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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 09 > MSI X99S GAMING 7

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Republish review

24-09-2014


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MSI X99S GAMING 7 motherboard: review and testing

Turning to the official page of the hero of today’s review namely the motherboard MSI X99S GAMING 7, the first attention is paid to the slogan «GAMING PERFECTION» that at first may seem like a small marketing overstatement of the manufacturer. If you look more closely at all the features and equipment of the product it becomes clear that the slogan is not just an empty phrase. Judge for yourself, it is a new platform Socket LGA2011-v3, and as a result the flagship chipset Intel X99. The key features were introduced in one of our previous reports. Also the user will have a very impressive list of technologies, such as support of DDR4-memory, interface Turbo M.2, a large number of lines PCI Express 3.0 and several other features. MSI has extended rich platform of gaming network controllers and high-quality sound systems, having packed all these items in a motherboard with excellent design.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

The specs:

Producer

MSI

Model

X99S GAMING 7 (rev 1.0)

Chipset

Intel X99

CPU socket

Socket LGA2011-v3

CPUs

Intel Core i7 Extreme family Intel Haswell-E

Memory frequency

2133 / 2200* / 2400* / 2600* / 2666* / 2750* / 3000* / 3110* / 3333* MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

8 x DDR4 DIMM- slots with memory support up to 128 GB

Expansion slots

4 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (CPU)

40 lines

28 lines

х16

х16+х16

х16+х16+х8

х16

х16+х8

х8+х8+х8

2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

Disk subsystem

Intel X99 chipset supports:

1 х Turbo M.2 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280)

8 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 x SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2205 (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Realtek ALC1150

7.1-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

1x24-pin ATX main power connector

1x8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

3 х system fan slots (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on the chipset

Aluminum radiators on power subsystem elements

External I/O

1 х PS/2 (mouse or keyboard connection)

1 x LAN (RJ45)

8 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

5 x audio jacks

1 х optical S/PDIF Out

1 x button «Clear CMOS»

Internal I/O

2 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

2 x USB 2.0 USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

8 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express, compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s

1 х Turbo M.2

1 х socket TPM

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x button «Power»

1 x button «Reboot»

1 x button «OC Genie»

1 x CMOS reset

1 x socket Direct audio

1 x switch «Multi-BIOS»

1 x switch «Audio Power»

BIOS

AMI UEFI BIOS

2 x 128 Мb

PnP, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc

6 x SATA cables

2 х bridge NVIDIA SLI

1 x set MSI M-Connector

1 x door hanger

1 х sticker MSI GAMING

1 х interface panel plug

1 х cable Direct audio

Form factor,

Dimensions

ATX

305 х 244 mm

Producer website

MSI
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Packaging and content

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Packing of motherboard MSI X99S GAMING 7 traditionally is made of thick and high-quality cardboard, decorated in printing in the corporate style of lineup MSI GAMING. On the front side, besides the name of the manufacturer and model of the device also is noted a network controller Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2205 and technology Audio Boost 2.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

On the reverse side there is a description of the key features and supported technologies:

  • Audio Boost 2 - sound in addition to the flagship codec Realtek ALC1150 includes special audio capacitors of Nichicon Company, two channel amplifier TI OPA1652 with the support of studio headphones with impedance up to 600 Ohms, as well as gold-plated audio outputs on the interface panel and case for protection against electromagnetic interference. Also note a nice bonus in the form of shielding strips with LED-backlit separating the part of PCB with audio subsystem from the other components.
  • Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2205 is a network controller that has the ability to automatically detect game traffic and raise its priority in relation to low-level system traffic, providing you with the lowest delay during transmission of the game data.
  • USB Audio Power - USB ports on the interface panel maintain a stable supply voltage of 5 V, which will be useful for connecting external audio amplifier.
  • Multi-GPU - motherboard has support of technologies AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI for combining computing power of several graphics cards.
  • Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 2 – due to this technology the quality of sound in games and when playing multimedia content are significantly improved.
  • Turbo M.2 (M.2 GEN3 x4) - motherboard supports drives with interface M.2 at speeds up to 32 Gb/s by using four lines of standard PCI Express 3.0.
  • XSplit – together with motherboard there is a code for free use of software XSplit for six months, which is intended to carry broadcasts of gameplay on Twitch, YouTube, UStream and other services.

Additionally we note the technologies which did not fit the description on the packaging:

  • Military Class 4 – there are only high quality components such as solid capacitors Dark CAP with increased to 10 years lifetime, SFC chokes with ferrite core, as well as capacitors Hi-c CAP with a tantalum core which are characterized by high energy efficiency and compact sizes, so they do not interfere with the installation of overall cooling systems.
  • GUARD-PRO - the use of high quality components, multilayer printed circuit board and a series of protective chip leads to increased protection against humidity, high temperatures, electrostatic discharge and electromagnetic interference. Besides technology MSI ECO POWER together with proprietary software ECO Center allows physically disable unused circuits to reduce energy consumption.
  • Gaming Device Port - USB 2.0 ports and PS/2 increase to three times the volume of the gold coating, therefore have greater reliability and durability. They are also optimized for manipulators with high sampling frequency (from 500 to 1000 Hz), thereby reducing the response time of 8 to 1 millisecond.
  • OC Genie 4 - automatic overclocking function which is activated by pressing a button on the circuit board or the supplied software.
  • EMI I/O Shielding - interface panel plug is made of high quality aluminum and is equipped with special shock-absorbing layer and the steel cover for greater reliability.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Package MSI X99S GAMING 7 in addition to the standard documentation and a disk with drivers and utilities includes:

  • six SATA cables;
  • two bridges NVIDIA SLI;
  • power cord Direct audio;
  • set M-Connector (significantly simplifies connecting the front panel of the computer);
  • plug of the interface board;
  • the label on the system unit with the logo of series MSI GAMING;
  • cardboard hanger with logo of series and inscriptions: "I’m sorry busy gaming" and " I'm Not Here".

Design and features of the board

MSI X99S GAMING 7

The novelty is performed on a black with a matte finish circuit board. Thanks to the combination of the original radiators, made in the style of a third-generation of lineup MSI GAMING with red inserts, with the overall interior of dark color, even after a quick glance at the motherboard it becomes clear that its designs took a lot of time during developing.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Some items may boast of backlight which will help to quickly identify them in the dark. They include buttons on the PCB, CMOS reset button on the interface panel, and of course the area of the PCB with the audio subsystem. In this case, the button "Power" and «OC Genie» (pressed) and glow when the system is off, the button «CMOS reset» on the interface panel only when the system is off, and the remaining elements are illuminated only during the operation of the PC.

Talking about the layout of on-board components and building of the system based on MSI X99S GAMING 7, it is worth to note that all is performed at the highest level and have no claims. The set of delivery includes kit M-Connector, which simplifies the process of the front panel connection.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

The reverse side of the device contains traditional support plate of processor socket, fastening screws of cooling radiators, as well as low-profile radiator on support elements.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, TPM port, two of three sockets for connection of system fans, button “Power”, “Reboot”, “OC Genie” and two modules of front panel connection as well as switch between two chips with BIOS firmware.  Do note two modules for connection of USB 2.0 interfaces. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is six: four are internal and two on the interface panel.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

A special attention is given to a socket for connection of supplied cable Direct audio, which is used for direct power supply to the audio subsystem. Also here is a power mode switch between standard and “Direct audio power”.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7

The capability of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by socket Turbo M.2 (support of SSD-drives of formats M.2 2242, 2260 and 2280), eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports as well as one SATA Express which is compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s. There is a support of SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.

Due to the lack of free chipset lines, connector Turbo M.2 shares bandwidth with port SATA Express. Therefore, in the case of connection M.2-drive these interfaces will not be available.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7 is equipped with eight DIMM-slots for memory modules of standard DDR4, which for convenience are equipped with latches on one side only. RAM can operate maximum in four-channel mode. Modules operate at frequencies to 2133 MHz in the nominal mode and up to 3333 MHz is overclocked mode are supported. Maximum memory capacity may be up to 128 GB which is enough for almost any tasks.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Also note the two modules for connection of remote panels with USB 3.0 ports on the right side of the PCB. In this case, the base of one of them id painted in red color, indicating support of technology MSI Super Charger used to accelerate the charging of connected devices. Total number of ports USB 3.0 is six: two on the interface panel and four are internal. Six additional USB 3.0 connectors on the interface panel work thanks to two controllers: ASMedia ASM1042 and VIA VL805.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Cooling system of the product includes two aluminum radiators: one for heat removal from chipset Intel X99 while the other covers elements of power subsystem. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 33.9°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 38.1°C.

As you can see, the preinstalled cooling system has good performance, thus creating a good start for overclocking the system.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Processor power supply is performed via 8-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ISL6388. The circuitry is collected by high-quality components which in accordance to corporate design Military Class 4 are certified according military standard MIL-STD-810G. They include: solid capacitors Dark CAP, chokes SFC and capacitors Hi-c CAP. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.    

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Opportunities to extend the functionality of the motherboard are represented by the following slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode x16 or x8);
  2. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  3. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode x16 or x8);
  4. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  5. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (mode x8);
  6. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode x8).

Despite the presence of four slots PCI Express x16, motherboard supports only three graphics cards. All four slots are connected to the processor and share 40 or 28 lines of standard PCI Express 3.0 (depending on the model of installed CPU). Lines can be shared according one of the following schemes.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

In turn, the slots PCI Express 2.0 x1 may be used for other expansion cards.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Multi I/O capabilities are based on NUVOTON NCT6792D chip which controls the operation of system fans, PS/2 port and provides the monitoring.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

To support network connection there is gigabit LAN-controller Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2205 which has several software and hardware advantages for the prioritization of gaming and multimedia traffics.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Correct operation of six additional USB 3.0 ports is provided by two controllers: VIA VL805 and ASMedia ASM1042AE.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Sound subsystem of MSI X99S GAMING 7 has a rather interesting design called “Audio Boost 2”. It is based on the flagship 7.1-channel HDA-codec Realtek ALC1150 which supports audio formats 2/4/5.1/7.1. It works in tandem with two channel amplifier TI OPA1652 which can support the work of headphones with an impedance of 600 Ohms. Also here are high quality audio Nichicon capacitors, direct supply audio path technology (MSI Direct Audio Power), gold-plated audio connectors and shielding technology to protect against electromagnetic interference. Soft fine-tuning of the sound quality performs software Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 2.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Interface panel of model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 8 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 х USB 2.0;
  • 1 х PS/2 (mouse or keyboard);
  • 1 x button «Clear CMOS»;
  • 1 х optical S/PDIF out;
  • 5 x audio jacks.

Such arrangement can be called excellent, because it has a large number of USB ports, five gold-plated audio jacks for easy connection of multi-channel speakers, as well as support of ports Gaming Device Port for connection of gaming mouse or keyboard.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Motherboard MSI X99S GAMING 7 has five connectors for fans connection: two are used for Power of CPU cooling system fans, and the other three to connect the system fans. All connectors in accordance with modern requirements are 4-pin that allows you to control speed of connected fan by PWM method.

UEFI BIOS

MSI X99S GAMING 7

The model uses a proprietary preloader ClickBIOS 4 based on the interface UEFI. It features by an attractive graphical interface and convenient process of making changes to the settings.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Options required for fine tuning of the system are grouped in the section «OC».

MSI X99S GAMING 7

If necessary this section provides an access to the voltage control on the various components.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

As you can see there is a support to save the custom BIOS settings in six different profiles, as well as an option to download the desired profile with USB-drive.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Frequency of memory can be changed in the range from 1333 to 2666 MHz.

MSI X99S GAMING 7

If necessary you can get the access to memory delay adjustments.

Adjustments required to overclock and optimize the system:

Parameter

Menu name

Range

Pitch

System bus frequency

CPU Base Clock

90,0 – 300,0

0,04

CPU multiplier

CPU Ratio

8 – MAX

1

 

Ring Ratio

8 – MAX

1

RAM frequency

DRAM Frequency

1333 – 2666

 

RAM timing

Timing Configuration

tCL, tRCD, tRP, tRAS, tRFC, tREFI, tWR, tWTR, tRRD, tRTP, tFAW, tWCL, tCKE

 

 

VR 12VIN OCP Expander

1 – 63

1

 

CPU Vdroop Offset Control

+25% - +100%

25%

 

CPU Over Voltage Protection

130 – 530

 

 

CPU Under Voltage Protection

130 – 490

 

CPU Over Current Protection

110% – 160%

10%

 

CPU Switching Frequency

395 – 2000

 

 

CPU VRM Over Temperature Protection

85 – 120

 

 

VCCIN Voltage

1,200 – 3,040

0,001

CPU voltage

CPU Core Voltage

0,800 – 2,100

0,001

 

CPU Ring Voltage

0,800 – 2,100

0,001

System agent voltage

CPU SA Voltage

0,800 – 1,850

0,001

 

CPU VCCIO Voltage

0,700 – 2,300

0,010

RAM modules voltage

DRAM CH_A/B Voltage

0,600 – 2,800

0,010

DRAM CH_C/D Voltage

0,600 – 2,800

0,010

DRAM CH_A/B VPP Voltage

1,240 – 3,770

0,010

DRAM CH_C/D VPP Voltage

1,240 – 3,770

0,010

DRAM CH_A/B VREF Voltage

0,120 – 1,235

0,005

DRAM CH_C/D VREF Voltage

0,120 – 1,235

0,005

1.05 V Voltage

PCH 1.05 Voltage

0,700 – 2,320

0,050

1.5 V Voltage

PCH 1.5 Voltage

0,800 – 2,300

0,050

 

Long Duration Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

 

Long Duration Maintained

1 – 56

1

 

Short Duration Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

 

DRAM CH_A/B Over Voltage Protection

150 – 500

50

 

DRAM CH_A/B Under Voltage Protection

150 – 500

50

 

DRAM CH_A/B Switching Frequency

375 – 625

125

 

DRAM CH_A/B Over Temperature Protection

135 – 150

1

 

DRAM CH_C/D Over Voltage Protection

150 – 500

50

 

DRAM CH_C/D Under Voltage Protection

150 – 500

50

 

DRAM CH_C/D Switching Frequency

375 – 625

125

 

DRAM CH_C/D Over Temperature Protection

135 – 150

1

 

CPU Current Limit

30 - 1024

1

MSI X99S GAMING 7

Section “Hardware Monitor” opens the access for monitoring the temperature of the processor and chipset, as well as speed of installed fan. Additionally you can manually set the required fan blades rotation speed. Additionally you can monitor the voltage on the core processor, chipset, memory modules and power lines +12 V, +5 V and +3.3 V. Also you can take screenshots in BIOS.


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