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Review: MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon

by Parm Mann on 31 May 2016, 07:00

Tags: MSI, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qac262

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Test Methodology

Comparison Motherboard Configurations

Model
MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon
Asus ROG Strix X99 Gaming
Asus Z170 Pro
Reviewed Price
£270
£270
£130
Firmware Version
E7A20IMS.111
0601
1801
Chipset
X99
Z170
CPU
Intel Core i7-6950X
Intel Core i7-6700K
CPU Cores / Threads
10 / 20
4 / 8
CPU Base Clock / Turbo
3.0GHz / 3.5GHz
4.0GHz / 4.2GHz
CPU Cache
25MB
8MB
CPU TDP
140W
91W
Memory
Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB (4x4GB)
Memory Speed
DDR4-2666
Memory Timings
16-17-17-36-2T
Graphics
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
Graphics Driver
GeForce Game Reader Driver v368.25
Storage Device
SK hynix Canvas SC300 512GB
Power Supply
be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 (750W)
Operating System
Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

CPU and Memory Benchmarks

HEXUS PiFast Our number-crunching benchmark stresses a single core by calculating Pi to 10m places.
Cinebench Using Cinebench's multi-CPU render, this cross-platform benchmark stresses all cores.
Handbrake Free-to-use video encoder that stresses all CPU cores.
AIDA64 Benchmark that analyses memory bandwidth and latency.

Storage Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark Popular free-to-use storage benchmark, used to gauge read and write performance via M.2 (512GB Toshiba OCZ RD400), SATA (512GB SK hynix Canvas SC300) and USB 3.0 (512GB SK hynix Canvas SC300).

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark Run using Fire Strike Ultra 4K UHD test.
Dirt Rally Benchmarked at a 4K UHD resolution with 4xMSAA and ultra quality settings.
Rise of the Tomb Raider Benchmarked at a 4K UHD resolution with DX12 enabled, FXAA and very-high quality settings.

Miscellaneous Benchmarks

Power Consumption Noted at idle, while running the HandBrake video-transcoding test and when playing Dirt Rally.

Notes

We've historically had a large number of benchmarks detailing performance between chipsets. Due to the levels of integration in the processor practically all modern motherboards benchmark at the same levels, give or take a per cent or two, so 30-odd graphs showing near-identical performance isn't what you (or we) want to see.

We're running a dozen benchmarks - three each for CPU, memory, storage and gaming - to see if the boards perform at the expected levels. This is more of a sanity check than anything else, and we'll then dabble with a touch of CPU overclocking.

All three of the above-listed boards have been tested from the ground-up using the latest available BIOS and drivers. The two X99 offerings are a natural comparison, and for reference's sake we've also included a high-end Z170 platform.