MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC Motherboard Review

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The MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC follows an EATX form factor, that would be 12 in. x 10.4 in. (30.5 cm x 26.4 cm). The motherboard is located in the Gaming series and is the flagship product within this range. The uber flasgship product will be the Xpower AC series, which we'll review soon as well.


Included with the motherboard are the regulars including; manuals, driver CDs, SATA cables and a rear IO plate. This motherboard comes with a Bluetooth and WIFI adapter that you will need to install manually onto the motherboard.

  • CPU support: Haswell-E class Intel Core processors
  • Chipset: Intel X99 Express Chipset
  • KilleNIC Gigabit Ethernet
  • Intel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, BT 4.0, Intel Wi-Di
  • Storage: 10x SATA 6Gb/s, 1x M.2, PCIe 32 Gb/s and shared SATA Express ports x2
  • Connectivity: 5x PCI-E 3.0 x16  (40 lanes available)
  • 6x USB 3.0 / 8x USB 2.0 rear IO
  • 8-channel Audio ALC1150 Realtek




Well look at that; small and good looking. And really, as powerful as an enthusiast setup. Included in the bundle is one mighty fine motherboard and gear like SATA cables, SLI connectors, V-Check cables, WIFI antennas and the WIFI module, and so on.




You will notice that the MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC has EMI shields, you can argue whether or not these work, but they sure do look nice.  The I/O back panel reveals two USB 2.0 ports (black) with another eight USB 3.0 ports (red). A Realtek ALC1150 high definition audio codec is the source for audio.The integrated audio comes from Realtek ALC1150 combined with a Cinema 2 software suite. The audio unit has special capacitors and EMI shielding and also has an added CMedia CM6631A IC, Xtreme Audio DAC functionality is the keyword here.

We spot one 10/100/1000 fast Ethernet jack (Killer E2205). And Wireless WIFI is arranged by an intel AC 7260 chip that delivers compatibility with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WIFI, BT 4.0, Intel Wi-Di. There is a single PS/2 combo port that can be used for either a keyboard or a mouse, optical SPDIF in/out port and six audio jacks. Can you see the small grey button roughly a cm away from the lower left? That is a clear CMOS button.




Check that, 5 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. a whopping five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 which can be arranged in these slot configurations with graphics cards:

  • 1-way mode - x16 / x0 / x0 / x0 / x0
  • 2-way mode - x16 / x0 / x0 / x16 / x0 or  x16 / x0 / x0 / x8 / x0
  • 3-way mode - x16 / x0 / x0 / x16 / x8 or  x8 / x8 / x0 / x8 / x0
  • 4-way mode - x8 / x8 / x0 / x16 / x8 or  x8 / x8 / x0 / x8 / x4

As you can see these are PCI Express Gen 3.0 configurations, that's just more then plenty. Mind you that the Core i7 5960X adn 5930K processors have 40 PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes while the Core i7 5820K 'only' has 28 PCIe lanes.


The X99S Gaming AC comes with both one four and 8 power connectors. Man, just look at that, lovely design. 

The Gaming 9 AC has a Military Grade IV for components on the motherboard with updated DrMOS MosFETs and aluminum colored dark caps that are going to increase the motherboards lifespan.

  • HI-C CAP - A Hi-C CAP is a very small, but super-efficient capacitor. Besides ensuring enough spacing around a CPU socket to install large coolers, it also allows for 93% energy efficiency. Thanks to Hi-C CAPs MSI mainboards are the most energy efficient in the market.
  • SUPER FERRITE CHOKE - Super Ferrite Choke uses a Ferrite core that is Super-Permeable. This allows the Super Ferrite Choke to run at a 35 degree Celsius lower temperature, have a 30% higher current capacity, a 20% improvement in power efficiency and better overclocking power stability.
  • DARK CAP - With their aluminum core design, Dark CAPs has been a staple in high-end design mainboard designs and provides lower Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR) as well as its over-10-year lifespan.

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