Today we had an opportunity to look at another motherboard in the MSI lineup. Instead of coming from the Enthusiast, Performance, or Arsenal line of products, the MSI X299 SLI Plus hails from their Professional line of motherboards. The SLI Plus is often cited as a low-cost, 'meets almost everyone's needs' type of board, and previous iterations have worked well in the past. We put it on the test bed for a thorough inspection.
MSI has produced some great-looking motherboards over the years, and while the X299 SLI Plus isn't up there with the very best, it's still an attractive piece of kit. The black-and-silver colour scheme will suit a wide range of builds, and the VRM and PCH heatsinks are outfitted with 'Mystic Light' illumination allowing for a choice of colours or effects. The lighting is nice and subtle - albeit partly obscured when a graphics card and large CPU cooler are installed - but if we're nitpicking we don't like the fact that the LED power cable can be seen snaking out from underneath the heatsinks.
On board wireless networking isn’t available, which is a little surprising, considering that the board is aimed at pros. On the other hand, you have that pair of M.2 connectors, should you want to pick up a wireless card in the M.2 form factor. And with dual Gigabit LAN controllers from Intel, wired networking is handled in spades.
The CPU area on the X299 SLI Plus is quite clean and spacious considering a X299 platform that supports quad channel memory layout. While everything seems to be in place the odd thing you'll notice is the CMOS battery placement which usually rests between the PCIe slots, this is done to make more space in the PCIe area and make room for a fourth full size PCIe slot.
It has non reinforced DIMM slots to cut cost and these support 128GB of DDR4 memory in total working at 4133+ in quad channel and 4500+ in dual channel mode! Since the Intel Core X CPU lineup consists of Kabylake X CPUs aswell its a point worth mentioning that if using a Kabylake X CPU the motherboard would not only have lesser number of PCIe lanes but will also not support quad channel memory configuration which is only supported by Skylake X CPUs! So it won't be a brainer to opt for a Skylake X CPU over a Kabylake X CPU on the X299 platform infact Intel should like consider scrapping off the entire Kabylake X lineup to save everyone from unnecessary confusion.
For those that plan to go dual-GPU, there's enough space to offer a reasonable amount of clearance between two cards for decent air-cooling, too, while the layout means that the lower 16x PCIe slot should be usable even with two dual-slot cards installed.
- Chipset Intel X299
- Form factor ATX
- CPU support Intel Socket LGA 2066 (Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X)
- Memory support Quad-channel, four slots, max 128GB
- Sound Eight-channel Realtek ALC1220
- Networking 2 x Intel Gigabit Ethernet
- Ports 2 x M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 32Gbps (1 x PCIe/SATA 6Gbps up to 2280, 1 x PCIe up to 22110), 8 x SATA 6Gbps, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1 header, 6 x USB 3.0 (2 via headers), 6 x USB 2.0 (2 via header), 2 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, Optical S/PDIF out
- Dimensions (mm) 305 x 244
- Extras M.2 Heatsink
To view full Specifications visit the website: