MSI X299 Gaming M7 ACK Intel X299 LGA 2066 Motherboard Review: Page 4 of 9
Posted by Damon Bailey on Friday, July 28, 2017 - 8:00am
A Closer Look
MSI’s X299 Gaming M7 ACK comes in a neutral black and dark grey color scheme that will fit well with most dark colored builds.
The Shield over the rear I/O area and ahead of the PCIe slots makes for a clean looking board.
The back of the board is clean with only a small number of components. The various logos and the X299 socket reinforcement backplate are the only real standout features. We can also see that electrically, we have two PCIe x16 slots, two PCIe x8 slots, and two PCIe x1 slots.
The top center of the board is dominated by the large LGA-2066 socket flanked by 8x DIMM slots. This looks similar to the outgoing LGA2011 socket and most other LGA based sockets, just a bit larger.
The bottom half the board is dominated by the PCIe slots and the M.2 Shield FROZR for cooling dual M.2 drives. Being a high-end board, it is ringed with loads of assorted connectors and ports of all shapes and sizes.
The front edge of the board has six angled SATA 6Gbps ports, a U.2 port and a USB3.1 Gen 1 header. Another perpendicular USB 3.1 Gen 1 header, then new USB 3.1 Gen 2 header, and another pair of SATA 6Gbps ports hold down the front lower corner.
The front top corner has the POST code display, voltage test points, and some handy diagnostic LED’s as well as an LED to tell you in an instant of the installed CPU supports Dual or Quad Channel memory. A pair of fan headers, one rated for up to 2 amps for liquid cooling solutions are nearby.
The lower rear of the board has most of the rest of the headers such as HD-Audio, front panel connections, a pair of USB 2.0 headers, and some RGB LED connections.
All 8x DIMM slots flanking the CPU are armored like most of the ports on this board. Just above the rear bank is the 8pin and 4 pin CPU power, as well as more fan headers. Here you can see the VR Boost chip and part of the Killer WiFi module tucked under the gorgeous rear I/O cover, as well as the ASMedia controllers for things like the USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports on the rear.
The rear I/O panel has the wonderful Clear CMOS and BIOS Flashback buttons, three USB2.0 ports as well as a PS/2 port, the WiFi antenna connectors, and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 connections. The Killer gigabit LAN port sits on top of two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, one type-A and one Type-C, and the usual 7.1 Channel Audio jacks and SPDIF optical output.
The M.2 FROZR solution is hinged and easily pivots up after removing two screws. This solution supports a pair of M.2 drives in either NVMe or SATA flavors, and up to 80 and 110mm in length respectively.
The heat is transferred via two attached thermal pads. Remember to remove the protective film before use.