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.