• SPECIFICATIONS
  • Price: TBA
  • Contact: JW Power Marketing Sdn. Bhd., Mediaforte (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. Advancenet Technology Sdn. Bhd
  • Phone: (03) 2148 1307, (03) 7960 6868, (03) 8070 3633
  • Info: game.msi.com
  • Pros:
  • RGB LED lighting
  • Lots of I/O support
  • Cons:
  • Needs liquid cooling
  • Benchmark Results
  • PCMark Home: 4,202 points
  • PCMark Creative: 3,539 points
  • PCMark Work: 3,632 points

Inside Bling

Intel’s Skylake took prominence this year, more or less overshadowing the X99 platform that was released in late 2014. But that doesn’t mean that the platform is significantly inferior, as it still has a place amongst the enthusiasts and professionals. Since RGB is the popular gimmick to add to anything this year, MSI has come out with its highly fancy X99A Gaming Pro Carbon.

The Gaming Pro Carbon comes in a thick box with a number of accessories. There are six SATA cables, a handy two-way SLI bridge, the I/O shield, some extension cables for four-pin chassis fans, and even a MSI Gaming badge to stick on casings.

Inside the box is the ATX motherboard itself that’s coloured mostly black; fantastic if you have a black chassis. What’s even better is if you have a large side window on your chassis, because then you’ll be able to show off the RGB lights that comes alive as long as the system is switched on. The shrouds covering the I/O and the audio chip, as well as the northbridge and southbridge, are the major ‘zones’ on the motherboard that emit the RGB lighting.

This motherboard has eight DIMM slots, allowing users to add up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM if they want to. It also has four PCI Express slots, which are encased in metal for stronger structural support. It’s possible to run a three-way SLI or CrossFireX configuration with this, though the PCIe lanes will drop to x8 in that case. Also, the board is Broadwell-E ready, so if you have the resources, you could slot the new 10-core Core i7-6950X in it.

MSI definitely thought of the modding enthusiast by including not only three chassis fan connectors, but also another one that can be dedicated to a liquid cooling solution’s water pump. And believe us, you’ll definitely need liquid cooling if you want to overclock Broadwell CPUs. It also has connectors for extra USB ports – 2.0, 3.1 and even Type-C – so there’s plenty of room for expansion if you really need them.

In terms of performance, the Gaming Pro Carbon did well even if you’re not looking to overclock. For a quick and beginner-friendly overclock, the Game Boost feature is the easy way. All that’s required is a twist of the dial on the motherboard near the power button and the system will do the work for you.

The RGB lighting are bright and aren’t just static; users can set the lights to breath, flash (and risk causing seizures), or light up in a wave. This is controlled via the Mystic Light app, which is available for Windows and as a mobile app on Android.

CHIP CONCLUDE: Though the retail price is not yet out, the MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon is sure to be expensive. But if money is no issue, it’s a splendid choice for those looking to build one of the best systems.

(previously published in issue June 2016)

MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon