The MSI X299 SLI Plus is one of the first wave of motherboards to support Intel’s Core X-Series CPUs. The motherboard straddles the business and consumer markets, capable of being the foundation of a hip professional workstation or a home-use gaming ultra-PC.
Intel’s X299 platform is an appealing choice to consumers requiring high core count CPUs and plentiful system memory. Yet an X299 system build can get seriously expensive with the motherboard comprising a large share of that expense. MSI’s X299 SLI Plus motherboard proves that getting onto X299 needn’t be as expensive as you might think.
The SLI Plus range of MSI motherboards is a brand that aims for a low-cost price point, but uses the overclocking chipset to aim for the entry level of performance-per-dollar while still retaining all the key chipset features as well as a number of aesthetics. These boards are geared up for almost anyone: gamers, users, professionals, all of whom do not want extra 'fluff' and can provide their own controllers. These boards still use good quality components, and they are not completely stripped down, but it is usually clear that the SLI Plus often has a lower profit margin than some other boards.
The X299 SLI Plus motherboard is equipped with four USB 2.0, four USB 3.0, and two USB 3.1 ports to access printers, external storage drives, and other useful USB devices. The two USB 3.1 ports transfer data at rate of up to 10 Gb/s, and one of them features a USB Type-C design for easy connections with a USB-C cable. Two Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports are on board to deliver a secure, stable, and fast network connection. Other notable connections include one PS/2 combo port and six audio jacks, powered by a Realtek ALC1220 audio processor. This motherboard comes with an internal USB 3.1 Type-C header, which connects to your case's front-panel USB Type-C port, and a Thunderbolt 3 header for a user-supplied Thunderbolt 3 add-on card. There are also two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots for adding expansion port cards and NICs.
The X299 SLI Plus has a tame, cloudy-black theme that lets the motherboard’s LEDs do all the talking. The board isn’t as brightly lit as some we’ve seen recently, so whether you like this design depends on what you want from your PC. If you’re building a workstation for an office that values style, the X299 SLI Plus will fit right in. The LEDs give the board a little spice without venturing into overkill territory.
The X299 SLI Plus features eight memory slots and an army of power phases, so the top half of the motherboard is necessarily crowded. That said, MSI did a nice job of keeping components away from the CPU socket. We tried several liquid coolers and tower coolers on the X299 SLI Plus without any interference, even from our bulky memory modules.
- Supports Intel® Core™ X-Series Processor Family for LGA2066 Socket
- Support Quad Channel DDR4-4133(OC)+, Dual Channel DDR4-4500(OC)+
- Dual Intel® LAN: The best solution for both Intranet and Internet through hardware design and bandwidth management offering the lowest latency.
- M.2 SHIELD: Keep M.2 SSDs safe while preventing throttling, making them run cooler & faster.
- DDR4 BOOST: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost.
- Designed for Extreme Performance: TURBO SOCKET with OC Genie 4, DIGITALL POWER Design
- Lightning Fast Experience: TWIN TURBO M.2 and Intel® Optane Memory Ready, Turbo U.2, LIGHTNING USB 3.1 GEN2
- MYSTIC LIGHT: 7 mixed color schemes / 8 LED effects controlled in one click
- SYSTEM SAVER: 3 easy-to-use options to successfully boot your system again.
- AUDIO BOOST 4: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality for the most immersive audio experience
- MULTI-GPU: With STEEL ARMOR PCI-E slots. Supports 3-way NVIDIA SLI™ / AMD Crossfire™
- VR READY: Best virtual reality experience without latency, reduces motion sickness
- EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot
LGA 2066 Socket
The LGA 2066 socket supports Intel Core X-series processors that sport four, six, and higher core counts. With different core counts from X-Series processors, this motherboard is able to accommodate quad- or dual-memory configurations. The X-Series processors can have up to 44 PCIe lanes to provide performance to the motherboard's PCIe slots.
Intel X299 Chipset
The Intel X299 chipset provides USB 3.0 ports, SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and other essential features for a computer system.
For a motherboard that’s near the bottom of MSI’s X299 range the SLI Plus is a surprisingly competent, well built and well equipped. Connectivity is a strong point of Intel’s X299 platform and MSI does a good job to harness it with copious amounts of USB and storage connectivity as well as dual Gigabit Ethernet connections.
Incidentally, the cheaper MSI X299 RAIDER is lacking in most of these pverclocking and diagnostic features hence why the MSI X299 SLI Plus tends to be a better choice for a fairly small increase in cost.
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