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MSI X299 XPower Gaming AC Motherboard Review

Test Configuration

Additional cores create additional thermal and power loads that can push other hardware to its limits, yet the parts we’re hoping to push to the limit are all on the motherboards. Intel’s 10-core, 20-thread Core i9-7900X CPU is a great product for stressing the voltage regulators of various X299 motherboards, particularly under our full-AVX-load overclocking stability test.

Test Hardware

SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
Graphics DriverGeForce 382.53

The tremendous heat produced by the Core i9-7900X required us to use nothing less than our award-winning Fractal Design S24 liquid cooler system sample. Getting its fans to blow sufficiently over each motherboard’s voltage regulator required additional design consideration: Of our leftover case review samples, Cooler Master’s HAF-XB had the best layout.

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
PCMark 8Version 2.7.613Home, Creative, Work, Storage, Applications (Adobe & Microsoft)
3DMark 13Version 4.47.597.0Skydiver, Firestrike, Firestrike Extreme Default Presets
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2016.03.22.21CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth
DiskSPD4k Random Read, 4k Random Write128k Sequential Read, 128k Sequential Write
Cinebench R15Build RC83328DEMOOpenGL Benchmark
CompuBenchVersion 1.5.8Face Detection, Optical Flow, Ocean Surface, Ray Tracing
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.9Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19 GB 4k mkv to x265 mp4
BlenderVersion 2.68aBMW 27 CPU Render Benchmark, BMW 27 GPU Render Benchmark
7-ZipVersion 16.02THG-Workload (7.6 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=9"
Adobe After Effects CCRelease 2015.3.0, Version driven routine
Adobe Photoshop CCRelease 2015.5.0. 20160603.r.88 x64PCMark driven routine (light and heavy)
Adobe InDesign CCRelease 2015.4, Build x64PCMark driven routine
Adobe IllustratorRelease 2015.3.0, Version 20.0.0 (64-bit)PCMark driven routine
Game Tests and Settings
Ashes of SingularityVersion 1.31.21360High Preset - 1920x1080, Mid Shadow Quality, 1x MSAACrazy Preset - 1920x1090, High Shadow Quality, 2x MSAA
F1 20152015 Season, Abu Dhabi Track, RainMedium Preset, No AFxUltra High Preset, 16x AF
Metro Last Light ReduxVersion 3.00 x64High Quality, 1920x1080, High Tesselation, 16x AFVery High Quality, 1920x1080, Very High Tesselation, 16x AF
The Talos PrincipleVersion 267252Medium Preset, High Quality, High Tesselation, 4x AFUltra Preset, VeryHigh Quality, VeryHigh Tesselation, 16x AF

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Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Scott_123
    With z370 due out in 3 days and cool new processors who will buy a x299 or z270 at this point in time? Add in the fact you can't boot ssd raid and have to buy the most expensive processor to get the most pcie lanes and this board makes no sense at all.
  • daglesj
    HEDT now sold as a gaming platform...crazy and pointless.
  • karma77police
    There is one problem with this board, for that money there should be 2x8 pin connectors. Only Gigabyte got it right with their 9 series.
  • ckhannarong
    my 7 year old MB can still run most games above 100 fps@1440p with gtx980 ti.
  • Malik 722
    is it dangerous for motherboard to flex can it cause some serious damage.
  • Kenneth_72
    I've seen many examples in the last several months where benchmarks, Firestrike etc, showed lower numbers but in actual games the hardware performed better.

    Opinion of the validity of these existing benchmarks to actual game performance.
  • Crashman
    20231288 said:
    With z370 due out in 3 days and cool new processors who will buy a x299 or z270 at this point in time? Add in the fact you can't boot ssd raid and have to buy the most expensive processor to get the most pcie lanes and this board makes no sense at all.
    LOL, Z370 is Z270 rehashed. It makes no sense to scale back to dual channel and 16 CPU lanes if you really need 28 or 44 lanes or quad-channel.

    The only people your analysis SHOULD make sense to are Kaby Lake X buyers, but we've already established that most of that market wasn't making sense anyway :)

  • Scott_123
  • Crashman
    20236444 said:
    X299 is paired with LGA 2011, an interface that supports 44 CPU PCIe lanes and four memory channels. Z370 is paired with LGA 1151, which has only 16 CPU PCIe lanes and two memory channels.

    So who would buy X299 after Z370 is out? Someone who needs more than 16 CPU lanes or more than two memory channels.

    Kaby Lake X is a 16-lane processor that, when placed on an X299 platform, cripples half its features. It was always a bad idea for most users, but there are a few elite overclockers who love it just for overclocking.