MSI X299 XPOWER Gaming AC Review
Published: 10th November 2017 | Source: MSI | Price: |
As befits an XPOWER motherboard there are loads of accessories in the box, including some very nice SATA cables and proper WiFi aerials. Those of you with more M.2 drives that the three that can be fitted on the PCB will enjoy the addition of the M.2 Xpander that gives you another two connectors at the expense of a PCI Express slot.
The XPOWER Gaming AC has dispensed with the yellow colour scheme that used to be its trademark and adopted the now common neutral colour scheme to allow the RGB lighting to be used to its fullest without clashing. All the slots have the steel armour on them which helps reinforce them to assist your motherboards longevity whilst also giving a nice accent to the black PCB. There are two main lighting sectors on the XPOWER, one at the top left, and the circle on the main chipset heatsink.
MSI were the first manufacturer to really take the idea of having onboard buttons to the limit and refining it to include overclocking options. The XPOWER Gaming AC includes their Genie dial which lets you step through various levels of overclocking without resorting to getting your hands dirty in the BIOS.
The bottom edge of the motherboard shows how many headers you can find all over the X299 XPOWER. Whether it's loads of USB front panel extensions or the oodles of fan headers that help keep your system running at peak efficiency. The heatspreaders for the M.2 have quickly established themselves as a must have for any self-respecting motherboard and the XPOWER has one for each M.2 slot to ensure that your storage runs as fast as possible.
No matter where you look there are loads of connection options on the MSI. We can't remember the last time we saw this many SATA ports on a motherboard, let alone one that also has a U.2 connector and the 3 M.2s we mentioned above. No chance of you running out of places to connect your storage.
Around the back the story remains the same. Twin Gigabit LAN ports and umpteen USB 3.1 connectors sit alongside the WiFi antenna connections and combined PS/2 port.
One of the major talking points when the X299 was first released was the VRAM temperatures and, as you can see, MSI have really decided that this isn't a particular problem with one of the smallest MOSFET heatsinks we've yet seen. It is tied to the IO section heatsink via a heatpipe which itself is connected to a large surface area heatsink on the rear side of the PCB. Still, it'll be interesting to see how the XPOWER performs in our longer, more strenuous tests.