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MSI X99S SLI PLUS review

Michael Passingham
26 Feb 2015
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MSI X99S SLI PLUS 3/4 view
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
180

The X99S SLI PLUS is a terrific-value LGA2011-3 motherboard with all the expansion and overclocking features you could want

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Specifications

Processor socket: LGA2011-3, Dimensions: 205x244mm, Chipset: X99, Memory slots: 8, PCI-E x16 slots: 4, PCI-E x1 slots: 2, PCI slots: 0, USB ports: 2x USB, 8x USB3, Video outputs: None

The enthusiast computing market peaks with Intel's stunningly powerful and eye-wateringly expensive Haswell-E processors, delivering incredible. Accordingly, the motherboard market has responded with a selection of ultra-expensive LGA2011-3 boards to suit the needs of big spenders. However, there are some great sub-£200 boards on offer, too, and MSI's X99S SLI PLUS is one of the most keenly priced motherboards around at the moment.

While the board may cost less than its rivals, there’s still plenty to like. For example, it has 10 SATA3 ports and supports 128GB DDR4 RAM overclocked to 3333MHz. There are plenty of USB ports, with eight USB3 ports (plus four further headers) and two USB2 ports (plus four headers).

MSI X99S SLI PLUS top-down

The motherboard's UEFI BIOS is relatively straightforward for newcomers, but offers plenty of complex customisation for more experienced users. The most important aspect of any enthusiasts' board is overclocking and how easy it is. If you know you want a powerful PC but don't want to take the risk of damaging your components with a major overclock, MSI has you covered with its OC Genie tool. You can either activate it in the BIOS or use the button located on the board itself.

In our tests with the eight-core, 3GHz Intel Core i7-5960X and 8GB of 2,400MHz DDR4 memory it returned an overall score of 207, which is around what we'd expect from this setup. Using the OC Genie tool, which upped the processor clock speed to 3.7GHz, it returned a blistering overall score of 229 with no effort required.

MSI X99S SLI PLUS ports

The board is very easy to work with because it makes great use of the large ATX form factor. There are plenty of gaps between ports and connectors both at the rear of the board and on the PCB itself, and the SATA3 ports are found both pointing sideways and upwards, which should suit all case types and system building workflows. Six of the ports support multiple hard disks in RAID modes 0, 1, 5 and 10, while the final four do not. Make sure you know which ports you're connecting your RAID disks into before you start by consulting the manual. Two of these ports can also be used for super high-speed SATA Express setups, although setting up a SATA Express connection will disable one of the PCI-E slots in order to accommodate it. There's also an M.2 module for high-performance solid-state storage.

There are three PCI-E x16 slots that support three-way graphics card setups for both AMD's CrossFire and Nvidia's SLI technologies.

The MSI X99 SLI PLUS is a great value LGA2011-3 motherboard that offers all the features you could possibly want for under £200. It's the perfect board for an ultra-high performance PC and beats Asus's X99-A thanks to its notably lower price.

Hardware
Processor socketLGA2011-3
Form factorATX
Dimensions205x244mm
Processor supportIntel Core i7 Haswell-E processors
Processor external bus100MHz
ChipsetX99
Supported memory typeDDR4
Maximum memory speed3333MHz
Memory slots8
Maximum memory128GB
Motherboard power connectors1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin 12V
PCI-E x16 slots4
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x1 slots2
PCI slots0
Motherboard fan headers5
SATA II ports0
SATA III ports10
RAID support0,1, 5, 10
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
Motherboard sound (ports)Realtek HD Audio (6x analogue, optical S/PDIF)
USB ports2x USB, 8x USB3
USB headers4x USB, 4x USB3
Video outputsNone
Other ports1x PS/2
Cables included2x SATA
Motherboard clock adjustmentCPU/RAM/chipset
Motherboard voltage adjustmentCPU/RAM/chipset
Buying information
Price including VAT£180
WarrantyOne year RTB
Supplierwww.ebuyer.com
Detailswww.msi.com
Part code911-7885-007

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