MSI X299 SLI Plus Preview
Published: 17th August 2017 | Source: MSI | Price: |
In keeping with the flagship nature of the high end Intel products, the X299 motherboards come with heftier price tags than their Z270 cousins. Even the most affordable X299 is still a considerable investment, and when you take into account the fact that you pretty much have to use the proper Skylake-X CPU to maximise the potential of the motherboard then it is a significant cost to be up and running.
This high start up cost means that a lot of manufacturers are looking to provide you with an affordable motherboard so that at least one element of your build doesn't cause your bank manager to break down into fits of hysterics. MSI have taken up the mantle with their X299 SLI Plus, a motherboard which gives you all of the glory of the X299 chipset without decorating it with expensive frippery. Think of it like a good meal at a restaurant where you have no starter and the house red.
One element that is consistent with all the recent chipsets, whether the AMD X370 or the Intel X299, is the amount of technology included by default. It doesn't seem that long ago that anything more than 2 USB 2.0 ports and a couple of SATA ports required an array of extra chips to be installed on the PCB, as well as a needing to keep a cheat sheet nearby so you could remember which of the umpteen chips was controlling which drive so you new what driver might be causing issues. All such things have been consigned to history as the two big manufacturers are stuffing their chipsets with plentiful connectivity options and the SLI Plus is no exception. Dual M.2 and a U.2 port sit alongside eight SATA ports to handle all your storage requirements, whilst a bevy of internal and external USB ports handle the endless selection of identical black USB cables that cause us so much grief when we need to unplug something in particular.
Let's take a look at the SLI Plus in the flesh.