We are taking a look at one of MSI’s X299 motherboard, the Gaming Pro Carbon AC. This is MSI’s top end offering for the gamers packed with tons of features on top of the venerable X299 platform. That includes notables such as the swap-able face plates, AC1200 Wi-Fi, personalized lighting effects support and the MSI GAME BOOST featurette.

The GAME BOOST is basically a one stop overclocking feature, allowing you to boost your system’s performance with an onboard knob. It has 8 levels of overclocking profiles and is the direct descendant of the OC Genie button.

Technical Specifications

While the board is not exactly accessible to everyone due to the price, it is an entry for those wanting to get a taste of HEDT platforms with a meaty dash of gaming written all over it.  Learn more from the official product page.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
CPU Support Supports Intel Core X-Series Processor Family for LGA2066 Socket
Chipset Intel X299 Chipset
Form Factor ATX
Power Phase 8+4
Frequency DDR4 4133+ (Quad), DDR4 4500+ (Dual)
Slots 8x DDR4 (Non-ECC)
Capacity 128 GB (Quad), 64 (Dual)
Channel Quad, Dual
Slots 4 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots

  • Support x16/ x4/ x16/ x8 mode with the 44-lane CPU.
  • Support x16/ x4/ x8/ x0,x8/ x4/ x8/ x8 modes with the 28-lane CPU.
  • Support x8/ x0/ x8/ x0, x8/ x4/ x4/ x0 modes with the 16-lane CPU.

2 x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots

Onboard Graphics N/A
Multi-GPU Supports 3-Way AMD CrossFire Technology

Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI Technology

Storage 8 x SATA 6Gb/s ports

2 x M.2 slots (Key M)

  • Supports up to PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6Gb/s
  • M2_1 slot supports 2242/ 2260 /2280 storage devices
  • M2_2 slot supports 2242/ 2260 /2280/ 22110 storage devices

1 x U.2 port

  • Supports PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe storage

Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 for SATA storage devices

Supports RAID 0 and RAID 1 for M.2 storage devices

USB ASMedia ASM3142 Chipset

  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 (SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps) Type-A port
  • 2x USB 3.1 Gen2 (Super Speed USB 10Gbps) Type-C ports

ASMedia ASM1074 Hub

  • 3x USB 3.1 Gen1 (SuperSpeed USB) Type-A ports

Intel X299 Chipset

  • 5x USB 3.1 Gen1 (SuperSpeed USB) ports
  • 7x USB 2.0 (High-speed USB) ports
Audio Realtek ALC1220 Codec

  • 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
  • Supports S/PDIF output
Network Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN controller

Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 module

Fan Connectors 1 x 4-pin CPU fan connector

1 x 4-pin Water Pump connector

4 x 4-pin system fan connectors

  • MYSTIC LIGHT: 16.8 million colors / 17 effects controlled in one click with MYSTIC LIGHT APP or mobile devices.
  • 3D Printing Support: exchangeable cover and 3D X-MOUNTING screws.
  • TWIN TURBO M.2 with M.2 Shield and Intel Optane Memory Ready, Turbo U.2, LIGHTNING USB 3.1 GEN2
  • AUDIO BOOST 4 with NAHIMIC 2+: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality for the most immersive gaming experience
  • GAMING LAN and Wireless
  • STEEL ARMOR PCI-E slots.
  • Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI & AMD Crossfire

Packaging and Accessories

MSI had the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC stashed inside a standard 2 part packaging. It’s no larger than your usual ATX motherboard but it is damn heavy with all the goodies inside. We’d appreciate a small handle especially for the price. MSI could also make the AC on the model name a little more contrasting. You wouldn’t really notice it’s the AC unless you’re looking for it.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 1

Our X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC obviously is the model with WLAN and Bluetooth. That said, ours comes with magnetized antennas for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. It also comes with a padded backplate, a pair of LED header extension cables and screws for the 3D printed accessories.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 11

Lotsa paper works here in combination with the case badge, software disc and the cable labels.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 9

There are pairs of removable covers ready to be used if you’re not a fan of the carbon styling. The Silver one is an appropriate choice for a more neutral looking build.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 10

While the paper works could be lightened up, it’s overall a nice set of bundles from MSI.


The MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is a gaming oriented motherboard by design and by features. It takes major design cues from race cars with carbon fiber plated heatsinks.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 5

The layout is rather good with well placed 8+4-pin CPU power headers and 24-pin power header. The fan headers for the CPU, Pump and Auxiliary are also well placed at the top. The other 3 fan headers are located below. Note that the CMOS battery is stashed away just below the IO cover.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 7

The back of the board is rather busy looking, mainly due to some components that cannot be placed at the front. While this side houses a number of ICs and screws, they are well placed and wont cause any clearance issues.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 8

Board power is provided by an 8+4 digital VRM design. There’s 8 for the CPU, and an actual 2+2 for each set of memory slots. The VRM heatsink tends to get hot to touch but it’s acceptable.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 4

Storage options this side of the board are 8 native SATAIII ports, dual USB 3.0 headers and an internal USB 3.1 Gen2 header. A U.2 port for NVME devices is also located here.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 3

The bottom area of the board houses the usual internal headers, along with the front panel and LED headers. This area also houses the GAME BOOST knob. This X299 motherboard features two M.2 slots capable of RAID 1 and 0. They are NVMe compliant too. There are 2x PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots and 2x PCI-E 3.0 x8 slots. Multi-GPU support is a maximum of 3 for both AMD and Nvidia.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 2

Finally we get to see the backpanel IO. We have 9 USB ports here (4x USB 3.0 + 3x USB 2.0 + 2x USB 3.1). Connectivity is provided by two NICs (Wired Gigabit + AC1200 WLAN). We also have a PS/2  combo port here together with the Realtek audio with a much appreciated optical out. There are also a Clear CMOS and a BIOS flashback button here just in case you messed up the board’s settings.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 6


The X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC features the Click BIOS 5 UEFI resembling that of the B350 Gaming Pro Carbon with chipset based differences. The Click BIOS 5 retains the sleek UI look of the former Click BIOS, yet it has an updated design suited for today’s needs.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 12

There are 2 main menus. The EZ Mode and advanced mode. Both modes could toggle the GAME BOOST function within the BIOS so if you want to take control of the feature within the UEFI, you can disable the physical knob.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon 12 1

The UEFI of the motherboard is snappy and hiccup free; with everything you need to get started tweaking. You can pretty much do anything on this board as far as overclocking options are concerned.


MSI had the board bundled with tons of applications that should help you optimize your system’s performance. That includes the following software tools:

  • MSI Smart Tool
  • X Boost
  • Command Center
  • Live Update 6
  • RAMDisk
  • Gaming Lan Manager
  • MSI Gaming APP
  • Super Charger
  • XSplit Gamecaster
  • Nahimic 2
  • TriDef VR
  • TriDef SmartCam
  • SteelSeriesEngine 3

While I find some of these softwares as bloats, the Command Center, Live Update 6, RAMDisk and the Gaming LAN Manager are keepers. The free XSplit subscription is also much appreciated.

Test Setup

The performance of the system shall be evaluated by various benchmarking tools and applications. We are testing this system with the high-performance settings enabled at the OS, with the default UEFI configuration. Background processes such as anti-virus and third-party applications are disabled as well. Outlined below are the applications and benchmark tools for reference:

PROCESSOR Intel Core i7-7800X
MOTHERBOARD MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
MEMORY KIT Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4 @ 2666MHz 4x4GB
OPERATING SYSTEM Microsoft Windows 10 Pro


  • Super PI – 32M Calculations
  • wPrime – 32M and 1024M Calculations
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition – Memory Benchmark


  • GIMP – 7 MB worth of image processing
  • HandBrake – 150 MB MP4 to H.264 video encoding
  • WinRAR – Internal benchmark tool


  • AS SSD – Storage performance
  • RightMark Audio Analyzer – Audio performance
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition – Power consumption
  • NetIO-GUI – Network Performance


The AIDA64 System Stability Test uses a 64-bit multi-threaded stress testing module to drive the system to its limits. Power readings are recorded with a watt-meter.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 1

This is the first time I’ve threaded into the HEDT territory, so I can’t say much about the system’s power consumption; except that it’s really high compared to mainstream solutions.

CPU and Memory

Super PI is a single-threaded program that calculates pi to a specified number of digits after the decimal point. It is a widely used benchmark within the industry.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 3

WPrime is a multi-threaded program that calculates a set number of square roots. It verifies the results by squaring them, then compares it with the original numbers.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 2

The AIDA64 Memory Benchmark measure the data transfer bandwidth and latency of the system memory. We are measuring the latency on this benchmark.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 4

Generally good benchmark results from the MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. We’ve had better single core performance with the Core i5-7600K though compared to the Core i7-7800X. This thing shines the most with multi-threaded benchmarks though which is just expected for such a CPU.


GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free and open-source image editing tool. A 7 MB worth of images is be processed and converted to gauge the system performance.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 6

HandBrake is a free video encoding tool that supports a wide variety of media codecs. A 150MB worth MP4 video is converted using the H.264 codec to gauge the system performance.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 7

WinRAR is a file archive utility that can create, view and unpack numerous archive file formats. The software’s built in benchmark tool is utilized to gauge the system performance.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 5

Generally great performance overall from our real world benchmarks especially with the H.264 encoding.


AS SSD is a storage benchmarking software widely used throughout the industry. On this test, we are using its scoring system to evaluate our Crucial BX200 SSD’s performance using the system’s native SATA controller.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 8

Nothing is out of place on our SATA storage tests.


The RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) is a tool designed to test the quality of audio devices. We used a sampling rate of 24-bit at 48000Hz for the loopback test. We are essentially testing the quality of the line-in and line-out of the audio solution.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 9

Noise level is decent with an -87.7dBA figure on our RMMA loopback test.


The NetIO-GUI is a good application to test any network’s performance. The LAN round trip time is our concern here, checking out latency anomalies if there are any. The client and server are connected on the network via Cat5 cables using a 100Mbps router.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Benchmarks 10

RTT performance seems okay, with an actual <1ms of latency on any packet sizes tested.


Out of all the X299 motherboards from MSI, the Gaming Pro Carbon AC features the best stuffs for both gamers and enthusiasts. Enabling itself to become a bridge-point for those who requires gaming oriented features without sacrificing the power user’s requirements.

Build quality and layout wise, the MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC is one properly built ATX motherboard. The board just screams with reinforcements which is funny enough since most of steel in place are truly overkill. Not that I’m complaining though.

Features are built around gamers and power users. We appreciated the inclusion of AC Wi-Fi so you could bond both wired and wireless connections. The face plates are nice additions too, enabling us to fully personalize the board together with the MYSTIC lighting options. Still, I’d love to see another LAN port or another array of USB 3.1 ports at the backpanel area.

At 20870 Pesos ($339 at Amazon), the MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon is anything but expensive from the eyes of many. This is an HEDT platform motherboard though so the price is actually justified including the extra features.

MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC


At 20870 Pesos ($339 at Amazon), the MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon is anything but expensive from the eyes of many. This is an HEDT platform motherboard though so the price is actually justified including the extra features.

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  1. Leo Bien Durana
    September 17, 2017

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