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MSI X99S Gaming9 AC Review

MSI X99S Gaming9 AC Review

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MSI X99S Gaming9 AC Review – Software and BIOS

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MSI X99S Gaming9 AC Review – Performance

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ASUS Rampage V Extreme, Gigabyte X99-Gaming 5, Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 5
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MSI X99S Gaming9 AC Review – Conclusion

Starting with the build quality and design of the X99S Gaming 9 AC we have a board which immediately creates a decent first impression. The black PCB looks great mixed with the red flashes and the choice of LEDs works well. That said, the main LED logo should be lower down as it is partially blocked by any decent high end GPU. Elsewhere around the board we note that the overall layout is good, plenty room in the slot layout for multiple GPUs to breath however the top slot is very close to the memory slots, so take care with any card that use a large backplate. Interestingly the screw holes are a little odd. We would have preferred a little more room around the bottom left one on the EMI shield to allow the use of thumbscrews. Also the Dragon Armor on the IO area actually uses the standard screw holes for attaching. This could create issues for those with hefty coolers who want a very secure fit in their case. We would have liked MSI to separately attach the shield. Really there are no significant concerns though, plenty of connectivity, loads of flexibility for the components which can be used and all current technology (SATA Express, PCIe 3.0, M.2 etc) all supported along with the enhanced audio features.

In terms of performance, lets start with the Streaming Engine. We noted in our time testing that the implementation was a little troublesome to begin with. However with the latest BIOS, drivers and software updates the situation has improved. We were able to run as if we had a dedicated, discrete capture card and noted no issues using storage which was out of the ordinary, such as our Plextor M.2 SSD. Elsewhere the Wi-Fi actually matches our main card here at HH HQ so we know that it offers excellent performance in AC mode and Killer NIC tech is tried and trusted too. We used Crucial and Corsair DDR4 in our testing, of various speeds, without issue and our GTX 980 ran as well as it has on other X99 boards. In terms of comparisons with other brands, we noted no performance issues on SATA, PCIe, M.2, USB, memory or the CPU. This is a very competitive board and while it didn’t win every bench, there were some (like USB 3.0 writes or PCIe) where it edged ahead.

For value, the extra software certainly strengthens the position of the MSI baord (especially the X-Split licence and dedicated hardware) and the easy OC options both software and via button allow even novice users to maximise the performance of their hardware. Additionally we hit 4.5GHz with ease in manual overclocking on our 5960X.

Summary: A board which certainly stands out from the crowd thanks to its dedicated streaming hardware. Very competitive performance and some great support for varied components.

Performance Award

Available from Newegg and Overclockers.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review!
    Totally fall in love with MSI X99S Gaming AC.

  2. I would love to have this new MOTHERBOARD

  3. andrew

    Sexy design and good review.Thanks and think over to take one home

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