MSI springs a leak; next-gen motherboard details slip out

There may be some sort of new Intel processor release coming soon, something that I, as a new contributor to TR, wouldn't know anything about. I dunno. But as luck would have it, we've obtained a little bit of information about what MSI's next-gen motherboards may feature. I'll show you if you can keep a secret. Shh—don't tell anybody, okay? 

The first thing on tap is a backplate, which MSI calls Reactive Armor.  Using an insulator between the motherboard with all its electrical components and the (mostly) metal case makes sense, and having some reinforcement on the back should help protect against board flex. 

In the same vein, protecting a motherboard from an unexpected shock on the back doesn't do any good if your PC takes a zap over an Ethernet cable. MSI will apparently include enhanced overvoltage protection called LAN Protect. This feature is already shipping on the X99A Godlike Gaming board we covered back in June.

M.2 storage is definitely the way of the future, and MSI seems prepared for that with something it's calling Twin Turbo M.2. On the aforementioned X99A Godlike Gaming, the Turbo M.2 moniker means that board's M.2 slot is paired with four lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity, good for a claimed 32Gb/s. The presence of a pair of these slots could imply that the as-yet-unknown new CPUs or chipsets have plenty of PCI Express lanes on tap. We'll have to wait and see. 

Ben Funk

Sega nerd and guitar lover

Comments closed
    • wingless
    • 5 years ago

    A single big turbo is better. More boost and a faster spool up is the way to go bruh!….Oh wait, this is a motherboard?!

      • rika13
      • 5 years ago

      Big turbos take longer to spool, good ol’ Newtonian physics at work.

    • CrazyElf
    • 5 years ago

    This looks rather like the Asus ROG Armor on the Asus Maximus Z97 Formula series.

    That being said, I like the fact that they added this on. It should help improve the rigidity of the motherboard, especially for those big triple slot GPUs and heavy CPU coolers that with fans, can weigh over 1.5kg.

      • moshpit
      • 5 years ago

      Having the shield on the Asus Sabertooth P67 for several years now, I can say it has been nice having the extra layer of protection over my components through several moves and a few mishaps.

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 5 years ago

    Wait, what?!? There is something new on the horizon?

    *Searching Google…*

    Aaaaah! A lake in the sky?! So, when it falls, we will sure know about it! The horror!

    /weak attempt at a joke
    //going back to work, so excuse me

    • just brew it!
    • 5 years ago

    It does not look like it is attached at enough points to do much for motherboard flex. Protecting the traces on the back of the board from ESD during handling is a win though, given that a lot of DIYers don’t follow proper ESD handling procedures. It might even end up saving MSI money on RMAs over the long run.

    • albundy
    • 5 years ago

    Reactive Armor and LAN voltage protection to the rescue! Now with extra cheese and even more gimmicks! Although, I’m not really sure how my router would send a signal strong enough to zap my motherboard. Maybe if I plug it into my wall power socket…

    • DPete27
    • 5 years ago

    So, I assume the reactive armor is a plastic plate…..this sounds so pointless. Is shorting the motherboard on the case tray really a thing? (notice there are still areas that aren’t covered where a loose screw could settle into and short things out regardless)

    • USAFTW
    • 5 years ago

    I see they forfeited the ability for full-length ultra M.2 for PCI-E x2 slots in front of both – poor design choice there in my book.

    • DreadCthulhu
    • 5 years ago

    While the name is a bit silly (something like “anti-shock armor” or “shock block” would sound just as cool, and be more accurate), it seems like pretty clever, simple, and cheap to implement idea to keep you from accidentally your motherboard. I am surprised I haven’t seen this before.

      • Thrashdog
      • 5 years ago

      Did you accidentally an entire motherboard?

        • curtisb
        • 5 years ago

        Man, I hate when I accidentally an entire motherboard!

      • Voldenuit
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]it seems like pretty clever, simple, and cheap to implement idea to keep you from accidentally your motherboard.[/quote<] I once accidentally the whole thing.

        • curtisb
        • 5 years ago

        You know, I pondered this for a while. I think if I was going to accidentally it, I would rather accidentally the whole thing instead of accidentally part of it. If that happened I might be tempted to purposely the rest of it.

      • moshpit
      • 5 years ago

      Much wow. So accidentally. Must Doge.

      • GKey13
      • 5 years ago

      “I am surprised I haven’t seen this before.” Uh, straight up copy of ASUS’ implementation over the past few years along with the LAN Protect option.

    • chuckula
    • 5 years ago

    Uh… “Reactive Armor”
    I get the stupid marketing schtick here, but uh….. do they actually know what reactive armor is and how it works exactly? If I assumed that my targeted consumer base was intelligent then I wouldn’t be running around acting like strapping explosives to my motherboard is a good thing. Then again, if I assumed that my targeted consumer base was a bunch of idiots well….

      • Anovoca
      • 5 years ago

      AND THEY HAVE DRAGONS!!!!!!

        • chuckula
        • 5 years ago

        Well in that case… EXPLODING DRAGONS FTW!

          • dodozoid
          • 5 years ago

          I wouldnt want to have exploding dragons in my case… must produce a lot of heat to dissipate

            • NTMBK
            • 5 years ago

            Water cooling is your friend

            • dodozoid
            • 5 years ago

            you mean water-cooled-explosive-dragons… much hot, so cool, wow

            • nanoflower
            • 5 years ago

            If I’ve got water cooled explosive dragons producing heat does that mean there’s enough steam to power the computer? Have you just made a self-powering PC?

            • curtisb
            • 5 years ago

            So that’s what a Steam Box is?

          • derFunkenstein
          • 5 years ago

          Oh, Exploding Dragons, they did that Radioactive song right?

      • Nevermind
      • 5 years ago

      Then you’d be sure to make it look fancy with LED’s and flux capacitors.

      • jihadjoe
      • 5 years ago

      In the event of a terrorist attack or WW3, MSI’s new motherboard can double as a Claymore!

      • CrazyElf
      • 5 years ago

      Technically there is NERA “Non Explosive Reactive Armor”.

      But yeah, it’s just marketing.

      • Mr Bill
      • 5 years ago

      Ablative Armor

    • Ninjitsu
    • 5 years ago

    So if some one shoots the back it lets of a small explosion to save the motherboard?

    Okay, okay, I forgive marketing for that one.

    But do PCs really get 15KV shocks from the router on a regular basis?

      • kmieciu
      • 5 years ago

      Depends on your network connection. First network in my neighborhood years ago was build with unshielded cables hanging in the air and got fried every storm. We had to remember to disconnect everything before storm.

        • Ninjitsu
        • 5 years ago

        Ah. We get ADSL, so all cables are underground, and I think the router would get fried first…

      • stdRaichu
      • 5 years ago

      Personally I use steampunk networking and thus use TCP/IP over Tesla coil.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 5 years ago

      An explosion of awesome, surely…

      • just brew it!
      • 5 years ago

      On a regular basis? No. But plain old static electricity can reach 25KV under low humidity conditions; so your port is definitely at risk for this level of shock when you’re plugging/unplugging the Ethernet cable.

      • Nevermind
      • 5 years ago

      and moreover, does LIGHTNING limit itself to 15KV?

        • just brew it!
        • 5 years ago

        Of course not. But the better protection you have, the more likely you are to survive whatever manages to make it through your broadband modem/router. Furthermore, as I noted in my other reply, practically speaking I think this is more about ESD protection when you’re moving Ethernet cables around than it is about lightning.

    • TwoEars
    • 5 years ago

    Can you boot from the m2 drive these days? I think with the first m2 motherboards you couldn’t.

      • kuttan
      • 5 years ago

      This new platform may include full NVMe support for OS booting support.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      Z97 boards were updated to boot from NVMe drives and can boot from M.2. Hard to imagine going backwards.

    • LostCat
    • 5 years ago

    It looks moderately well prepared for planetary bombardment.

      • moshpit
      • 5 years ago

      Only when it raises it’s shields…

    • Jigar
    • 5 years ago

    I don’t like the place of M.2 Slots, Graphic cards produce a lot of heat and flash storage performance degrades when under high temperatures.

      • Topinio
      • 5 years ago

      No it doesn’t, it improves.

      The best data retention on NAND is to write to it while it’s hot and store it cool.

      Ofc, the controller performance drops off if it gets too hot and has to throttle …

      • Chrispy_
      • 5 years ago

      I have often wondered why M.2 slots aren’t vertical. Everything other port on a board (except some SATA) is vertical and although the space behind a PCIe x1 slot is “wasted”, if it were ertical at the edge of the board and out of the way of other things – say next to the hulking great big USB3 internal cable, it would at least be in the airflow.

        • emredjan
        • 5 years ago

        ASUS has vertical M.2 slots in some of their motherboards (X99 series for example). They even come with a support bracket for stability.

      • Anovoca
      • 5 years ago

      (Shrug) Heat rises.

        • Deanjo
        • 5 years ago

        And hugging the board traps hot air, with most systems being towers, I don’t think a vertical slot would be to much to be concerned about.

        • colinstu12
        • 5 years ago

        regardless, it increases ambient temps (especially any area directly around the card, no matter which direction it is).

        There are better places to put M.2 cards, between the [primary] PCIe slots doesn’t seem like the best idea.

      • USAFTW
      • 5 years ago

      And the recent M2 SSD review proves that there’s a possibility of flash overheating and throttling to prevent a burnout.
      Edit: for reference:
      [url<]https://techreport.com/review/28446/samsung-sm951-pcie-ssd-reviewed/2[/url<]

      • Andrew Lauritzen
      • 5 years ago

      I’ve tested this (with an IR thermometer) in the past and perhaps surprisingly not a lot of the heat from GPUs ends up concentrated near the motherboard under the GPU. i.e. the main effect a GPU with a decent cooler has is ambient, so it doesn’t make a huge difference where you put the M.2 on the board unless it’s right in front of a fan or something 🙂

      I’d love to see more thorough testing of this on TR’s motherboard reviews as it may have been specific to the board/case I was testing, but it’s not obvious to me (yet) that the placement is actually an issue, even though it does seem like it might be intuitively.

      • SomeOtherGeek
      • 5 years ago

      My biggest concern is not the heat, it is the fact that you have to take out the card in the PCIe slot to even get to the M.2… Just seems weird. The holders for the RAM is tested and works. Why can’t they do something like that? Whatever.

      • VincentHanna
      • 5 years ago

      Well then, get stock blower style GPUs that don’t blow hot air directly onto your new not-ginormous-GPU-sized SSDs, and you’ll be fine.

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