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MSI X99A Pro Carbon Motherboard Sports Front Panel USB 3.1 Type-C Support

MSI announced its new X99A Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard and claimed that it has the "world’s first" front USB 3.1 Type-C header.

The new header can connect just one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port on the front of the case. Four additional USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A front headers are also located on the board. There are also four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port and one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C port on the back of the motherboard. All of the USB 3.1 Gen 2 slots are powered by an ASMedia ASM1142 chipset, whereas a Via VL805 chipset is used to control four of the rear USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. (That's a mouthful. If you're confused, revisit our USB Type-C / USB 3.1 primer here.)

The motherboard also offers 10 SATA-III (6 Gbps) ports, one SATA Express, one M.2, four PCI-E 3.0 x16 and two PCI-E 2.0 x1 ports. Enthusiasts will be glad to see that there is also a U.2 port available for you to connect ultra fast storage devices, but this port shares PCI-E lanes with the fourth PCI-E 3.0 slot.

MSI opted to go with a relatively high-end Realtek ALC1150 audio codec, which is protected from EMI by a protective shroud. MSI enables its Audio Boost 3 and Nahimic audio technologies to attempt to further boost the clarity and performance of the audio.

To improve the looks of the motherboard, MSI installed several RGB LEDs on the motherboard around the heatsinks and audio chipset. There is also an internal header to connect an additional LED strip. All of the LED lights can be controlled by software on the PC or through a smartphone application.

There is currently no word on pricing or availability.

MSI X99 Gaming Pro Carbon
Memory Support 8 x DDR4, Up to 128 GB, Up to 3466 MHz
PCI-E4 x PCI-E 3.0 x162 x PCI-E 2.0 x1
Storage10 x SATA-III1 x SATA Express1 x M.2 Key M1 x U.2
USB1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A (Back Panel)1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (Back Panel)4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Back Panel)4 x USB 2.0 Type-A (Back Panel)1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (Front Panel)4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Front Panel)4 x USB 2.0 Type-A (Front Panel)
AudioRealtek ALC1150
NICIntel i218-V

Update, 5/13/16, 5:15pm PT: Fixed a spec error.

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Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.