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MSI X99A TOMAHAWK LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 ATX Motherboards - Intel
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

1 out of 5 eggs Great except for issue with PCIe 3.0x4 M.2 slot 01/04/2017

This review is from: MSI X99A TOMAHAWK LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 ATX Motherboards - Intel

Pros: Great BIOS. Tons of options and mouse support.
Booted first try.
Board laid out fairly well, no fitment issues.
No problems with my new 6800K CPU or DDR4-3000 G.Skill ram.
Included software works great. Live Update is very useful to download supplementary programs like the included RAMDisk.
RAMDisk software works great, also.

Cons: One (huge) con: I'm having no luck in getting full performance out of the PCIe 3.0x4 M.2 slot. Tried every BIOS setting I could find and the board would never recognize a device was installed there. Samsung 950 Pro 256gb.

Other Thoughts: The compatible parts list shows the 950 Pro 512gb, so why would the 256 be any different? A lot of googling and forum research advised me to put the M.2 slot into PCH mode, which has a "speed limit" of something like 900mb/s. Well under the 2500mb/s performance of the drive. However, I was able to install Windows 10 from a UEFI USB drive this way. Tested the drive with Samsung Magician, and yep, ~850mb/s. Attempting to force the BIOS back to a full speed M.2 slot made the drive "disappear" until I reverted to PCH mode again. This issue has been reported by many other users across different M.2 SSDs, so I'm confident my board isn't defective.

Personally, the current generation of PCIe SSDs is a large part of why I made the upgrade. I'm taking 2 eggs because there is no good reason the board should not be running the M.2 slot at its full capability. I've got a support ticket in with MSI, as well as forum entries. I'm afraid I'm going to get the same answer that some others got, which was "Here is a link to the compatible storage device list.". Until they provide a fix or resolution, I'm giving this thing 3 eggs.

**EDIT**
Changed to 1 star. Manufacturer responded to my tech support request for resolution as to why I am unable to achieve full m.2 bandwidth. Their response was to provide a link to their qualified vendor list page. That's it.

My research into the X99 chipset is not telling me that there is a limit to the m.2 slot's capability when using a 28 lane CPU. So, why is MSI hamstringing this board? I'm using 1 video card (16 lanes). That's it. I know some of the other lanes are taken up by USB, etc. So why knock the m.2 slot down to 1 lane from 4? The lanes are controlled dynamically. Install more GPUs and they can change how many lanes they use.

I'm not seeing this issue being brought up by other users of X99 motherboards, so I think it is unique to MSI. As such, I'm returning this board based on the misrepresentation of the documentation that states the m.2 port should be full PCIe 3.0 x4 when there is not a U2 device connected. This isn't the case and there are other users out there reporting the same.

I love my MSI gaming laptop, but they've lost a customer forever. Blame the technical department for their poor documentation, customer service/support, and design for this awkward m.2 issue.

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SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 2280 256GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-V5P256BW
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: FAST
Small. Tiny, in fact.

Cons: None*

Other Thoughts: *My motherboard is having issues trying to run this thing at its full speed. I'm forced to run it in PCH mode which is limited to about 900mb/s. I don't think its a problem with the drive, but more with my mobo. PCIe and M.2 slots are still fairly new-ish, so I think there are still some kinks to be worked out. I hope my board manufacturer (MSI) can resolve the issue that prevents this drive from working at its ridiculously fast potential.

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G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3000 (PC4 24000) Desktop Memory Model F4-3000C15Q-32GRK
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Fast.
Works as advertised.
No dead modules.
XMP works.

Cons: None.

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Jesse S.'s Profile

Display Name: Jesse S.

Date Joined: 07/01/04

  • Reviews: 41
  • Helpfulness: 18
  • First Review: 05/20/07
  • Last Review: 01/04/17
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