New X99 Motherboards And Memory
Case in point, the MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon. Like most other X99-based motherboards, the X99A Gaming Pro Carbon leverages all of the chipset’s inherent features, but MSI definitely kicks things up a few notches and puts their own spin on things. The X99A Gaming Pro Carbon, for example, has customizable RGB LED lighting, that can be extended with up to two additional lighting strips, and metal reinforcements on its M.2 and expansion slots, and its DIMM slots, for added strength and rigidity.
As you’d expect in an enthusiast motherboard from this generation, the MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon features a mouse-friendly BIOS / UEFI that’s quick and easy to navigate and offers an extensive array of overclocking and performance-related options. MSI calls it their Click BIOS 5, and it sports everything from high resolution fonts to the latest version of MSI’s hardware monitor functionality. The X99A Gaming Pro Carbon also features some highly-durable Titanium chokes, in addition to high-conductivity polymer and / or solid capacitors throughout, to improve long-term reliability and overall efficiency. The board is also outfitted with an all-digital PWM as well, to further improve power efficiency and smooth delivery.
The MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon also offers easy overclocking by way of its OC Genie and Game Boost features, but the UEFI sports all of the overclocker-friendly tools we’ve come to expect from MSI for manual tweaking as well. The fan controls on the board are also very robust and MSI has put in additional effort to isolate the memory circuitry to ensure clean signaling and the highest possible overclocks.
Other features of the X99A Gaming Pro Carbon include USB 3.1 Gen 2 type-C and type-A ports for quick-charging and straightforward connectivity of the latest mobile devices, Intel powered gigabit networking with built in 15kV surge protection, on-board power and reset switches, a POST-code error reporter, CrossFire / SLI support, and it includes a 1 year premium subscription to XSplit GameCaster too.
In addition to the aforementioned items, we should point out that the MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon offers 8-channel audio with Nahimic Audio Enhancer support and MSI’s Audio Boost 3. Audio Boost 3 incorporates dual OPA1652 AMPs, gold-plated audio jacks, EMI shielding, and high-quality audio filtering caps designed to enhance the quality of the audio output on the board.
We found the layout of the X99A Gaming Pro Carbon to be very good and also really like the dark red, black, and carbon-fiber features on the board. Your tastes may vary, of course, but we think this is one heck of a good looking motherboard and it was a pleasure to use throughout testing. There is also plenty of IO on the board, including a PS2 port for sticklers (like me) that still have true N-Key rollover keyboards that use the legacy port.
We should quickly mention that, like previous-gen high-end platforms from Intel, the X99 and Broadwell-E offers full support for the Extreme Memory Profile (XMP 1.3) specification, for easy memory optimization and overclocking.
The G.SKILL Trident Z memory kit you see here supports XMP and consists of four, 8GB, DDR4-3200 sticks of memory (total capacity 32GB), model number F4-3200C14Q-32GTZ. The sticks run at 1.35v with CL14-14-14-34 timings, and they feature dual-color, aluminum heat-spreaders, with an attractive anodized finish and thin-fins that run the length of the DIMMs. This kit obviously sports orange inserts, but multiple other colors are also available.