MSI X399 Gam­ing Pro Car­bon AC

Rip those threads

PCPOWERPLAY - - Tech - BEN­NETT RING

NPRICE $ 639 www.msi.com.au ow that AMD’s Ryzen Thread­rip­per is tear­ing up tasks with its 16 cores and 32 threads, we’re start­ing to see more com­pat­i­ble X399 moth­er­boards with the requisite TR4 socket hit store shelves. The lat­est is MSI’s X399 Gam­ing Pro Car­bon AC, and it de­liv­ers every­thing a Thread­rip­per owner could need with­out charg­ing the Earth.

This an ATX moth­er­board that comes with four full length PCIe x16 lanes and twin sin­gle length PCIe x1 lane. Thanks to the X399’s vast PCIe 3.0 lane count, MSI has been able to in­cluded three M.2 SSD slots, each one nes­tled be­tween the full-length PCIe lanes. They all come with a heat­shield, but only the cen­tre one will take the long­est SSDs, with the other two lim­ited to 2280 form fac­tor.

Like most high-end boards, there’s no need to in­stall the I/ O cover dur­ing in­stall, as it’s al­ready mounted. It cov­ers a mass of USB ports, w ith eight Gen 1 type A, one Gen 2 Type C and one Gen 2 Type A. If you’ve got pe­riph­er­als, this board can han­dle them all. There’s also an­other header for ex­tra USB ports if you need even more. Along­side these is a clear CMOS but­ton along with a BIOS flash­back but­ton, as well as five 3.5mm stereo mini­jacks and a sin­gle S/PDIF out­put.

These au­dio ports are pow­ered by MSI’s ‘Au­dio Boost 4’ so­lu­tion, but there’s no men­tion of which Real­tek codec it’s based on. We’re guess­ing it’s the lat­est ver­sion though, as the ver­sion 3 of this so­lu­tion used the Real­tek ALC1150. As with ev­ery other moth­er­board man­u­fac­turer, MSI has loaded with this high-end amps and ca­pac­i­tors to en­sure the clean­est sound, and also ex­clu­sively uses Nahimic 2 soft­ware to de­ploy vir­tual sur­round and al­low for dif­fer­ent sound pro­files. It’s also loaded to the brim with dif­fer­ent RGB light­ing zones, which MSI calls the ‘Mys­tic’ light­ing sys­tem, and works with most com­pet­ing light­ing so­lu­tions.

An In­tel Gi­ga­bit LAN port is used f or con­nec­tiv­ity, but there’s no in­te­grated Wi-Fi, a shame at this pric e point. MSI in­cludes its own QoS soft­ware to en­sure game and video traf­fic ge ts the lion’s share of the band­width. When it comes to over­clock­ing, this board has a su­perb range of f ea­tures. On­board power and re­set but­tons are in­cluded, next to the ro­tat­ing dial that au­to­mat­i­cally ad­justs the CPU mul­ti­plier. When com­pared to the Asus board used in our ini­tial test­ing of the X399, the MSI X399 Gam­ing Pro Car­bon AC came out on top by

when it comes to over­clock­ing, this board has a su­perb range of fea­tures

around 5%. Un­for­tu­nately we didn’t have time to test over­clock­ing, but we’re con­fi­dent it’ll do well given MSI’s rep­u­ta­tion.

At just $640, this board is very af­ford­able for such a pow­er­ful plat­form. It just goes to show that when AMD steps up to the plate, huge ad­vances in price ver­sus per­for­mance can be made, and the MSI X399 Gam­ing Pro Car­bon AC is a fine ex­am­ple.

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