MSI X99A XPower Gaming Titanium Motherboard Overview
Obviously the big thing with this motherboard is its Titanium design. The PCB is colored Titanium with most of the other accents on the board being Titanium too. The only other color on the board is black. This motherboard is one of the best-looking boards we’ve seen in a while! Pictures definitely do not do it justice! The VRM and PCH heatsinks are covered in Titanium and the rear I/O and audio components are covered with Titanium-colored plastic. There is also a MSI Dragon logo on the PCH heatsink that lights up. If you are wondering if this board is larger than your typical ATX motherboard, it is actually wider at 272mm wide compared to the usual 244mm.
Let’s start at the top of the motherboard. Typically we see an 8-pin EPS connector for power to the CPU, but MSI has outfitted this board with an 8-pin plus an extra 4-pin if you wanted to deliver more power for extreme overclocking.
Moving down we have the CPU socket which is of course the LGA2011v3 socket. It supports Intel’s latest Broadwell-E processors as well as Haswell-E processors. The area around the CPU socket is very clean, which is great to see. Flanking the CPU socket on each side you have 4 (8 total) DDR4 DIMM slots. These slots use MSI “Steel Armor” which protect the DIMM slots and prevent motherboard flex. I would like to mention that the DDR4 slots are not color-coded, but they do follow the same design as most other motherboards so you should know where to install your memory. These slots support up to 128 GB of DDR4 operating at up to 3466MHz. The slots also do not have locks on the bottom, which makes it easy to remove your memory after you have your graphics card installed.
At the top corner of the motherboard is quite a lot of different buttons and connections. Starting at the far top you have your CPU fan header (4-pin) and Debug post code display. After a successful boot the debug post code display doubles as a real-time CPU temperature display. Moving down there is a LN2 switch, voltage check points, Game Boost overclocking dial, power and reset buttons, frequency up and down buttons, PCI-Express dip-switches, three 4-pin fan headers, 24-pin ATX power connector, and discharge button. The Game Boost dial is pretty interesting, it is a true dial that allows for instant overclocking with seven different presets. The discharge button is a true factory reset button, not only will it clear the BIOS / VRAM, but also any information saved in the X99 PCH.
Moving down the board we have most of our storage connections. To start we have a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, two USB 3.0 headers, six SATA 6GB/s ports, 32 GB/s U.2 port, and two more SATA 6GB/s ports. You can really tell that MSI was trying to cram as much as they could into this board.
Along the bottom of the board you will find the rest of your connections and buttons, there is a single SATA Express port, two USB headers, front panel headers, force enter BIOS button, OC retry button, 4-pin fan header, TPM header, 4-pin fan header, Molex connection to bring extra power to expansion slots, and audio headers.
Taking a look at expansion slots you have five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots and a single PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slot. The x16 slots also feature MSI’s “Steel Armor” which is sort of becoming a standard on all motherboards. The first and fourth PCI-Express slots will always operate at x16 speeds, while the others will drop down to x8 if more than one card is installed. The first and 4th slot are positioned perfectly for dual-slot graphics cards. There is also another 4-pin fan header above the top PCI-Express slot.
In between the fourth and fifth PCI-Express slots you will find a 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. It is also reinforced with steel plating, I think this is the first time I’ve seen this. The slot supports M.2 solid state drives up to 110 mm.
The X99A XPower Gaming Titanium Motherboard features MSI’s Audio Boost 3, powered by Nahimic Sound Technology. It is covered by the thermal armor on the board, but MSI is using premium audio components like Chemi-Con Audio Capacitors, Dual Headphone Amplifiers, and a High Quality EMI-Shielded HD Audio Processor all of which is on its own isolated audio PCB.
Finally we move on to the rear I/O. From left to right we have a PS/2 port (MSI Gaming port), two USB 2.0 ports, clear CMOS button, USB port (BIOS flashback), six USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet port (Intel I218-V), USB 3.1 ports (Type-A / Type-C), antenna connectors for the WiFi, and HD audio connections.