MSI MEG X570 ACE Review 34

MSI MEG X570 ACE Review

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Introduction

MSI Logo

Reviews have been written, benchmarks run, and graphs plotted. The Ryzen 3000 series has lived up to the hype in almost every way. There is finally real competition in the mainstream CPU marketplace, and with competition comes greater consumer choice. One of the biggest debates that is still ongoing with this launch is which chipset to buy. Do you need X570?

Unlike Intel, AMD has made a commitment to supporting the AM4 socket over multiple CPU generations. So far, the team in red has held to that promise, and the new Zen 2 processors are widely supported on older-generation motherboards. While this is great for consumers, it also creates more complexity as more choice inevitably must. Do you need a new X570 motherboard? Due to the cost of the new chipset, the new generation of boards are more expensive feature for feature than the last two generations. This is largely due to PCIe 4.0, a costly and complex feature to implement.

In the graphics department, no card on the market has saturated even PCIe 3.0 yet, at least in the x16 configuration. The largest immediate benefit is with high-speed storage. NVMe drives in RAID configurations can and will take advantage of the extra bandwidth to push never before seen sequential read and write speeds. With your average game, even the switch from SATA to NVMe can be hard to notice, let alone to an even faster and more expensive RAID array. This is more relevant for content creation and media production, where high-speed storage can save significant time and therefore money, which is further bolstered by the near-HEDT core counts on the high-end Ryzen 3000 CPUs. Of course, graphics cards will eventually catch up as well, so for the discerning gamer who only upgrades every three to five years, the new standard could prove a good investment as well.

With the MEG X570 ACE, MSI is targeting the top end of the mainstream category. While the flagship boards range from $500 to $1000, these high-end mainstream boards sit in the $350 to $370 range. For that price, you get most of the flagship features and performance. With X570, this price point is especially competitive because of offerings from all four major board vendors with nearly identical specs. They all feature WiFi 6, 2.5 Gb/s LAN from Realtek, an overkill VRM design of one sort or another, and all the basic overclocking aides.

MSI has their work cut out for them, and they came prepared. The MEG X570 ACE features a heat pipe connecting the chipset and VRM heatsinks, so that the chipset fan, which turns off completely when not needed, can stay powered down for as much as possible. Aside from the heatpipe, the MEG X570 ACE will have to prove its worth through performance and overclocking, so let's get to it.





Specifications

Specifications
CPU Support:AMD AM4 socket Ryzen 2000 and 3000 series processors
Power Design: CPU Power: 14 phase
Memory Power: 1 phase
Chipset:AMD X570
Integrated Graphics:Dependent on installed CPU
Memory:4x DIMM, Support Dual Channel DDR4-4600 MHz
BIOS:AMI UEFI BIOS
Expansion Slots: 3x PCIe 4.0 x16 slots (x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/x4)
2x PCIe 4.0 x1 slots
Storage: 4x SATA 6 Gb/s port
2x M.2 port (SATA3/PCIe 4.0 x4)
Networking:1x Intel I211AT Gigabit LAN
1x Realtek RTL8125 2.5 Gb/s LAN1x Intel 802.11ax WiFi
Rear Ports: 1x Clear CMOS Button
1x Flash BIOS Button
2x SMA antenna connectors
1x Optical SPDIF out port
2x LAN (RJ45) port
1x USB 3.1 (Gen2) Type-C port
3x USB 3.1 (Gen2) Type-A port
2x USB 3.1 (Gen1) ports
2x USB 2.0 ports
5x 3.5 mm Audio jacks
1x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard combo port
Audio:1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec
Fan Headers:7x 4-pin
Form Factor:ATX Form Factor: 12.0 in x 9.6 in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
Exclusive Features:
  • Audio Boost HD
  • Nahimic3
  • Gaming LAN Manager
  • Triple Lightning 4 M.2
  • Frozr heatsink design
  • Mystic Light infinity
  • Mystic Light 3
  • DDR4 steel armour
  • PCIe steel armor
  • GAME Boost
  • Core Boost
  • Dragon Center
  • Click BIOS 5
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A and Type-C
  • Supports AMD Three-way CrossFire
  • Supports NVIDIA 2-way SLI

Packaging and Contents


The front of the MEG X570 ACE box features a dark background with a print of shattering glass, as well as a shot of the board. "MEG X570 ACE" is on the right side, just above a large AMD X570 brand badge. "MSI" features in the top left and "Lightning Gen4" in the top right. There is more AMD badging in the bottom left.

The back of the box is exactly what I look for in motherboard packaging. There is a shot of the board in the center, with a rear I/O diagram just below it and a spec sheet below that. On either side of the board are highlights for standout features, such as the 2.5 Gb/s LAN.


Opening the box, the board sits encased in an anti-static bag, inside a cardboard tray. The accessories are stored below the tray.


The accessories are mostly standard-fare, but with some nice additions, like an MSI-branded cloth bag and SATA cable labels. Notably absent is any kind of rear I/O shield because the shield is integrated into the board. I am very happy with how often I have been seeing this feature lately, and props to MSI for incorporating it into the MEG X570 ACE.

The full list of accessories includes:
  • Manual and support DVD
  • Product registration card
  • Cloth carry bag
  • Product catalog and giveaway registration card
  • 4x SATA 6 Gb/s cables
  • 4x LED extension cable
  • 2x M.2 mounting screws
  • Case badge
  • SATA cable labels
  • Product registration card

Board Layout


The MEG X570 ACE features a matte black PCB with dark gunmetal gray heatsinks and golden lettering. "ACE" is printed on the rear I/O cover, and "MEG" is on top of the VRM heatsink. The chipset heatsink has a dragon graphic, and the M.2 heatsinks each feature "Lighnting Gen4 M.2". Lastly, the audio cover has "audio boost HD". The back of the MEG X570 ACE is a uniform matte black.


The CPU socket is open enough to accommodate most coolers, and the VRM heatsink looks quite capable.


The MEG X570 ACE goes completely overboard with two 8-pin EPS inputs. While the VRM would technically require both to be maxed out, no AM4 CPU is capable of maxing out even one 8-pin.


There are three M.2 slots on the MEG X570 ACE. The first sits just under the CPU socket, the second to the right of the first PCIe 4.0 x1 slot, and the last between the second and third PCIe 4.0 X16 slots. The bottom two slots are not full length if the heatsink is used, so check compatibility before buying if you have more than one M.2 SSD.


The M.2 sockets all feature heatsinks. Each heatsink utilizes only a single screw, which itself is captive, along with a machined slot in the chipset heatsink. This mounting system is much more elegant than most, and far easier to work with.


The chipset fan is under a brushed metal plate. The plate is stuck on with adhesive, which could make replacing the fan a little more work than on other designs. Since the chipset heatsink is connected to the VRM heatsink with a heatpipe, the fan on the MEG X570 ACE should run less often than on most boards.


The MEG X570 ACE offers three PCI Express 4.0 x16 slots, all of which are encased in metal reinforcement, as well as two PCI Express 4.0 x1 slots. The board has a total of just four SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and all are angled 90 degrees from the board.


The MEG X570 ACE has a good rear I/O offering that includes a BIOS Flashback USB port and an optical S/PDIF out port. Everything is well labeled on the themed, integrated backplate. The full list includes:
  • 1x Clear CMOS button
  • 1x Flash BIOS button
  • 2x WiFi antenna connectors
  • 1x PS/2 keyboard and mouse combo connector
  • 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports
  • 3x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A ports
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port
  • 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • 2x RJ-45 LAN port
  • 1x Optical SPDIF out port
  • 5x 3.5 mm audio jacks

Networking on the MEG X570 ACE is handled by an Intel I211AT and an Intel 802.11ax WiFi adapter, while the 2.5 Gb/s LAN is powered by a Realtek RTL8125.
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May 19th, 2022 08:03 EDT change timezone

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