Along with all the other major motherboard vendors, MSI launched a few refreshed X99 based motherboards for Intel's Broadwell-E launch. MSI's X99A Gaming Pro Carbon isn't their top of the line X99-refresh motherboard, but it does carry many of MSI's latest features and aesthetic enhancements. Like MSI's king, the X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON, the X99A Gaming Pro Carbon features carbon fiber themed heat sinks and RGB LEDs to illuminate the motherboard exactly to your liking.
So here’s the MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon. It performs well in our benchmark suite, but costs a bit more than a bottom rung X99 motherboard. It has PCIe storage, but you will have to select between M.2 or U.2. It’s designed for systems up to three-GPUs, reinforces the PCIe slots and gives overclocking presets. It provides enhanced audio with PCB separation and filter caps, but then also bundles the Nahimic software.
While everyone agrees that RGB LEDs are now everywhere, their implementation varies considerably depending on the make and model of the product. MSI's original X99A GODLIKE GAMING was ahead of its time in regards to RGB LEDs and independent zone control, something that the X99A Gaming Pro Carbon has inherited. Apart from the RGB LEDs on the motherboard, MSI has also added in x4 PCI-E 3.0 M.2 and U.2 ports to support the latest in storage devices. Without further ado, let's take a look at MSI's X99A Gaming Pro Carbon.
A total of five four-pin fan headers are well spread around the board and include a trio for system fans, one for CPU fan and a dedicated header for a water pump. Onboard power and reset buttons are also available for convenience, as is a well-positioned debug LED, and we like the fact that MSI includes a front USB 3.1 Type-C connector for forward-looking chassis. Last but not least, the Game Boost dial does a good job of simplifying overclocking. Configured with eight incremental profiles, it lets users enable XMP and increase the CPU multiplier at manufacturer-suggested voltages with nothing more than a quick twist.
For storage, the GPC features X99's usual array of 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports. Six are forward-facing on the bottom half of the front edge with the other four along the bottom (two of which function as a SATA Express connector). For PCIe storage, you get a U.2 jack at the bottom front corner and an M.2 slot in the fourth PCIe slot, wisely away from GPU heat. The M.2 supports modules up to 80mm and both are 3.0 x4 and NVMe capable but also share PCIe lanes with the bottom x16 slot. The U.2 is completely disabled if a PCIe card is used in the slot. The M.2 shifts over to chipset lanes if either the PCIe slot or the U.2 is used, meaning 2.0 x2 bandwidth.
The rear I/O panel is well populated, with a PS/2 port, clear CMOS button, and 10 USB ports, four of which are USB 2.0. On the far right are the only true USB 3.1 ports on the board serving up 10Gb/s, one of which is Type-C (remember that the USB 3.0 spec has been officially updated to include everything up through 3.1 Gen1). The single network jack is powered by Intel's I218-V gigabit Ethernet controller. Audio is handled by Realtek's ALC1150 codec with five analog 3.5mm jacks and one TOSLINK. MSI separates the audio circuitry on the PCB layers to shield it from EM interference in what MSI calls Audio Boost 3.
- Chipset Intel X99
- Form factor ATX
- CPU support Intel Socket 2011-v3 (Broadwell-E,Haswell-E, Xeon)
- Memory support Quad-channel, 8 slots, max 128GB
- Sound 8-channel Realtek ALC1150
- Networking Intel's I218V
- Ports 10 x SATA 6Gbps (Z170), 1 x SATA Express 6Gbps, 1 x M.2 (PCI-E 3.0 x4), 1 x U.2, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 9 x USB 3.0 (1 x internal Type-C mid-board, 4 x via header), 8 x USB 2.0 (4 x via header), 1 x LAN, 3 x surround audio out, line in, mic
- Dimensions (mm) 305 x 244
- Extras 4-pin LED strip cable extensions
To view full Specifications visit the website: