👤by David Mitchelson Comments 📅19-06-17

There is no shortage of models to choose from when you cast an eye over the new Intel X299 range. Choosing the right model may seem like quite a daunting task but hopefully we’ll point you in the right direction – for users looking for a good blend of gaming features and enthusiast-grade options then the MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC is definitely one to pop onto the short list.

Along with the sleek, neutral design which this board is adorned with, MSI are placing lots of emphasis on a new feature to be implemented with this next-gen range of motherboards – swappable covers. The covers which sit over the heatsinks, rear IO and audio components can all be interchanged with the plastic fascias which are included in the packaging bundle. This also opens the door to more possibilities because if you own a 3D printer then different designs can be created for a modified and truly unique configuration. We’re actually surprised this type of feature hasn’t hit the market already!

To add further customisation to the motherboard, MSI has also kitted X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC with Mystic Light RGB LEDs and RGB headers for users to add in their own strips.

Across the motherboard there is no shortage of trademark MSI features – including the usual DDR4 Boost, Audio Boost 4, and VR READY/BOOST. Beyond this, we have functionality which is like to be of use by more advanced users such as LED Debug, OC buttons and dual-BIOS, since this is also aimed at gamers, overclocking tools like voltage checkpoints are reserved for models higher up in the product stack.

Storage is one particular aspect which is abundant – we get three different standards to choose from – U.2, M.2 and SATA 3 6GB/s. U.2 and M.2 both support PCI Express x4 Gen 3 which will allow you to maximise the storage bandwidth within your system. Not all vendors are offering U.2 at this price point so this is certainly something to watch out for if you do happen to be using such a drive.

In terms of performance, X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC offers consistently good performance – showing no signs of weakness. This motherboard is able to nudge up the performance of the CPU to an admirable level when overclocking even though overclocking isn’t really the intended forte.

For launch, this motherboard has been given a price-tag of £330 GBP / $358 USD which highlights just how expensive this platform is compared to Intel X99. We do get lots of customisation, a good helping of features but these figures are what we’d expect for a flagship model.

Armed with a multitude of features – including 802.11ac functionality, X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC offers great performance and the option to create a unique identity!

+ Desirable neutral theme
+ Features interchangeable heatsink covers
+ RGB customisation & headers
+ Excellent performance
+ Good overclocking features
+ Comes with 802.11ac WiFi
+ Arrives with USB 3.1 front header
+ U.2, M.2 and SATA storage
+ M.2 feature thermal shields
+ Uses strengthened PCI Express/memory slots
+ Advanced enthusiast features: LED Debug, OC button, dual BIOS
+ Good audio solution

- Expensive
- Sill hosting USB 2.0 ports
- Poor positioning of top M.2 slot
- Needs more fan headers

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