All of this means we’d be nuts not to give MSI’s X99S SLI Plus an award. But which one? Our Approved recognition simply means a product slightly exceeded our expectations. Recommended means that it’s also a better-than-average value. Our 2015 Choice award replaces last year’s Elite and generally indicates that a product is remarkably better than everything else in its class. But does price alone define this motherboard’s class?
The nice thing about the word Choice is that it’s a little less elitist than Elite. We can probably use it when referring to the ultimate reduced-cost X99 board. A less expensive audio codec and ordinary overclock aren’t enough to distract us from this product’s vast array of extra features. And besides, the X99S SLI Plus really is our choice for moderately-priced LGA 2011-v3 builds.
MSI now offers a revised version of the X99S SLI Plus featuring USB 3.1. Called the X99A SLI Plus, it replaces this board's ASM1042 controller with an ASM1142 USB 3.1 controller via two PCIe 2.0 lanes. The entire 10Gbps bandwidth can be dedicated to a single device or shared over two ports, and MSI states that this adds only $10 to the X99A SLI Plus MSRP. The steep discounts found with the X99S SLI Plus are not available for the X99A SLI Plus, so we'd still pick the original model in our search for value.
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Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware, covering Cases, Cooling, Memory and Motherboards. Follow him on Twitter.
This notion of selling crippled parts is extremely annoying. It would bother me less if the CPU was designed from the ground-up to be a 28-lane part, hence less transistors, less heat & power usage, more oc headroom, etc. But selling something that's deliberately hobbled in this way is a step backwards IMO. It also makes the 4820K a rather peculiar chip, since that does have 40 lanes. There's clearly no reason for the 5820K to be restricted, it's just a lockout, most likely done with dies that have faults in the relevant silicon. Tell ya what, let's market cars with one broken wheel as 3-wheelers, because that's a good idea.
I'll be benching a 4820K soon with some 980s, anyone care to make predictions on how it'll compare to a 5820K for typical results? (3DMark11/13, etc.)
IMO the entire 5K lineup is wrong, and it's only the way it is because there's no competition. The 5820K should be a 6-core with full lanes (40, whatever), the 5930K should be 8 core with the same no. of lanes, the 5960X should be 8 or 10 core at a higher clock with a lot more lanes (64, 80, etc.), enough for full 4-way x16 with plenty to spare for M.2, priced accordingly high to make it attractive to those happy to pay oodles for something really groundbreaking, rather than the lame 3GHz lapdog we have atm which IMO is not remotely the woohaa 8-core I was hoping for.
Remember, the 3930K was an 8-core chip with 2 cores disabled, so we know Intel can easily produce affordable 8-core dies. The XEON line shows there are no technical hurdles to this (the specs of the 2687W v3 and 2697 v3 suggest the 5960X could easily have been made to run at 3.6+ base clock, they use the same lithography). Instead, it's now 2 generations past when we could have had a mid-range consumer 8-core, but we don't because Intel still doesn't need to make one.
I hope AMD can get back into the game if for no other reason than to force Intel to stop messing around and finally push the tech forward in the manner we all know it's perfectly capable of doing. Enough with the tech crippling already!
PS. Likewise, I'm tired of the mainstream chipset still only havng 16 lanes (ie. Z97 atm), resulting in all sorts of faffing around with SLI/CF tradeoffs vs. M.2/etc. usage. It's the mainstream chipset which needs to be more like 28 lanes by now, not the bottom of the high end.
Yea cause pcie 3.0 8x is really going to hurt you performance. Sarcasm aside. There is not a card in existence that going to be bottlenecked by pcie 3.0 8x. Titan x included.