MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Review
Published: 30th July 2017 | Source: MSI | Price: |
The X299 chipset is our bête noire because it is so relentlessly capable in almost every setup. Even if you have a scenario such as we have with the MSI Carbon where the overclock is a shade below that we've seen on some other motherboards, the performance is such that you almost don't need to worry about the odd 100 MHz here and there.
Now, that odd 100 MHz is obviously hugely important because it is one of the ways in which we can differentiate between closely matched motherboards. We know that there will be people reading this who only care about clock speeds and maximum overclocks, and to a large degree that is a valid point of view. However, the actual results from benchmarks that reflect the performance you'll achieve in daily use show such a negligible difference that to the normal user you can be confident in knowing that you can buy the motherboard which combines the looks you prefer with the price you can afford and end up with something that will definitely please you with the end result.
In our overclocking experience the X299 Pro Carbon reached 4.5 GHz which is 100 MHz behind the best we've managed to squeeze from our i9-7900X. However, the reason why we couldn't hit the heights of other boards tended to be the CPU temperature. We've spoken a lot about VRM temperatures of late, and the MSI Carbon actually gave us some of the lower temperatures that we've seen. This is offset by the CPU temperature being higher than we've normally obtained which ended up thermally limiting our overclock. As you saw throughout our benchmarks though this tiny clock deficit hardly showed up in the results.
The element that is worthy of the most praise has to be the swappable heatsink covers. MSI kindly provide three of them - black, silver and gold - and all of them look very nice against the black PCB. We probably like the black ones best, but that's just a matter of personal preference. The gold ones really look gold which is something that isn't always the case with gold hardware where it can either look too yellow or too dull and lifeless. The silver ones emphasise the silver slot protection and also look very nice, although we think these will be the ones that get sprayed if anyone fancies customising their colour scheme still further.
So it looks great, performs really well, comes with plenty of customisation options of which all look great and is priced very competitively. A good choice for anyone who is seeking to move up to the X299 chipset and the heatsinks alone win our OC3D Innovation Award.