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MSI X299 SLI Plus Motherboard Review

Rating: 9.0.

Intel's X299 platform is an appealing choice to consumers requiring high core count CPUs and plentiful system memory.  Yet an X299 system build can get seriously expensive with the motherboard comprising a large share of that expense. MSI's X299 SLI Plus motherboard proves that getting onto X299 needn't be as expensive as you might think.

After a quick glance of MSI's X299 SLI Plus you'd be forgiven for mistaking it with more high-end products in MSI's X299 portfolio, like the X299 Gaming M7 ACK. Even on paper these motherboards are similar as the baseline for Intel's X299 platform is so high in terms of default PCIe, USB, storage and general connectivity.

While the X299 SLI Plus is considerably more affordable than most X299 motherboards it still retains high-end features like dual M.2, multiple graphics card support, abundant USB, onboard power & reset buttons and much more.

It is a more fruitful endeavour to see what MSI has opted to leave out on the X299 SLI Plus, compared to the more pricey X299 Gaming M7 ACK, that helped it achieve its more competitive price.

As a high level summary MSI has thinned out the number of VRM phases and components, backed down to a single audio codec and ditched the onboard WiFi – all things that most consumers will happily be able to go without.

Let's take a deeper dive into exactly what the MSI X299 SLI Plus has to offer.

MSI X299 SLI Plus
Form Factor ATX, 30.5 cm x 24.3 cm
CPU Socket LGA 2066, 8+1 phase VRM
Chipset Intel X299
Memory  DDR4, 8 DIMMs, up to 128GB, up to 4133MHz+ with OC, Two 2-phase VRMs
Onboard Graphics  None
Discrete Graphics  Up to Nvidia 3-way/Quad SLI, AMD 3-Way/Quad CrossFire
Expansion Slots  3 x PCIe 3.0 X16 ( x16/x16/x8 with 44-lane CPU, x16/x8/x4 or  with 28-lane CPU, x8/x8/x0 or x8/x4/x4 with 16-lane CPU)*
1 x PCIe 3.0 X16 (x4 electrical, from chipset, shared with U.2 port)
2 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Storage  8 x SATA III 6Gbps*
2 x M.2 32Gbps*
1 x U.2*
* bandwidth sharing active across all storage ports
USB  3 x USB 3.1 (2 Rear, 1 Front of which 2 Type-C, 1 Type-A. All via ASM3142)
8 x USB 3.0 (4 Rear, 4 Front, 3 via ASM1074, 5 via X299)
8 x USB 2.0 (4 Rear, 4 Front, all via X299)
Networking  Intel I219-V Gigabit
Intel I211 Gigabit
Audio Realtek ALC1220 7.1 Channel HD Audio
Fan Headers 6, all support 3/4pin fans (1 x CPU, 1 x W_PUMP, 4 x SYS)
Rear I/O 1 x Clear CMOS button
1 x BIOS FLASHBACK+ button
1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse combo port
4 x USB 2.0 Type-A ports
4 x USB 3.0 Type-A ports
2 x LAN (RJ45) ports
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C port
5 x OFC audio jacks
1 x Optical S/PDIF OUT connector
UEFI  UEFI AMI dual BIOS with DIP switch

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