My Core i7 5960X + MSI X99 Experience So Far: It's Smoking, Really
Written by Michael Larabel in Motherboards on 6 September 2014. Page 2 of 2. 52 Comments

During that system build Friday night everything was going smooth and for such a beautiful build had decided to house it inside a SilverStone Raven RV05 that I was in the process of reviewing. Everything went smooth up until powering it on... The Raven RV05 panels were off and the case not fully assembled. When I hit the power button and expecting to see the Core i7 5960X in action, all I saw was one quick flame from near the X99 Chipset heatsink along with smoke and additionally smoke near the VRM heatsinks by the LGA-2011v3 socket.

There were no cables or anything near the chipset area on the motherboard to potentially yield an electrical short and cause this reaction. When disconnecting everything, there is indeed a burn mark right by the X99 chipset on the MSI motherboard PCB. The burn mark spans about an inch and a half. As of writing I haven't been able to locate where the second source of the smoke was coming from by the CPU socket area, due to the PCB being black and potentially being covered up by the power circuitry heatsink.

Anyhow, I've already started an RMA with NewEgg to return this motherboard for a refund. In its place from Amazon I settled the Gigabyte X99 4-Way SLI/CrossFireX ATX motherboard. This motherboard offers similar functionality to the MSI X99 board (hopefully sans the burning element) and retails currently for about $260. That board will be arriving now on Monday so stay tuned for the Linux testing of the i7-5960X and related components to hopefully commence early next week. Let's just hope the DDR4 memory and Core i7 5960X EE weren't damaged by this smoky MSI X99 motherboard...

I'll update this article if I end up hearing anymore about this issue from MSI, Intel, or others.

Update (10 September): MSI USA received the damaged motherboard and is sending it off to their Taiwan HQ for further analysis. So far it sounds like it should be an isolated incident and will post back when hearing anything else from MSI about the situation.


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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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