A Closer Look
Let’s just savour this for a moment. What a looker and personally I much prefer this over the X99 GODLIKE Gaming. MSI seems to know how to make some extremely unique looking motherboards that would look great in some space or mechanical themed systems.
A close up on the socket shows the texture of the new PCB. The DDR4 BOOST lanes are clearly outlined with a darker silver/ grey with a direct line to the CPU for maximised performance.
The GAME BOOST Dial makes another appearance here and stands out well thanks to the red button top.
The OC DASHBOARD is something I’ve been waiting to get my hands on for a while. This slimline, almost credit-card sized PCB is designed to help those using LN2 for overclocking and don’t want to freeze their fingers off trying to reach the buttons and switches. Personally I like the discharge button as I tend to not leave enough time between powering down and removing the motherboard for all of the power to leave the system.
The OC DASHBOARD can fit onto the motherboard directly, but the purpose of this is to remove the buttons out of harms way. This can be achieved by this extension cable.
It doesn’t offer much distance and the motherboard connector would be extremely difficult to bend for adequate cable tidying inside the case.
The PCI section of the board is well executed with 4x PCIe x16 lanes evenly spaced for 4-way crossfire, 2x M.2 ports nestled between them and an additional 6-pin power connector to help give a little more to the lanes if needed. As with other mid and high-end MSI motherboards, this features the PCIe shields which help add strength to the ports and also reduce any electronic interference.
The IO portion of the motherboard is rammed full of connectivity options, but we seem to be missing a USB Type-C and/ or Thunderbolt connector. Going from left to right we have: 1x PS/2 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x Clear CMOS button, 1x direct USB 2.0 port, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x DisplayPort, 2x HDMI ports, 1x Gigabit LAN, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 3.1 ports, 1x S/PDIF out and HD audio jacks.
The sound section of this board is relatively plain considering the cost, I’m surprised MSI didn’t design a small cover to make this area more pleasing.
Moving to the bottom of the board, we see the usual set of headers including the newly introduced GAME BOOST Dial.
Heading up the other side of the board, we are presented by 8x SATA 6Gb/s ports, 2x SATA Express ports and a USB 3.0 header.
Opposite the IO ports are the 4x DDR4 DIMMS, direct USB port, 24-pin power connector, V-Check socket/ header and the OC DASHBOARD header.
Looking down on top of the board and we see the usual 8-pin CPU power connector, but also an additional 4-pin to provide more power for high overclocking; this motherboard is for the serious overclockers out there.