight SATA 6Gbps ports and two M.2 sockets (and even one U.2 port), and a front USB-C connector.