MSI: SLI Plus, Gaming Pro Carbon and XPower Gaming
Last but not least: MSI sent us three motherboards for this test. The X299 SLI Plus has the lowest average price out of all of the motherboards in this test, after the ASRock X299 Killer SLI/AC. Nevertheless MSI offers a surprising amount for that price.
The X299 SLI Plus might not have a remarkable appearance with its many darker shared, but it does have a cover above the connectors. In contrast with the UD4 the SLI Plus does offer front USB 3.1, a second network connector and even a U.2-connector. However, there are barely any products that support that fast SSD-connector. Still, you can also use M.2-SSDs without any issues using the two supplied heatsinks.
In order to make your life easier MSI also included a problem diagnosis display and a button on the outside that allows you to reset the BIOS. The only downside is that the power supply of the X299 SLI Plus is not really suited for extreme overclocking, but that can pretty much be said about all of the motherboards in this segment.
The X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC costs nearly 89 pounds / 100 euros more. As the name suggest this board has 802.11ac-WiFi and with a proper chip that can process 867Mbit/s. Aside from that it distinguishes itself with the carbon accents that you can change using the supplied silver and golden covers if you so desire.
In this segment the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC does not really stand out in terms of features. The board only has a single network connector, eight SATA-connectors and three USB 3.1-connectors; one of them is an internal header. There are boards in this segment that offer more of a single feature, but no board combines all of them - if you are looking for a board that does this you have to spend more. Overclockers will value the solid power supply and all of the on-board buttons of this MSI.
This MSI-board sort of cheats in our benchmarks because of the 'agressive turbo', which means that the CPU has a standard overclock. This explains why the performance of this board is very good in the benchmarks, but this function can also be set on every other X299-motherboard if you so desire.
Lastly we also test the X299 XPower Gaming AC, the top model that is primarily meant for overclockers. However, the focus is not as strong as ASUS, with slightly less overclocking features but with more other functionality than the Apex. Furthermore you also receive a free Corsair H100i v2 water cooler, which would otherwise cost you about 107 pounds / 120 euros. That is a serious added value.