MSI’s Z97 series motherboards are impressive, representing an alluring combination of both style, power and affordability. Their loaded feature sets made good sense to the system builder or someone looking to build a new PC. Now MSI have released the X99S SLI Plus, an all-black ‘military edition board that significantly ramps up the number of features, style and power, while still remaining well within the bounds of realistic pricing.
Supporting the new Core i7 Extreme Edition processors, this LGA 2011-3 socket board is quite a thing to behold. It offers four 16x PCI-E slots that can support quad-SLI or CrossFire setups, eight banks capable of taking DDR4-3333 (OC) memory (up to 128GB Quad channel mode), and SATA Express (SATAe) connectors for the new generation of SSDs that can churn out eye-watering 10Gb/s transfer rates. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though.
The design of the board is a stunning black throughout, with angled and futuristic VRM and PCH heatsinks, Super Ferrite Chokes, and aluminium Solid Capacitors, this ATX board wouldn’t look out of place in the Batmobite, let alone a side windowed case. As we’ve come to expect from MSI boards their OC Engine and OC Genie are incorporated to allow more flexibility when trying to attain higher overclocking results. With the OC Genie you can press the appropriate button on the board while the system is powered off, and on the next boot the processor will automatically overclock to its optimal performance.
Turbo M.2, Guard Pro, USB Steel Power, ten SATA III ports (two of which are reserved for SATAe), four front and eight rear USB 3.0 ports, Optical S/PDIF out, five OFC audio jacks, and the Command Centre software makes for a board that you would expect to cost several hundred pounds. However, MSI have managed to squeeze all this into a wallet pleasing price of around $200.
With an i7 5820K installed, along with 16GB of 2800MHz DDR4 Corsair Vengeance, GeForce GTX 780Ti, and an OCZ 120GB SSD the 3DMark 11 Extreme scores of 4908 combined are not to be taken lightly.
Obviously with quad-SLI under full steam, or a more powerful CPU, the benchmarks would be significantly altered; in fact the SLI Plus’ sibling board, the X99S XPower AC made a mockery of the previously held Cinebench record recently on an overclocked i7 setup running at 5930MHz.
Of course large numbers are all fine and well, and they do highlight the incredible level of engineering and capabilities of the MSI X99S boards, but actually using one in a real world, day to day environment is something else. Thankfully the X99S SLI Plus does a superb job no matter what the situation. It’s a super-stable performance motherboard on which to build your next system. Together with the Guard Pro feature, the higher quality components used throughout, and the advanced power management and performance mean that this is a board any user could seriously consider, not just the extreme processing or overclocking crowd.
The MSI X99S SLI Plus therefore represents a fantastic deal, where you can unleash the full potential of your hardware and have the stability and assurance of an extremely high performance machine.