MSI's AM4 Motherboards @ CES Leaked: Exclusive Images
Fancy getting a sweet early look at a couple of upcoming motherboards for AMD AM4 CPUs before they've been officially announced? Then look no further, two of these design have been leaked ahead of tomorrows public unveiling due to a loose cannon with a camera squirrelling their way onto the show floor, and we have the pictures!
The motherboards in question are the two distinctive designs from MSI's gaming range, the premium X370 XPOWER TITANIUM GAMING and slightly more mainstream but still well equipped B350 TOMAHAWK.
X370 XPOWER TITANIUM GAMING
We've had the pleasure of putting a few MSI XPOWER motherboards under the microscope, so it's great to see AMD's upcoming performance motherboard chipset get the treatment. MSI's TITANIUM livery is just as striking as ever, and the 'board itself looks feature-packed.
A zoomed in short of the business end of the TITANIUM GAMING reveals a few more of the motherboards secrets. Interestingly there's support for a bevvy of NVMe storage options, including two M.2 slots and a U.2 port (labelled TURBO U.2, perhaps indicating a bandwidth boost of some description). The header at the bottom-right is for USB3.1 front panel devices, and although they're still rare the feature does serve to future-proof the platform.
Two reinforced PCI-Express X16 slots strongly infer 2-way GPU support, which is no surprise. An AUX 6-Pin PCI-Express power connector should also supply additional juice to heavily overclocked, and perhaps even LN2-cooled GPUs. Speaking off coolling, the 'board features at least six 4-pin fan headers, which will go a long way towards serving the needs of air and water enthusiasts alike.
Display output options, if they're a factor, are limited to a single HDMI output due to the pretty safe assumption that discrete graphics will be the solution of choice. That's in contrast to the B350 Tomahawk, which has pretty comprehensive output options including DVI and legacy VGA.
The new Tomahawk for Socket AM4 CPUs utilises the AMD B350 chipset, which is a more mainstream design that's ideal for gaming without blowing the bank. You'll note that there are fewer VRMs than the X370 XPOWER TITANIUM GAMING, which indicates lesser scope for overclocking, but we'd be very surprised were it not a part of the motherboards capabilities.
In fact, the apparent feature set of the Tomahawk is akin to that of the XPOWER, just not taken to quite a ludicrous extent. NVMe storage options exist but are limited to a single M.2 slot (still full-length), with no support for U.2. Fewer SATA ports are in evidence aswell, and there's no USB 3.1 front panel header. As already mentioned however the Tomahawk has a full complement of display outputs, operating under the assumption that both on-board graphics and discrete graphics could be important to the user.
MSI have chosen to reinforce one sixteen lane PCI-Express slot, which is a nice premium feature trickling down to mainstream gaming. Although it may support multi-GPU configurations, the B350 Tomahawk (and by extension all B350-chipset motherboards?) is clearly anticipated to operate with only one discrete GPU.
One final feature of note is support for legacy PCI slots. That seems a little odd in 2017, and we'd love to hear MSI's reasoning behind their inclusion. Still, they're not at all crippling the design by including them as you will have plenty of expansion card options available should you need them.
Detailed specifications including the DDR4 speeds supported and broader feature set won't be available until the unveiling, but this sneak peek has been plenty to whet our appetite.