PC Hardware Review: MSI X99A Gaming Pro Motherboard & GTX 1070 Gaming X Z

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Newbie Gamer
Sep 29, 2016
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Today will be an interesting review of MSI Gaming hardware stuff. X99A Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard and two video cards specifically named MSI GTX 1070 Gaming Z and the Gaming X. If you are a gamer, enthusiast or an overclocker. This short article is for you.

Here we have the MSI X99 Gaming Pro Carbon. It’s an all-around gaming motherboard in sleek dark carbon look design and comes with configurable RGB LEDs. In terms of performance, it is capable to deliver SLI/Crossfire support, lots of SATA 3 connectivity, M.2, U.2 and much more. For now let’s start with the board’s packaging.

This board is categorized under the Gaming Performance Series of MSI. Label is seen at the bottom right of the box with a 5 star indicator while at the top most part, you have the RGB LED feature logo and Intel logos as well.

Turning the box around you have the following feature information and basic specification of the X99A Gaming Pro Carbon.

DDR4 & M.2 Steel Armor – provides better signal strength and offers better EMI-shielding
MSI Steel Armor – more solder points on the PCB for more strength and protects PCI-Express signals against electromagnetic interference and higher GPU Overclocking.
Mystic Light Extension- dedicated header for 4-pin RGB-strip & lighting control.
•Mystic Light – consists of 17 LED effects and 16.8M colors. All can be configured by using MSI’s Gaming App.
•Gaming LAN – optimized for championship level online and LAN eSports by reducing CPU overhard and offering exceptionally high TCP and UDP throughput. This way, your CPU can be used more effectively.
•LAN Protect – features 15KV anti-surge protection to shield your network from lightning strikes and static electricity. Red LED inside the RJ45 connector to show its functionality.
•Turbo U.2 – delivers performance up to 32 Gb/s and allows support for next gen 2.5-inch SSDs using the U.2 connector.
•Military Class 5– composed of components that ensures your PC runs stable under extreme gaming conditions.
•Audio Boost 3 – powered by Nahimic Sound Technology. Delivering the highest sound quality through the use of premium quality audio components.
•Game Boost - Overclocking onboard dial which increases the CPU and memory performance. It has 11 OC modes and has the possibility of hitting the 5GHz mark. (Varies according to your platform and model).
•USB 3.1 – 2x faster than USB 3.0 (USB 3.1 GEN1) with speed up to 10Gbps data transfer bandwidth

•CPU Support: Supports New Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition. Supports Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0
•CPU Socket: LGA 2011-3 Socket
•Chipset: Intel X99 Express Chipset
•Graphics Interface: 4x PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots with Steel Armor
•Memory Support: 8 DIMMs DDR4 Steel Armor, Quad Channel (DDR4-3444+OC)
•Expansion Slots: 2x PCI-E x1 slots
•SATA: 10 SATA 6Gb/s (2x ports compatible with 1x SATA Express Port)
•SATA RAID: RAID 0,1,5,10 (Available on SATA1 to SATA6)
•USB Ports: 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A
1x ISB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C , 8x USB 3.1 Gen1, 8x USB 2.0
•LAN: Intel 1218-V Gigabit LAN
•Audio: 8-channel 7.1 HD Audio with Audio Boost 3


As for the bundle, buyers can expect the following
•6x SATA 6GB/s Cables
•I/O Black Backplate
•2x SLI Bridge
•M-Connectors (tool guide for connecting your chassis buttons and LED indicator)
•2x Mystic Light extension cables

•Door Message Holder
•User Guide
•Quick Installation Guide
•Utility Disc (Software and Driver)
•Registration Guide
•SATA Label Sticker


Awesome looking board right? Matte black PCB with carbon fiber accents across the board and some steel shielding on the slots. Form factor is a standard ATX 12 x 9.6 inches in size. MSI also incorporated five fan connectors around the board and one water pump power connecter that has a fix voltage for better pump operation. Also, the board comes with Diagnostic LEDS for easy troubleshooting of installed components.

As for the CPU Socket area goes, it is powered by an eight pin power connector with 8 power phase design. It is heavily embedded with Military Class V components such as an improved DrMOS MosFETS, dark capacitors, super-ferrite choke and Hi-C Cap.

•Hi-C Cap – is a small space saving capacitor that allows 93% energy efficiency. This is why MSI motherboards are the most energy efficient in the market today.
•Dark Capacitors – provides lower Equivalent Series Resistance as well as it’s over 10 year lifespan. This is based on an aluminium core design.

The Debug LED code is now placed on the top most right for easy viewing especially once the board is installed inside the case. This feature shows the status/post code and displays the temperature of your processor package


The four PCIE 3.0 x16 Steel Armor slots which can be configured with the following graphic cards setup:
•1-Way Mode – x16 / x0 / x0 / x0
•2-Way Mode – x16 / x16 / x0 / x0 (CPU 40 PCIE lanes) or x16 / x8 / x0 / x0 (CPU 28 PCIE lanes)
•3-Way Mode – x16 / x16 / x0 / x8 (CPU 40 PCIE lanes) or x8 / x8 / x8 / x0 (CPU 28 PCIE lanes)
•4-Way Mode – x8 / x16 / x8 / x8 (CPU 40 PCIE lanes) or x8 / x8 /x8 / x4 (CPU 28 PCIE lanes)

Some other stuff worth mentioning in this area are the shielded M.2 connector which is running at 32Gb/s performance, the easy power reset buttons, OC Dial that increases the performance of your processor or memory in steps , multi-BIOS switch, Express SATA and the additional 2x SATA 6GB/s ports.

Here is a clearer view of the connectors at this side. Left to right: U.2 slot that shares the same connection as the M.2 thus giving the same performance, 6x SATA 6GB/s ports, right-angled USB 3.0 header and 90° type-c USB 3.0 connector.


Heading at the I/O back panel shows

•1x PS/2 combo port. Auto sensing for keyboard or mouse
•4x USB 2.0 ports
•1x Clear CMOS button
•4x USB 3.0 Gen1 (USB 3.0)
•1x LAN port
•1x USB 3.1 Gen2
•1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C
•1x Optical SPDIF
•5x Audio jacks

Now, let’s put up the X99A Gaming Pro Carbon to work-work-work and horde some benchy scores. I tested the board in multiple test conditions. First, running the whole system in a single card configuration then SLI then lastly some overclocking galore that I love so much

System Specifications:

•Processor: Intel i7 6900K (20M Cache, up to 3.70 GHz 8Core)
•Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 4x4GB 2800MHz CL15
•Graphics Card: MSI GTX 1070 Gaming Z 8GB & MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X 8GB
•HDD: Seagate Momentum XT 2.5” 500GB
•PSU: Antec TruePower Quattro 1200W
•Softwares: Windows 7 64 Bit Ultimate SP1, Nvidia Driver 372.70, latest CPU-Z and GPU-Z, GamingApp

Dissected Gaming App screenshot. For me, I call this the gaming core software control. It’s all there, be it changing the RGB LEDs, increasing the system performance or perhaps instructing custom commands to your keyboard or mouse devices.


To hype you even more. Here are some information about MSI’s GTX 1070 Gaming Z and X graphic cards.

Red matte theme box with all the basic MSI features at the back.

Users will have the following bundle for both graphic cards
•Registration card
•Utility Disc
•Case badge stickers
•User Guide Manual


GTX 1070 Gaming Z and X Specifications


Video Output Function
•3x Display Port
•1x HDMI
•1x Dual-Link DVI-D

Notice the color difference of the Z and X. The first one is bright red while the other one is metallic red

What people really love about MSI Gaming graphic cards is for their thermal design - Twin Frozr VI Technology. This cooling solution incorporates the following features.
•Airflow control technology – special deflectors direct air onto the heat sink
Smooth Heat-pipes – 8mm copper squared heat pipes to maximize heat transfer
•Solid Baseplate – solid nickel-plated copper baseplate for better heat dissipation
•Premium Thermal Compound
•Close quarters cooling
– memory and MOSFET cooling below heatsink enables you to push the card to the max.
•Torx Fan 2.0 – mix of dispersion and traditional blades which generates 22% more air fan pressure and uses “Double Ball Bearings” for stronger and lasting core while remaining silent
•Zero Frozr – eliminates fan noise by stopping the fans in low-load situations. Fans turns on above 60° temperature
•Custom PCB – 10 power phase PCB design using Military Class 4 components with an extra 6pin connector for higher overclocking.


Back plate for the Gaming-Z includes RGB LED for premium design while X having the ordinary one.

Heat-pipes on top with MSI RGB label on the side. Also, see the red stripes on the upper left side? MSI calls it Dragon Claws and they do light up too


Hot oven-baked sandwich anyone?


Here you have the benchmark results that I did with this awesome outrageous gaming system. All the stock and overclocking speed descriptions are written at the bottom part of the charts.

First results are from the single MSI GTX 1070 Gaming Z 8GB video card. Also, with the use of MSI Gaming App. I was able to juice out more performance from the X99A Gaming Pro Carbon and the graphics card as well. It’s easy to use and straight forward.

Last set of test is done with an Nvidia SLI setup of GTX 1070 Gaming graphics card. Doing this test I learned that the default core clock speed of Intel’s i7 6900K would not suffice the horse power of the two graphics card. In short, there is bottleneck!!!

The solution to this is to manually overclock the X99A Gaming Pro Carbon and the i7 6900K processor. This would make your system more efficient and balance the hardware performance coming from the SLI setup.


That’s it for the review and I can honestly say that this stuff are for those users who are really serious with their gaming or other PC needs.

The X99A Gaming Pro Carbon is an all-around motherboard that can keep up with its looks and stand for the performance that it can boast. Price is roughly around 395USD. Expensive? Yes but worth it

For the GTX 1070 Gaming Z 8GB, price will be 590USD. It comes pre overclocked and it is one of the fastest GTX 1070 that you can find in the local market. Aside from the performance, it includes RGB LED customizations and lighting effects.

Lastly the GTX 1070 Gaming X 8GB which is priced at 565USD and still expensive though can live to its Gaming design that lets any gamers out there enjoy all the eye-candy in their games. This single card is strong enough for you to play games in 4K resolutions.

Stay tuned for more reviews to come. Ciao!