MSI X299 Gaming M7 ACK
Lots of speed, but with a potential side of shenanigans.
The MSI offerings have been the surprise competitors in this roundup, with leading performance metrics in our labs testing. However, we suspect this may be due to BIOS-level tweaking increasing the all-core performance of the Core i9-7900X test sample. This behaviour is indicative of the performance gaps between the MSI offerings and competitors in tests such as the Cinebench R115 multi-threaded test and 3DMark physics.
It has been a long time since we’ve seen such a broad performance differentiation across a roundup of ‘ boards all utilising the same chipset and hardware. Sadly, due to several constraints, we were unable to get clarity on this subject before going to print. However, it wasn’t the only set of results that drew a second look along with re-testing — for instance, the outlying NVMe sequential (Q31T1) read bandwidth demonstrated by the ASRock X299 Taichi versus all other competitors.
Sporting a monochrome aesthetic with metallic highlights, the M7 ACK does well to allow the integrated RGB illumination to compliment the overall industrial design.
The dual M.2 ports receive a heatsink cover extending from the PCH heatsink with two pronged heatsinks to wick heat away from hammered NVMe SSDs. From a practical perspective the solution requires the removal of any GPUs to access the M.2 ports.
The BIOS didn’t have the same level of refinement as we experienced with the ASUS and Gigabyte boards, but it was clearly enough to pump out the results.