MSI went all out on its new X299 XPower Gaming AC (opens in new tab), a top-shelf motherboard that offers up just about every modern amenity you can think of. Built to handle Intel's Core X series processors, the X299 XPower Gaming AC features a 14 phase (12+1+1) power design with loadline calibration to help keep overclocks stable.
Beyond the tight power regulation and premium components, the X299 XPower Gaming AC is loaded with features, including a pair of second generation heat shields for M.2 SSDs. Whereas the original heat shield design was found to actually increase temps by trapping heat inside, MSI claims its new design does a better job and prevents fast NVMe M.2 SSDs from throttling. Color us cautiously optimistic until some outside testing can be performed.
The new motherboard supports up to 128GB of DDR4-4133+ (OC) quad-channel memory. It also has four PCI-Express x16 slots, a single PCI-Express x1 slot, 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, three M.2 slots, and a single U.2 slot.
For external connectivity, users have access to plenty of USB ports, including six USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A port, a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, and two USB 2.0 ports on the rear. There are also USB 3.1 and 2.0 headers.
The rear I/O is home to dual Intel LAN ports, though it's not clear if the motherboard supports port aggregation. MSI also includes an Intel Wireless-AC card. Both wired and wireless solutions come with bandwidth management and traffic prioritization.
This is a heavily armored motherboard, both for sturdiness and to prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI), in case that's something you struggle with. It also features isolated memory circuitry to help with performance and stability.
Audio circuitry is also isolated. It's powered by Nahimic 2+ and has an added audio cover and golden audio connectors.
Unfortunately MSI did not say when the X299 XPower Gaming AC will be available or for how much.