MSI MEG X399 Creation Review

Written by Antony Leather

August 28, 2018 | 18:00

Tags: #motherboard #ryzen #socket-tr4 #threadripper #wifi #x399

Companies: #amd #msi

Overclocking

You can see our in-depth look at MSI's modern EFI here, but its recent AMD boards now include controls for AMD's Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO), which can be found in the Overclocking/CPU features section, where you can set the scalar as well as limits for PPT, TDC, and EDC, which are some of the metrics used to determine the overclock PBO applies and are also displayed in Ryzen Master. As we can't test in a temperature-controlled lab we won't be testing PBO across different motherboards.

Overclocking the Threadripper 2950X was straightforward, and plumbing in our usual Ryzen voltage of 1.425V saw us reach 4.2GHz. With just another 200MHz attainable by Precision Boost 2, unlike our Threadripper 1950X, which found its limit several hundred megahertz lower, there's a strong case for applying an all-core overclock rather than letting the boosting algorithms do their thing, especially if you need maximum multi-threaded performance for your particular system.

Performance Analysis

Our analysis here will be fairly limited for the simple reason we've updated all our test systems recently to use more up to date hardware and with fresh installs on Windows 10 with the latest security patches and driver updates. Even so, the overclock resulted in some decent performance boosts with the HandBrake time falling from 48 to 45 seconds, the PCMark 10 image editing test score rising from 4,513 to 5,004, and the POV-Ray render time falling 10 percent from 41 seconds to 37. There were small improvements to Ashes of the Singularity, but faster memory and switching to Game Mode (if available for your CPU) in Ryzen Master will have a much bigger impact here.

We've already mentioned the M.2 heatsink knocking nearly 20 degrees off the load temperature of our Samsung 960 Evo, but read and write speeds were recorded at 3,401MB/s and 1,872MB/s respectively. Audio performance was typical of Realtek's ALC 1220 audio codec, with a dynamic range of 114dBA and noise level of -114dBA. Idle power draw at stock speed was pleasingly low at 87W, while load power draw peaked at a hefty 544W once overclocked.

Conclusion

We're looking at one of the most high-end motherboards ever to grace our lab, and the MSI MEG X399 Creation is a superb motherboard in its own right, and as our recent AMD coverage proved, it's not only up to the task of dealing with AMD's new 16-core Threadripper CPU, but also its 32-core 2990WX CPU as well. The price, though, does mean you need to consider other aspects of the package when deciding whether it's right for you. The masses of fan headers and other cooling-related features mean this is a great motherboard for systems with liquid-cooling, and there are enough M.2 ports for monstrous SSD arrays, especially with the M.2 Xpander-Aero PCIe card included too. 

There's little evidence yet, though, that other X399 boards would fare any worse here, and MSI already has an excellent Threadripper board in its X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. In fact, it has even more features in some areas but costs £130 less. If you're spending close to £1,000 or more on a CPU, though, then it's likely you may buy into the extra prowess on offer here, either with the insane number of M.2 ports or far more lavish power circuitry and cooling, especially if you're in the market for the 32-core CPU as well. If our wallets were that deep, we'd undoubtedly be building our Threadripper system using this monster motherboard too.


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