Featuring a 14-phase (12+1+1) DigitALL VRM with DrMOS, Military Class 6 components with Titanium Choke II and plenty of other high-end features like the MSI Steel Armor, Audio Boost 4, DDR4 Boost, Dual Intel LAN and MSI Mystic Light for some RGB lighting, the new MSI X299 XPower Gaming AC motherboard is obviously a high-end flagship motherboard.
Specification-wise, the X299 XPower Gaming AC motherboard supports up to 128GB of DDR4 memory in eight slots (DDR4-4133+ for quad-channel and DDR4-4500+ for dual-channel), has four PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (all with Steel Armor reinforcement and support for x8/x8/x16/x8 mode with 44-lane CPU, x8/x8/x8/x4 with 28-lane CPU and x8/x0/x4/x4 with 16-lane CPU) and one PCI-Express 3.0 x1 slot, ten SATA 6Gbps ports, single U.2 port, three USB 3.1 Gen2, ten USB 3.1 Gen1 and six USB 2.0 ports, 7.1-channel Realtek ALC1120 audio, dual Gigabit Intel Ethernet (I219-V and I211), integrated dual-band 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth in the third M.2 (key-E) slot and more.
One thing that stands out is the fact that the MSI X299 XPower Gaming AC motherboard comes with a total of five M.2 slots, including three on the motherboard, with M2_1 and M2_2 slot supporting PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA 6Gbps, as well as Intel Optane, and share the same bandwidth, and M2_3 slot already taken by the 802.11ac+Bluetooth card. All three M.2 slots on the board come with MSI's own M.2 Shield Frozr, with the first M.2 slot using a special version which is connected to the PCH heatsink.
The other two M.2 slots come from a special bundled MSI XPander-Z riser card which uses PCIe 3.0 x8 connection and gives you two additional 110mm PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots. According to MSI, this card supports Intel VROC technology which allows you to set up a RAID-0 configuration directly from the CPU side.
The new MSI X299 XPower Gaming AC motherboard is obviously the best that you can get from an Intel X299 chipset based motherboard but, unfortunately, MSI did not reveal any details on the price or the availability date but a quick check revealed it is listed in Europe for around €450, which is quite a hefty price but still cheaper than Asus' ROG Rampage VI Apex and Rampage VI Extreme as well as Gigabyte's X299 Aorus Gaming 9.