An X299-system is interesting for people that edit and render video, but for extreme overclockers it is also the ultimate hobby product with Intel’s most expensive processors. Both ASUS and MSI cater to this market and have a motherboard completely meant for overclocking, respectively the Rampage VI Apex and the X299 XPower Gaming AC. Which is the better one? Time to find out!
Before we go into more detail about all of the possibilities and of course the extensive overclocking features, we want to take a moment to cover the design and positioning. This is because both motherboards are something special. While the MSI XPower has been a known concept for years, this is the first ASUS Apex-motherboard in the Rampage-series. Earlier this year with the Z270-generation we saw the introduction of Apex as indicator of a true overclocking board. Up until that point all overclocking features were added in the Extreme-model, but overclockers do not need all of the extra possibilities of such a completely decked out board – especially considering those features also increase the price of the product. This is why ASUS introduced the Apex as the ultimate overclocking board without unnecessary extras.
In terms of design both manufacturers use grey and black, allowing you to set the rgb-lighting to any colour you want without it not meshing well with the components of the board. The Apex stands out because of the cut-outs of the pcb in multiple parts, giving it an aggressive aesthetic. MSI equips the XPower with M.2-heatsinks and a chipset-heatsink that is supposed to look like a reactor. On the back we find some kind of ‘armor’, which makes it so that the board feels more rigid.
At the time of writing the availability of the Rampage VI Apex is not that great, but ASUS did let us know that the store price of this board should eventually settle at around 530 dollars. The X299 XPower Gaming AC is already in stock and has an average price of 520 dollars.