CPU Cooler Fit and Included Accessories
CPU Cooler Fit
To test the amount of space surrounding the CPU socket, we mounted the Noctua NH-D14 cooler to the CPU socket. This behemoth CPU air cooler sports a dual fan construction and two huge vertical cooling towers.
Oriented with the fans blowing air towards the rear of the case, MSI provided more than adequate room along the front, back, and left side of the cooler (paralleling the PCI-Express slots) for mounting without inhibiting the VRM heat sinks, memory, or use of the primary PCI-Express x16 slot.
From looking at the cooler mounting from the right side view, there is more than enough room for memory modules with larger heat spreaders. However, if you choose to populate all four slots while using such a massive cooler, you may run into space issues requiring the of DIMMs with lower profile heat spreaders because of the proximity of the lower portion of the aluminum cooling towers.
The Noctua hold down mounts provide a good measure of how much space is located in between the physical CPU socket and the VRM heat sinks. Even with the massive amount of power circuitry spread around the CPU socket, there are no spacing issues (vertical or horizontal) when using the cooler mounting brackets.
While the under board cooling support plate goes on without issue, using a bracket with a wider configuration could rest on the exposed chips in close proximity to the socket back plate. With enough pressure, you could run the risk of damaging or crushing those delicate chips.
MSI bundles everything needed to get the board up and running with some added product-line swag to round out the package.
MSI includes all the user manuals, documentation, and install discs you'll need. Additionally, a fold-out board poster, an overclocking guide, and a board quality and stability certificate are included detailing out board features and overclocking pointers.
The included rear panel shield is done in a flat black color with yellow lettering and port highlights, matching the XPower board coloration.
MSI includes a total of six 6Gb/s rated SATA cables with integrated port locks and a mix of straight and 90 degree connectors.
For NVIDIA-based multi-GPU configurations, MSI included a total of three SLI cables: two double-slot cables and one triple-slot cable.
MSI also includes a rear panel bracket with MOLEX power and eSATA ports integrated. All cables required for use of the bracket are packaged as well.
Just in case you didn't have enough USB 3.0 ports accessible already, MSI includes a rear panel bracket with two additional USB 3.0 ports.
For 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality, MSI includes an add-in card that plugs into rear panel-integrated header, adding dual antenna ports to the rear panel assembly. The add-in card features an Intel Centrino-based 802.11 mPCIe card with support for Intel WiDi technology, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
For use with the Wi-Fi add-in card, MSI included two 802.11n-rated antennas. The antennas can be rotated in a 90 degree radius for optimal signal reception.
For use with the on-board front panel headers, MSI included their M-Connector plugs. You simply plug the front panel blocks into the M-Connector plug and the M-Connector plug into the appropriate board header. It makes installation the front panel header blocks much easier.
The included V-Check cables plug into the ports in the on-board V-Check Point block to give easy access for measuring board voltages directly. Instead of having to stick multi-meter leads directly into the board headers, you can attach them to these extension cables.
In line with the gaming-centered theme of the board, MSI includes an MPower-themed door knob hanger, a Dragon Gaming themed case sticker, and a SteelSeries Dragon Gaming themed mouse pad. Game on.