MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC MS-7A95 1.0 & 1.1 Schematic Circuit Diagram
MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC Motherboard Overview
In recent years, Intel's HEDT platform has always had a two-generation CPU cycle. With the recent announcement of Skylake-X, it was time for a refresh: the new LGA 2066 socket and a new X299 chipset (collectively named Basin Falls), with the usual swarm of new motherboards eager to profit on the margin-rich high-end desktop sector. The X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC from MSI is the subject of our first review.
For the last two generations, the 'Gaming Pro Carbon AC' has been MSI's defacto top-end motherboard in its main consumer range, matched by the XPower Gaming for overclockers. The shift in MSI's portfolio over the previous few years, from their trio of Gaming, MPower, and XPower lines to this, has been subtle - most noticeably due to the lack of an MPower, to be honest. But there is one thread that runs through MSI's veins, whether it's in motherboards, laptops, GPUs, or anything else: the need that the title includes the word "gaming." Because it integrates MSI's fresh gaming focus and improves SEO.
The main advantage of X299 over X99 will be the additional functionality offered by the chipset: with 20+ PCIe 3.0 lanes accessible through the chipset, new high-end system parts such as storage and networking may be installed without losing CPU connection. This implies two PCIe 3.0 x4 M for the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. 2 storage slots, a U.2 slot for storage, and a driver for Type-C that enables WiFi and USB 3.1 (10 Gbps).
The motherboard design is one statistic that MSI has been promoting over the past few years. This implies employing complementary angles for heatsinks and accents and applying consistent, stylish angled lines throughout the design. The 'Carbon' component of the name relates to the heatsinks' carbon-fiber structure, as well as MSI's desire to provide these models a fairly neutral color scheme of black and silver that may be highlighted with RGB lighting. MSI incorporates the neutral color palette into several of its features, such as the silver PCIe and DRAM reinforcement, and the black with angled lines M.2 covers that aid in heat dissipation.
I don't have much to compare it to because it's one of our first X299 motherboards in for evaluation. The MSI board includes an improved turbo mode by default in our CPU tests, providing the CPU more performance than one may expect. This has a direct impact on power consumption, with our 140W TDP CPU drawing 166W under normal BIOS settings. Users should install sufficient cooling on the motherboard.
Intel introduced the Basin Falls platform, which includes the new X299 chipset and LGA2066 socket, as well as a new generation of Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs. The Skylake-X processors range from the hex-core Core i9-7800X to the 18-core Core i9-7980XE multitasking monster.
Review of the X299 Motherboard
If you've been following the X299 motherboard saga closely, you've probably heard about some issues with power supply, overclocking, and the capacity to cool these CPUs given their high power usage. In a nutshell, the situation is as follows:
- The thermal interface inside the CPU doesn't do much, thus a strong CPU cooler is required.
- Skylake-X uses a lot of power at max (150W+).
- Multi-Core Turbo is a feature on certain motherboards that increases power consumption and voltage, compounding the problem.
- VRMs must deal with higher power and, as a result of losses, a rise in temperature.
- Without an active cooler, certain motherboards may not have enough VRM cooling.
- To avoid degrading components, the CPU decloaks or enters thermal power modes.
- Performance suffers as a result, and overclocked systems suffer much more than normal.
Igor Wallossek of Tom's Hardware has done some fantastic work with thermal probes, thermal cameras, and performance research. The important conclusion is that motherboard manufacturers must be cautious with default settings (if MCT is enabled by default) and offer enough VRM cooling in all cases - whether using larger and heavier heatsinks or returning to active cooling.
As a result, some X299 boards will function normally while others will underperform due to BIOS versions or design considerations. Stay tuned as we work on quantifying exactly how to portray this outside of simple benchmarking. Meanwhile, we're working on our first X299 board of the year.
MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC Main Features
- Supports the LGA 2066 socket and the new Intel® CoreTM X-series processor family.
- Support DDR4-4133(OC)+ Quad Channel, DDR4-4500(OC)+ Dual Channel
- MYSTIC LIGHT: Control 16.8 million colors and 17 effects with a single click with the MYSTIC LIGHT APP or mobile devices.
- Exchangeable cover and 3D X-MOUNTING screws for 3D printing support.
- TURBO SOCKET with GAME BOOST, DIGITAL POWER DESIGN Designed for Extreme Performance
- TWIN TURBO M.2 with M.2 Shield and Intel Optane Memory Ready, Turbo U.2, LIGHTNING USB 3.1 GEN2 for Lightning Fast Gaming
- VR READY and VR BOOST: Provides the best virtual reality game experience without latency and helps to eliminate motion sickness. It works with Nahimic VR and TriDef VR.
- AUDIO BOOST 4 with NAHIMIC 2+: For the most immersive gaming experience, reward your ears with studio-grade sound quality.
- DDR4 BOOST with STEEL ARMOR: Boost the performance of your DDR4 memory.
- Intel® GAMING LAN and Wireless Support: The greatest online gaming experience with the least latency and bandwidth control.
- MULTI-GPU: PCI-E slots with STEEL ARMOR. Supports NVIDIA SLITM and AMD CrossfireTM in three directions.
- SYSTEM SAVER: Three simple alternatives for re-booting your computer.
- GAME BOOST, GAMING HOTKEY, X-BOOST, APP MANAGER are all in-game weapons.
- GAMING CERTIFIED: eSports players tested the game and motherboard for 24 hours, both online and offline.
- Click BIOS 5: Award-winning BIOS with high-resolution scalable text, favorites, and search capabilities.
- Windows 10 is WHQL certified.
MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC Motherboard Marking
- Clear Button of CMOS and Flash BIOS
- Awesome Lightning USB 3.1 Gen2
- USB 2.0 with Flash BIOS
- Intel Wireless and Bluetooth
- Audio Jacks of Golden with S/PDIF
- CARBON SCHEME Mystic Light RGB Covers Up to 16.8 million colors and 17 LED effects are available.
- For optimal cooling, gaming heatsinks with Mystic Light RGB Hydro dip paint technology are used.
- Steel Armor and DDR4 Boost Traces that are optimized and memory circuitry that is isolated.
- VGA cards are protected from bending and EMI using PCI-E Steel Armor.
- Using PCI-Express Gen3 x4 and 2x Turbo M.2 with M.2 Shield NVMe support, up to 32 Gb/s may be achieved.
- U.2 with Steel Armor NVMe compatibility and up to 32 Gb/s using PCI-Express Gen3 x4 with NVMe support.
- Amplifier for Audio Boost 4 With Nahimic 2+, gaming audio has been optimized utilizing the greatest components.