AMD’s Threadripper CPUs have brought back some genuine high-end desktop mojo. These massive chips, with their 4,094-pin socket and eight DIMM slots running in quad-channel mode, offer immense compute-centric performance and, handily, a huge amount of I/O on which to hang numerous high-speed devices. Building boards on this platform, known as TR4, is not cheap, however. MSI is dipping its toes into the market with its X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, a board priced around PS325.
The Gaming Pro Carbon AC has some nice touches that make it stand out from other X399 motherboards. It features a simple aesthetic with a black base and RGB lighting integrated into the motherboard, which can be changed via a dedicated header. There are also some interchangeable covers for the I/O, audio and chipset sections — these come in gold and silver as well as MSI’s signature ‘carbon’.
On the front of the board, you’ll find a power and reset button along with two USB 3.1 Type-C ports. Behind them are a pair of legacy USB 2.0 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet port, while on the rear of the board you’ll find a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C connector and four additional USB 3.1 Gen1 ports. There’s also a six-pin supplemental power connector to support the platform’s extensive PCIe slots.
The UEFI for the X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC uses an aesthetic I’ve not seen MSI use on any other X399 motherboard, and it has a solid set of features to enable you to operate your system and configure it as you like. It has an Easy and Advanced mode, as well as overclocking settings and a good fan control. You’ll also get MSI’s software suite, which includes APP Manager, Command Center, Gaming LAN Manager, Live Update 6, Mystic Light, Smart Tool, RAMDisk and Super Charger.