Our first look at MSI X299 offerings arrived in the form of a mid-range board from the Arsenal Gaming series, the Tomahawk Arctic. The Tomahawk line of motherboards, MSI says, have heavy plated heatsinks and "combative looks ready for anything". It uses MSI's branded 'Military Class VI' components and has features for gamers aimed to improve their gaming experience.
The X299 Tomahawk Arctic looks fabulous with its generous helping of white, from the PCB to the DIMM slots and I/O shroud. The contrast with the metal CPU socket and steel-clad DIMM slots and PCIe slots looks great, so if you're after an icy clean look for your build then we can't think of too many other options for Intel's high-end desktop platform at the moment.
If you're planning to build a system around one of Intel's new Kaby Lake-X or Skylake-X processors, some of which went up for preorder today, you'll need a new motherboard based on Intel's LGA 2066 socket. One such option is MSI's new X299 Tomahawk Arctic.
Built for "ice-cold domination," the X299 Tomahawk Arctic is essentially a white and gray-themed X299 Tomahawk with plenty of cooling potential. The motherboard is outfitted with six fan headers and offers full fan control through the BIOS and software. Either way, you can configure four temperature targets for the CPU and motherboard, and the fan speeds will adjust automatically based on your parameters.
Overall, the CPU performance on the X299 Tomahawk AC was above average, managing to beat out comparable boards in some tests due to the use of Multi-Core Enhancement although some tests were more affected by MCE than others, as well as different tests to other MSI boards. We are not entirely sure why this happened as the testing used the exact same settings and drivers. Even turbo/clock speeds were the same in both tests, so it might be related to how the board ramps up and down the frequency on the local environment at the time. Boot times were in the middle of the pack, while power use was slightly higher than the previous boards tested. Overclocking results were the same as our other high-end motherboard tests, with our i9-7900X hitting 4.5 GHz at our temperature limit. The voltage needed to reach the clocks was slightly less, though not enough to push past our current temperature limited clock speeds. The small variance could also be due to software since the board does not have voltage read points to confirm with a digital multi-meter.
The Tomahawk gives users almost the full gamut of storage connectivity. There are six SATA ports, two M.2 slots, and one U.2 port. The two M.2 slots go through the chipset, and sends the data through the same path as the eight SATA ports to do so. With that, when using M.2 SATA devices, some SATA ports will be disabled. The U.2 port and the third PCIe slot are switched, meaning only one can be used at once. There are many options and many outcomes when using these devices. It is explained in more detail later in the review, as well as all the details are found in the manual (p32).
- Chipset Intel X299
- Form factor ATX
- CPU support Intel Socket LGA 2066 (Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X)
- Memory support Quad-channel, eight slots, max 128GB
- Sound Eight-channel Realtek ALC 1220
- Networking 1 x Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet
- Ports 1 x U.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 32Gbps, 2 x M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 32Gbps (1 x PCIe/SATA 6Gbps up to 2280, 1 x PCIe/SATA 6Gbps 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, 8 x USB 3.0 (4 via headers), 7 x USB 2.0 (4 via header), 1 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, Optical S/PDIF out
- Dimensions (mm) 305 x 244
- Extras N/A
To view full Specifications visit the website: