MSI X99S Xpower AC – Taking Haswell E performance to the next level!

Overview of the MSI X99S XPOWER AC

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The packaging for the XPOWER is something we are used to at this point with the large yellow X design. but with a foil effect it helps bring a little more style to the presentation. Flip open front offers a glimpse of the board along with some key feature info. and lastly the rear offers some detail spec info;

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Here we see all of the accessories we get with the MSI Z87 Gaming:

  • User Manuals
  • Installation Discs
  • WiFi Antennae
  • Quick Front panel Connectors
  • EZ Voltage Checkpoint Cables
  • OC Delid Die Guard
  • OC Backplate
  • eSATA IO Bracket and Cables
  • SATA Cables
  • Cable ID Labels
  • SLI Ribbons
  • IO Shield
  • MSI OC Series Decal
  • MSI Xpower 8GB USB 3.0 Pen Drive
  • OC Fan Stand

The XPOWER bundle has pretty much everything you could ever imagine for getting the board hooked up and running or even benching.

 

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Here you can see the complete board. As usual keeping connectors at boards edge to ensure effortless cable management and always scores some points. The color scheme is XPOWER all the way with the mostly stealth black PCB with black heatsinks and bright yellow highlights.

 

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The slot layout is solid for pretty much any benching adventure allowing up to 4 way card setups or pretty much any configuration you could imagine. The lower board edge also offer a 4 Pin PATA connector which supplies the supplemental power to the GPU slots.

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The memory section is capable of up to 128GB of DDR4 memory via its 8 DIMM slots and speeds can go in excess of 3000MHz+ depending on module capability and density.

The center of the board holds a stylized and backlit midboard heatsink which lights up with the XPOWER name which will show nice in a windowed case build.

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The rear IO is quite stuffed with connectivity options:
  • PS2 combo keyboard/mouse port
  • 2x USB 2.0 Ports
  • WiFi Antennae connectors
  • Clear CMOS Button
  • Optical SPDIF connector
  • 10x USB 3.0 ports
  • 2x Intel Gigabit LAN ports
  • up to 7.1 Channel HD audio via Realtek ALC1150

The connectivity of the XPOWER has lots of options offering Optical S/PDIF out and full audio connectivity via the audio Boost 2 ports with even a dedicated headset jack. Add to this the multitude of high-speed USB 3.0 and extremely fast WiFi AC and it makes an awesome combo.

 

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For storage the XPOWER offers 8 right angled ports two of which are part of the SATA Express array. the other two PCH ports are vertically mounted on the lower edge of the board next to the Direct USB port.

 

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The XPOWER has the OC bench controls at the top right so that even if fully populated with cards you can still access your power/reset/OC and even the voltage probe points to ensure you have full control over your system when you need it.

The lower Right hand edge has 2x SATA ports, Direct USB and even a USB 3.0 20 pin header to ensure maximum connectivity and convenience.

The M.2 port offers up to full X4 PCIe Gen 3 support for a massive amount of bandwidth that really just makes me wish we had a drive in existence that could exploit that much bandwidth. You can fit up to a 2280 Size drive similar to the Plextor 512GB we used for testing.

 

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On the lower left edge of the board, there is a wealth of components in place including a high quality amp being fed by top quality Nichicon audio Caps. The Audio Boost 2 solution is a great sounding gaming grade audio implementation and really helps bridge the gap for gamers who don’t want to get a discreet card but want very good audio performance.

 

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Here is the VRM area, as you can see the same Military Class components are put to work here with a full 12 Phase power section at work to power your CPU and feed it plenty of juice. We know from testing that the Haswell CPU can pull some serious amperage when under load so its good to know you have plenty of power on tap.
The VRM is fed with a 8 pin EPS and 8 pin supplemental should you find yourself pushing it hard enough to need the extra juice.

BIOS Overview

Click BIOS 4

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MSI has updated the Click BIOS again now to Click BIOS 4 which is quite the update as you can see above. There are definite improvements in the feel of the BIOS as it feels more fluid when using it but also there are some new features as well.
One of the nice features would be the fan control which is actually really nice as you can set fan profiles and even ramping via a multi point graph within the UEFI.
Also another would be the Board Explorer which has a visual layout of the board and areas where things are plugged in or attached are highlighted where you can mouse over them and it will even tell you the device ID which is really cool just for the simple fact you don’t need to trace a SATA cable anymore to see which one goes from which drive to the board.

Review Overview

Performance - 9
Value - 9
Quality - 8.5
Features - 9
Innovation - 8.5

8.8

The MSI XPOWER is built for extreme performance and it doesnt just perform well but looks awesome while doing it.

User Rating: Be the first one !

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