Motherboards

MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK Motherboard Review

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DSC_6080Have you ever purchased a product, installed and used it for a while, and said to yourself “Man, I wish it had X (as a feature)”? Not that said product is bad or doesn’t function just that it wasn’t quite as “future proof” as you would have liked. Personally, I like it when features are included that I don’t even know I want yet. MSI has a large product offering when it comes to motherboards each with their own strengths and a tailored set of features for each. MSI’s gaming series, as the name suggests, are geared towards gamers in general. From professional to amateur to the occasional gamer, these motherboards are build for you. Near the top of the motherboard list is the MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK. This motherboard is built for the Intel socket 2011-v3 platform and features DDR4 speeds up to 3333, USB 3.1, x4 M.2 socket, the Killer network DoubleShot Pro, and a dedicated hardware based streaming engine. Manufacturing processes have evolved to a point where performance differences between motherboards of the same class are minute at best. What’s sets one motherboard apart from the others is the features included at a price point.

Review Sample Provided by: MSI
Product Name/Link to Website: MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK
Product was given in exchange for work done to produce this review.

In traditional MSI Gaming style, the box for the X99A Gaming 9 ACK features a large chrome dragon as the predominant feature on the front. The back of the box has specific details on the specifications and features of this motherboard.

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For those of you that want more information, the front of the box opens like a book. On the inside left, there is even more details and information on the motherboard and, on the right you can see the motherboard behind a clear plastic protective cover.

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Inside the box, the motherboard and accessories stored in separate boxes.

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The accessories that come with the MSI X99A Gaming 9 ACK are numerous. First up, the motherboard comes with six SATA III cables. Three have a 90° connector and the other three have the straight on connector.

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There are a number of plastic baggies that contain parts to get the system assembled. Included are SLI bridges, I/O shield, V-Check cables, M-Connectors,  and an audio power adapter.

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Also included is a eSATA bracket and the cabling that goes with it.

 

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Since this is the ACK version of the motherboard, the box also contains the Killer WiFi & Bluetooth module. This module plugs into a header on the motherboard.

 

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Where there is a wireless card, there should be antennae. MSI includes two Rubber Duck style antennae that have a heavy base that should keep them where you put them and not slide around.

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Finally, as far as hardware, is the I/O cover emblazoned with the motherboard’s name.

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Also included in the kit are the drivers and utilities CD, motherboard users guide, MSI gaming case badge, and door hangers.

CPU 

• Supports New Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition for LGA2011-3 Socket
Please refer to CPU Support for compatible CPU; the above description is for reference only.

Chipset• Intel® X99 Express Chipset

Main Memory

• Support eight DDR4 2133/2200(OC)/2400(OC)/2600(OC)/2666(OC)/2750(OC)/3000(OC)/3110(OC)/3333(OC) MHz DRAM, 128GB Max

– Quad channel memory architecture
– Supports non-ECC, un-buffered memory
– Supports RDIMM 1Rx8 memory module(Operates in non-ECC mode)

Slots• 5 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, support up to 4-way mode

– 1-way mode: x16/ x0/ x0/ x0/ x0
– 2-way mode: x16/ x0/ x0/ x16/ x0*, 16/ x0/ x0/ x8/ x0**
– 3-way mode: x16/ x0/ x0/ x16/ x8*, x8/ x8/ x0/ x8/ x0**
– 4-way mode: x8/ x8/ x0/ x16/ x8*, x8/ x8/ x0/ x8/ x4**
* For the CPU that supports 40 PCIe lanes
** For the CPU that supports 28 PCIe lanes
Streaming Engine
• Supports H.264 hardware video/ audio encoding up to 1920×1080@ (24p/25p/30p)

Multi-GPU Support
• Supports 4-Way AMD® CrossFire™  Technology*
• Supports 4-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology (For the CPU that supports 40 PCIe lanes)
• Supports 3-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology (For the CPU that supports 28 PCIe lanes)
* Supports Windows 7 and Windows 8/ 8.1

Storage• Intel X99 Express Chipset
• 10 x SATA 6Gb/s ports (2 ports reserved for SATA Express port)*
– SATA1~6 support RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10
– SATA7~10 ports only support IDE mode and AHCI mode.
– Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology (Windows 7/ 8/ 8.1)• 1 x SATA Express port*
• 1 x M.2 port, supports up to 32Gb/s speed**
– M.2 port supports 4.2cm/ 6cm/ 8cm length module
– M.2 PCIe interface does not support RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.* The SATA Express port or SATA5~6 ports will be unavailable when installing the M.2 SATA interface module in the M.2 port.
** Intel RST does not support M.2 PCIe interface module.
USB• Intel® X99 Express Chipset

– 6x USB 3.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB 3.0 connectors*)
– 6x USB 2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB 2.0 connectors)

• AsMedia ASM1142
– 2 x USB 3.1 ports on the back panel
• VIA VL805
– 4 x USB 3.0 ports on the back panel
* Internal JUSB3 connector supports MSI Super Charger.

Audio• Realtek® ALC1150 Codec
– 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
– Supports S/PDIF output
LAN • 1 x Killer E2205 Gigabit LAN controller*
*The Killer Network Manager is only available for Windows 7/ 8/ 8.1 currently. The supported drivers for other operating systems would be available on the website if provided by vendor.

Wireless LAN 
• Killer Wireless 1525 module.

– Supports 2×2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with advanced features
– Supports 20/ 40MHz at 2.4GHz and 20/ 40/ 80MHz at 5GHz.
Bluetooth • Killer Wireless 1525 module.
– Supports Bluetooth v4.1
Internal I/O Connectors
– 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector

– 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
– 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
– 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
– 1 x M.2 connector
– 1 x SATA Express connector
– 2 x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)
– 2 x USB 3.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 3.0 ports)
– 2 x 4-pin CPU fan connectors
– 3 x 4-pin system fan connectors
– 1 x Front panel audio connector
– 2 x System panel connectors
– 1 x TPM module connector
– 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
– 9 x V-Check connectorsts
– 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
– 1 x Power button
– 1 x Reset button
– 1 x OC Genie button
– 1 x Multi-BIOS switch
– 1 x OC Genie mode switch
– 1 x Audio power switch
– 1 x Slow mode booting switch
– 1 x 2-Digit Debug Code LED
– 1 x Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module connector
Back Panel I/O Ports– 1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse combo port
– 2 x USB 2.0 ports
– 1 x Clear CMOS button
– 6 x USB 3.0 ports
– 2 x USB 3.1 ports
– 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
– 1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
– 5 x OFC audio jacks
BIOS
• The motherboard BIOS provides “Plug & Play” BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically.
• The motherboard provides a Desktop Management Interface(DMI) function which records your motherboard specifications.
Dimension
• 12 in. x 10.4 in. (30.5 cm x 26.4 cm) EATX Form Factor
Mounting
• 9 mounting holes.

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Tom Brokaw

Tom is a network and computer hardware enthusiast. He has been reviewing hardware products around for various sites around the net since 1999. He has modded a few cases back in the day.

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