MSI MEG X399 Creation and Threadripper 2990WX Review
Published: 13th August 2018 | Source: MSI | Price: |
When you're spending this much money on a motherboard you always want your initial impression to be one of grandeur and the MSI MEG X399 Creation most certainly doesn't disappoint. Not only is the box extremely attention grabbing but it's enormous. It has to be to fit such a plentifully equipped motherboard and the attendant accessories.
The attention grabbing design of the heatsinks might be the only element of the MEG X399 Creation which divides opinion. We think it will look better once it's lit up with the RGB lighting that forms the basis of all aesthetic considerations these days. Fortunately it's not all for show as beneath the design is some heavyweight heatsinks and even heat spreaders for the M.2 ports. If our choice was this design, or acres of blackness, we'd take this.
Any time you get 8 DIMM slots there is always a problem with getting everything else in its place around the CPU socket, yet the MSI designers have done a spectacular job. It not only looks fantastic but it isn't missing anything nor is anything placed oddly. We've lost count of the amount of skin we've scraped off when trying to put in the 12v CPU power cable on less cleverly designed options, so having both 8pin power inputs easily accessible scores big points with us.
You could spend a whole afternoon counting off the fan headers and pump ports on the MEG X399 Creation. Managing to squeeze so many on whilst also giving us three front panel USB connectors and a wealth of SATA ports is nothing short of miraculous. MSI have still managed to find room for their on-board buttons and OC dial too. It's like a 4D PCB, there appears to be more room on it than physical restrictions should lead you to believe.
We've seen a lot of high power motherboards at the enthusiast end of the market but even we think this has to be the most jaw-dropping setup we've seen. Not only is it massively impressive in raw number terms but the detail work of fitting everything onto the PCB, without placing capacitors harum-scarum manner. It is as serious from an artistic standpoint as it promises to be from a performance one.
Two 12v 8pin CPU power inputs certainly mean that if some future processor requires more power than currently available ones then the MEG has got you covered and wont leave you wanting. Not that there are any more power hungry processors around at the time of writing. Hypothetical processors, that's what we meant. It's good to know that the MSI design team have potentially had the foresight to ensure that the MEG follows the AMD "two or three CPUs without buying a new motherboard" ethos. You can also see how many fan headers are up at the business end where your CPU cooler will be.
At the other end of the MEG X399 Creation we find loads of USB headers, the famous MSI OC dial, and a slew of fan headers for yet more cooling capacity. We'd much rather have the headers lined up like this that scattered across the PCB. The fact that there is even a fan header squeezed into the bottom right corner shows how serious MSI have been about making this the best possible motherboard it can be.
If you've got a very power hungry GPU setup then the extra power input might come in handy. Why not go all out if you have the funds to do so, and the MEG X399 Creation hardly looks like the kind of motherboard that's going to sneak in at the £100 mark.
Motherboards that only have two or four SATA ports and nowhere near enough USB ports drive us crazy, so it's great to see that this assuredly wont be a problem with the MEG X399 Creation. With both USB 3.0 and a USB 3.1 header the MEG is ready to go whether you have an older case or the very latest design.
If the IO section is the rule of thumb about how high end a motherboard is then the MEG X399 Creation is very high end indeed. 10 USB ports, 9 Type-A and one Type-C, along with two GigaBit Intel LAN ports, WiFi and the jacks for the Nahimic supporting Audio Boost 4. Excellent.
As M.2 drives provide the kind of storage speeds demanded by performance users it is no surprise than the MEG X399 Creation comes equipped with an additional 4 M.2 port PCI Express board, should you find yourself with a surfeit of drives. One area that can really affect the performance of your M.2 drives is heat, so the included fan and heatsink is the perfect way to ensure that all your drives run at peak efficiency at all times.