Just as every other manufacturer is doing, MSI is launching new X299 boards to accompany Intel’s newly launched 10th generation of HEDT CPUs. MSI has three new models coming: The Creator, the Pro, and the Pro 10G. While these boards are intended for the new 10th-Gen CPUs, you could use them for previous 7th- and 9th-Gen CPUs.
The Creator is basically similar to MSI's motherboards for AMD's Ryzen and Threadripper: uncompromising in almost every regard except the price. It’s an E-ATX form factor and features a total of three 8-pin CPU power plugs, just in case you happen to have one of Intel's 18-core Core i9 CPUs, and you need to get it to 5 GHz or higher. It also comes with four full-size reinforced PCIe slots, three M.2 slots each with a heat shield, and the standard eight DIMM slots seen on many other X299 boards. The Creator also comes with a ton of I/O, which is great for enthusiasts.
The Pro and Pro 10G boards are normal full ATX boards and have a cut-down feature set compared to the Creator. For example, they only have two 8-pin CPU power plugs and two M.2 slots. These boards do feature the same full-size PCIe slots, but only half of them have been reinforced. Unfortunately, MSI seems to have cut down the most on I/O for the Pro board, which basically only has the bare essentials.
Lastly, you might also be wondering what the difference is with the 10G moniker; if you buy the Pro 10G, you get a 10-gigabit network card. Unfortunately, MSI has no plans to sell this motherboard in the U.S. market.
The X299 platform is over two years old now and hasn’t really seen a new architecture or node come to it since, but the platform is still kicking thanks to Intel’s massive price cuts that will arrive with 10th-Gen CPUs. With Threadripper 3 coming within just a few weeks, it remains to be seen whether or not X299 can hang in there for just a little longer. But at the very least, it’s definitely nice to see more X299 boards, especially for those who need an upgrade.
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Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.