MSI X99S MPower Motherboard Overview
The X99S MPower follows in the footsteps of previous Overclocking Series motherboards with its black and yellow design. You have a matte black PCB with black and yellow accents throughout. If you are familiar with MSI’s Lightning Series of graphics cards you know that they will match this motherboard perfectly. We review a lot of motherboards here at ThinkComputers and MSI’s Overclocking Series has been one of our favorites in terms of style.
At the center of the board is the Intel LGA 2011-3 socket. This socket will only support the latest Intel Haswell-E HEDT (high-end desktop) processors. You will notice that the area around the CPU socket is very clean, so if you wanted to throw an LN2 pot on there it wouldn’t be much trouble at all. The LGA 2011-3 socket is flanked on each side by four DDR4 memory slots giving you eight total. These slots support quad channel DDR4 memory with speeds of up to DDR4-3333 (OC). This board features a 12-phase all digital power design, which makes use of MSI’s Military Class 4 components including DrMOS, Hi-c CAP and Super Ferrite Chokes. DrMOS is the next-gen Mosfet which is used to deliver the power for the CPU. MSI DrMOS does not waste much power, stays cool and is more power efficient than other powersaving solutions. Because DrMOS is a 3-in-1 chip it delivers much more power with less components needed. A Hi-c CAP is a very small, but super-efficient capacitor. Besides ensuring enough spacing around a CPU socket to install large coolers, it also allows for 93% energy efficiency. Thanks to Hi-c CAP`s MSI mainboards are the most energy efficient in the market. Super Ferrite Choke uses a Ferrite core that is Super-Permeable. This allows the Super Ferrite Choke to run at a 35 degree Celsius lower temperature, have a 30% higher current capacity, a 20% improvement in power efficiency and better overclocking power stability.
Flipping the motherboard over we can see the large heatsink that keeps our power delivery components nice and cool. Power to the CPU comes by way of a combination of an 8pin + 4pin EPS connector, you only need the 8pin to get your system running, the 4pin can be used for extra power. The CPU fan header is located towards the top of the motherboard, which I like as its more out of the way. There is also a 4pin fan header next to it as well as one on the opposite side towards your rear I/O ports.
At the top corner of the motherboard is the DEBUG LED. This will show codes as your system is booting up to let you know if there are any errors. Once your system is powered on and fully booted it then turns into a live temperature monitor. While the DEBUG LED on the Z97 MPower board was yellow it is red on this board. Moving down from the DEBUG LED you have your 24pin ATX power connector and a USB 3.0 header.
Interestingly enough there is a second USB 3.0 header, but it is at a 90 degree angle like the SATA ports. This allows you to still have that connection, but not have to worry about your video card getting in the way once you have it installed. On the side of the motherboard there are a total of eight SATA 6GB/s ports.
Along the bottom of the motherboard you will find quite a lot of buttons and connections. The first thing that stands out is a SATA Express port. If you choose to not use the SATA Express port you can use the two SATA ports giving you a total of ten on this board. Now moving right to left you have a 4pin fan header, slow mode switch, two USB 2.0 headers, front panel connections, FASTB1 button, OC switch, OC Genie button, base clock buttons (up and down), reset button, power button and HD audio header.
On the far left side of the motherboard you will find MSI’s Audio Boost solution that has PCB isolation, which you can see by the yellow cutout on the motherboard. The audio components feature a studio level integrated 600Ω headphone amplifier, EMI shielded audio codec, dual AMPs and Nippon Chemi-con Filtering Capacitors. Also on this side of the motherboard you have voltage check points that can be used with a voltage meter.
As far as expansion slots go you have four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, although the bottom two are x8 electrical. The top three slots are aligned perfectly for dual-slot graphics cards. The motherboard supports both NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX technology. You also have two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots. Between the second and third PCI-Express slot is a M.2 slot, but not your ordinary M.2 slot this is an Turbo M.2 slot. Turbo M.2 is the successor to M.2 10 Gb/s, offering 3 times more performance up to 32 Gb/s using Gen3 x4. Also you will notice another 4pin fan header right above the top PCI-Express slot, that gives you a total of four not including the CPU fan header.
The rear I/O on this board in incredibly simple. From left to right you have a PS/2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, clear CMOS button, eight USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Intel Ethernet, and audio ports which are gold-plated.