Conclusion

The MSI MEG X570 Unify is a bit of a niche product. While it is a competently executed motherboard with a solid feature set, the lack of RGB LED lighting makes it a divisive product. There are plenty of enthusiasts who don’t care about RGB LEDs and as I said earlier, there is the crowd that is deeply offended by them. This motherboard would be at home with either crowd. That said, RGB LED motherboards sell, and lots of people like them. I think RGB LED items have gone a bit overboard at times, but I still believe they can be used to showcase your system and can be done in a way that’s tasteful.

I’m glad the MSI MEG X570 Unify exists as it gives those who have ardent opinions about not paying for RGB LED lighting something they can purchase for a reasonable price. The MSI MEG X570 Unify has a solid VRM and a solid feature set which doesn’t make too many compromises to hit its price point.

Overclocking

Fortunately, or unfortunately, overclocking isn’t something that’s terribly interesting here. When you get down to it, as long as you have a reasonably good VRM and good environmental variables, it all comes down to the CPU. The settings and results I’ve seen and achieved on each motherboard using this same CPU have all been well…….the same.

That is to say that each of them can achieve memory clocks in excess of DDR4 3600MHz. Each of them can drive this CPU to 4.3GHz on an all-core overclock using a voltage setting of 1.35v. You can achieve this result effortlessly in both the UEFI BIOS or via Ryzen Master.

Operating Temperatures

When it comes to motherboard temperatures, the MSI MEG X570 Unify did well enough. The MOSFET temperatures measured around 122F/50c according to MSI’s Dragon Center software. This seemed to be fairly accurate as the infrared thermometer showed a result of between 119F/48c and 124F/51c at different points on each MOSFET heatsink. Aluminum heats up fairly evenly as it’s a good conductor. So, its probably only slightly hotter at the base of the heat sink.

Furthermore, the chipset reported temperatures of 120F/49c without the chipset fan ever engaging. It seems that MSI chose to prioritize silence over thermal performance. I have no doubt that in an actual chassis, this fan would actually run more often than it did on my test bench.

Naturally, I also verified the temperatures with HWInfo64, which showed exactly the same data as MSI’s software. The heat pipe setup for the MOSFETs seems to be one of the most efficient I’ve seen, but in fairness, its an open air test bench and its winter right now and quite cold in the office.

BIOS

Using the UEFI BIOS, the user experience is quite good. There are plenty of overclocking options to choose from. However, the interface does show its age at times. As I said before, MSI does employ far too many sub-menus which are entirely unnecessary. Despite its price, the MSI MEG X570 Unify has everything you need to achieve a solid overclock. Sometimes, settings you need to dial an overclock in are reserved for more expensive offerings.

Value

With some motherboards, there are a lot of things to talk about. Really expensive motherboards almost need to be justified or compared to cars such as a Ferrari in order for it to make any sense. Sometimes all you can do is justify a board by it being super nice, or exclusive in some way. On some ultra-low end boards, you basically have to excuse several issues, design flaws, a lack of features or whatever by its low price. “At least its cheap” becomes the reason for its’ existence.

The MSI MEG X570 Unify isn’t on the upper end of the cost spectrum so I don’t have to figure out where it fits in the market or try and isolate reasons why someone might want it. The MSI MEG X570 Unify is currently $299 at Amazon and $299 at Newegg. This isn’t the cheapest X570 board by any means, but it also isn’t near the high-end pricing of many X570 boards. It is at a price that sits mid-way between X570 SKUs. Given the features and performance, it seems appropriately priced for such a sleek motherboard with a clear theme. It also has an outstanding VRM in the segment. One that’s better than some similarly priced options from other vendors.

Effectively, the reason why this motherboard exists is to cater to a very specific crowd of people who either don’t care about, or absolutely hate RGB LED lighting. There are several people who hate RGB LED lighting to a degree that’s bordering on obsessive or even irrational. Even if you don’t care about RGB one way or the other, the blacked out theme is aesthetically pleasing for sure. If that’s appealing to you, then the MSI MEG X570 Unify is definitely for you.

Final Points

The MSI X570 Unify board is aesthetically pleasing as it is, so it is nice that it looks good despite being free of any lighting. The blacked-out theme will suit people well who are looking for a sleek yet simple design. I can imagine this motherboard being used with EK’s zero maintenance tubing and acetal water blocks in a custom loop build and think something along those lines would look amazing.

I really liked the MSI MEG X570 Unify. It is one of those motherboards that takes a “less is more” approach. There is everything you need and almost nothing you don’t. The only extra you really get is wireless. Which, depending on who you are you might actually want that. It did almost everything well and the only real technical complaint I have about it concerns the Realtek network controller. For the money, I can’t even fault MSI too much on that front.

At the end of the day, the MSI MEG X570 Unify is a very good mid-range motherboard that might just fit the bill if you’re looking for a high-performance motherboard without RGB LED lighting and a sleek aesthetic design.

I’m going to give this MSI gaming motherboard a silver award for two reasons. Primarily, it’s an excellent value as it provides the best VRM I’ve seen in its price range. The build quality is there and the feature set is fantastic aside from the Realtek NIC, which is still good on paper. It’s not the best NIC in its class, but again it’s one of the things MSI had to compromise on to keep the price down. Secondly, MSI chose to buck the RGB LED trend and provide something that’s visually unique and caters to a market that felt as though they weren’t being heard. For that, I think MSI nailed the design of the MSI MEG X570 Unify.

Discussion

TheFPSReview Silver Award

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28 Comments

  1. On Page 2, where you take a shot of the mobo layout – it appears you still have the protective sticker on the chipset HSF (“Play Hard, Stay Silent”). Was that intentional, or is that not a sticker and part of the intended aesthetic of the motherboard?

    1. No, it wasn’t intentional. It was something I realized at the end of the review process and didn’t have time to go back and reshoot the photo. Even if I had, it might not have matched the others in terms of lighting. I didn’t want to redo all the board shots as a result of my own OCD.
  2. @Brian_B That is a sticker that is there that you need to take off before use.

    And isn’t this one of the MSI boards reported to have poor overclocking because of the VRM configuration running hot?

  3. Also, I left a comment via the Leave A Reply block in the article. I had expected it to link back to this thread, but it doesn’t appear to have. Was that intended to link back to this discussion forum, or is it it’s own thread/discussion separate from the forum?

    I’m cool either way, just didn’t know what the expectation was. Just to clarify, I am logged into the WP front end, the comment does show as coming from my account, so it wasn’t that I was not logged in.

    Bloody buggy integration. It un-configured itself for no apparent reason. If I’ve fixed it, then this comment will show up both in the forums and on the article page. Not sure we can sync back the missing ones – sorry about that!

  4. I’d love to review the MSI TRX40 Pro 10G. Unfortunately, AMD never sent us a Threadripper CPU. We buy stuff as we need it, but sadly, Threadripper’s price point makes it cost prohibitive for us at this time. That said, I have seriously contemplated buying a Threadripper 3960X, using it for a couple of reviews and throwing it into my own system but I’ve had more pressing financial concerns.

    Ok, well if I pick one up or some other board I will post short review/tests here. Maybe late next month.

  5. Good review, thanks. But this guy will not spend more than $200 on a motherboard, and I would like to aim for much less than that. $150 is ok, $100 is even better. Not talking about Threadripper or exotic stuff.
  6. Good review, thanks. But this guy will not spend more than $200 on a motherboard, and I would like to aim for much less than that. $150 is ok, $100 is even better. Not talking about Threadripper or exotic stuff.

    We’re looking at doing a couple of budget X570 boards up next, so that may be relevant to your interests. Depends what @Brent_Justice can drum up for Dan…

  7. What does MEG stand for? MSI’s Extremely Greedy?

    Given the price point of motherboards like the Unify, that doesn’t really fit. If the "MEG" prefix was tied to motherboards like the GODLIKE exclusively, then you’d be right.

  8. Nice review, and nice MoBo!

    I’m thinking of going MSI for the next overhaul (R7 3700X).

    Here would be my typical usage scenario:
    – Use the AMD Wraith HSF
    – No CPU OC’ing (primarily gaming, so I’m more focused on the GPU)
    – All DIMM slots populated (4x8GB single rank modules)
    – Single GPU, and nothing else populating any other expansion slots

    Any thoughts on the MSI MPG X570 Gaming Plus?

  9. Nice review, and nice MoBo!

    I’m thinking of going MSI for the next overhaul (R7 3700X).

    Here would be my typical usage scenario:
    – Use the AMD Wraith HSF
    – No CPU OC’ing (primarily gaming, so I’m more focused on the GPU)
    – All DIMM slots populated (4x8GB single rank modules)
    – Single GPU, and nothing else populating any other expansion slots

    Any thoughts on the MSI MPG X570 Gaming Plus?

    I have some thoughts……………..

    -The Wraith is a bare bones, I don’t want to spend any money type of heat sink. If we were back in the old days when CPU clocks were fixed and it got the job done while making an awful racket (as stock coolers tend to do) you would be fine. That’s not how things work today. Clocks are variable and adjust based on thermals and other variables. If you use a low end cooler, your CPU will not boost as often or even clock as high as a better cooled CPU will. Getting a better quality air cooler will pay dividends in performance. Even on a "stock" CPU.

    -Overclocking doesn’t matter in this context. There are only really two kinds of overclocks with Ryzen 3000 series CPU’s. Manual all core overclocks and per CCX complex overclocks. Since you’ve chosen a Ryzen 7 3700X, you are in luck in that you only have a single chiplet rather than two. One of these tends to be substantially worse than the other, limiting overclocking potential. You won’t be held back by one "****let" on a 3700X. You also won’t need quite as much in the way of power delivery to overclock. Even so, you will find that overclocking a single CCX probably won’t benefit you that much. Manual all core overclocking on a 3700X can be potentially useful as you have much lower boost clocks than you would on a 3900X or 3950X.

    -This is a bad idea. Don’t do it. Stick with two DIMMs and two DIMMs only. Ryzen 3000 series CPU’s love higher memory clocks and tighter timings. You will not achieve this with four DIMMs. There is a point of diminishing returns after 3800MHz as Infinity Fabric clocks and memory clocks require a divider at that point. So, you don’t need ultra-expensive RAM, but going to four DIMMs means your limiting your RAM speed to DDR4 2933MHz or DDR4 2666MHz. Some people will achieve better, but you won’t be doing it on that board more than likely. While MSI’s do clock RAM fairly well, you need one of their better ones. I’ll get to that in just a moment.

    -This is fine. No one uses SLI anymore. Not even me. And I’ve used SLI from the 6800 Ultra days all the way through the GTX 1080 Ti. I used AMD’s Crossfire whenever I went AMD during that time as well. If I thought for a second I could get some extra performance consistently out of a second RTX 2080 Ti, I’d have a second one and I’d be running SLI. So you are good on this front.

    -To be blunt. MSI’s cheaper motherboards for X570 have VRM’s that run way too **** hot. To the tune of about 30-40c hotter than they should in some cases. MSI’s MEG X570 Gaming Ace and MEG X570 Unify are about as low as you really want to go if your going with MSI. Yes, that’s right. You need to be at about $300 or better with MSI or you aren’t getting what you are paying for. Hardware Unboxed did a good job of covering this. Eventually, MSI even admitted that the design of their lower end VRM’s were pretty bad.

    In other words, I wouldn’t go with such a low end motherboard from MSI. If you are looking to spend less than $250 on a motherboard, stick with GIGABYTE or ASUS.

  10. Dan, you got my hopes up and I go try to buy it and everyone is out, Both New Egg & Amazon say unavailable and do not know if they will get any more in stock. o_O
  11. I keep wondering should I buy one of these boards when they come in stock since I plan on upgrading to the 4000 series eventually or should I wait? Not sure what’s going to happen with supply and demand in the future.

    Edit: I bought one of these boards off Amazon to "fiddle" with. Won’t be here until June. I plan on possibly going to Zen 3 when those come out so due to the shortage now on boards I wanted to get one in hand.

  12. Thanks for the thorough review. I’ve been considering purchasing an MSI MEG X570 Unify MB for some time now. I just want to confirm that the board does not support RAID for the M.2 NVMe drives. While the manual doesn’t seem to mention it, the manual for the X570 ACE seems to allude to NVMe RAID, but doesn’t come right out and say it is supported. I’ve seen people claim in other posts that they are running Sabrent Rocket NVMe drives in a RAID 0 config on a Unify MB, so I’m seeking the truth… The ACE and Unify are fairly similar. They run the same PIDE/SATA, and System/Chipset drivers. And, while the BIOS versions are off, they both run a derivative of AMI 7C35V, and the comments in the BIOS updates are identical even though the ending versions are different. I’d just like to know for certain if this board can handle RAID 0 on NVMe drives.
    Thanks once again.
    Steve
  13. Thanks for the thorough review. I’ve been considering purchasing an MSI MEG X570 Unify MB for some time now. I just want to confirm that the board does not support RAID for the M.2 NVMe drives. While the manual doesn’t seem to mention it, the manual for the X570 ACE seems to allude to NVMe RAID, but doesn’t come right out and say it is supported. I’ve seen people claim in other posts that they are running Sabrent Rocket NVMe drives in a RAID 0 config on a Unify MB, so I’m seeking the truth… The ACE and Unify are fairly similar. They run the same PIDE/SATA, and System/Chipset drivers. And, while the BIOS versions are off, they both run a derivative of AMI 7C35V, and the comments in the BIOS updates are identical even though the ending versions are different. I’d just like to know for certain if this board can handle RAID 0 on NVMe drives.
    Thanks once again.
    Steve

    I just fired it up and looked through the BIOS and did not find a single thing alluding to being able to configure RAID for the NVMe devices. It’s possible I didn’t look in the right place, so I can page @Dan_D to see if I’m looking in the wrong place.

    1. Thanks for the prompt response. I’d really like to know for certain. I’ve posted a question on Newegg.com, and have also tried emailing MSI. The onboard M.2 sockets are nice, but not a huge benefit if RAID 0 isn’t available. RAID 0 on 2 or 3 NVMe cards would really make this baby fly.
  14. It doesn’t help that MSI’s specifications aren’t terribly clear on the subject. The way it’s worded in their detailed specifications, it gives the impression that support for NVMe RAID can go either way. However, I was never able to figure out how to enable it. Therefore, I do not believe it supports the feature at all.

    Typically, you have to go into a higher price bracket to support NVMe RAID. Also, I have tested the feature on higher end MSI boards, so I am confident that the MSI X570 Unify does not support the feature.

    1. It would appear to be possible based on what I’m reading on various forum threads. Just in case you get a chance to try it out, this doc has the instructions.
      https://1drv.ms/b/s!AhF0C_g0rDpxjX72o6P8tNwfCPtz?e=QPKL3U
      I’m still evaluating boards. I was about set on the Unify, but now I’m considering the Asus Hero, Gigabyte Aorus , or ASRock Taichi as possible alternatives. Really liked the looks of the Unify, but a PC needs more than looks.
  15. Well this board is looking like the one that will replace now my defunct ASUS CrossHair 6 Hero. Now I will try to run 4 B-Die sticks with her, 32gb, 3600MHZ+ would be the goal. Unexpected failure with the Crosshair but that is how it goes sometimes, lasted 3.5 years and died.
  16. Dan,
    I just purchased this board. I was looking to get a X570 Tomahawk, but they are as expensive as the unify and the unify has a few more features. My main concern is that this board does not support M.2 NVMe. Your review says that two slots do support NVMe however, a article I just read said the Unify does not support NVMe. I scoured the MSI website and nowhere do I read about NVMe support. Where did you get your info? Thanks
  17. By the way, nice review. I did see under expansion you said " The motherboard has three M.2 SSD slots. Two of which support both NVMe and SATA type devices and drives as long as 80mm." yet you said it does not support NVMe Raid " The MSI MEG X570 Unify does not support M.2 NVMe RAID. Therefore, we obviously don’t have numbers for that." Why one and not the other?

    Dan,
    I just purchased this board. I was looking to get a X570 Tomahawk, but they are as expensive as the unify and the unify has a few more features. My main concern is that this board does not support M.2 NVMe. Your review says that two slots do support NVMe however, a article I just read said the Unify does not support NVMe. I scoured the MSI website and nowhere do I read about NVMe support. Where did you get your info? Thanks

  18. By the way, nice review. I did see under expansion you said " The motherboard has three M.2 SSD slots. Two of which support both NVMe and SATA type devices and drives as long as 80mm." yet you said it does not support NVMe Raid " The MSI MEG X570 Unify does not support M.2 NVMe RAID. Therefore, we obviously don’t have numbers for that." Why one and not the other?

    Unless I misread your response…

    I think you must have missed it.

    Step 1. Go here: https://www.msi.com/Motherboard/MEG-X570-UNIFY

    Step 2 read this:

    • Lightning Fast Game Experience: PCIe 4.0, Triple Lightning Gen4 x4 M.2 with M.2 Shield Frozr, StoreMI, AMD Turbo USB 3.2 Gen2.

    View attachment 612

  19. Dan,
    I just purchased this board. I was looking to get a X570 Tomahawk, but they are as expensive as the unify and the unify has a few more features. My main concern is that this board does not support M.2 NVMe. Your review says that two slots do support NVMe however, a article I just read said the Unify does not support NVMe. I scoured the MSI website and nowhere do I read about NVMe support. Where did you get your info? Thanks

    NVMe and RAID have nothing to do with each other. RAID support is a matter of enabling the feature via firmware. Nothing more. In any case, the specifications list RAID support, but not specifically for the M.2 slots. Typically RAID support is listed for the M.2 devices specifically when the support is there. I don’t have the motherboard in my possession anymore to check it but I could have missed it. MSI’s product page isn’t super clear on it.

  20. NVMe and RAID have nothing to do with each other. RAID support is a matter of enabling the feature via firmware. Nothing more. In any case, the specifications list RAID support, but not specifically for the M.2 slots. Typically RAID support is listed for the M.2 devices specifically when the support is there. I don’t have the motherboard in my possession anymore to check it but I could have missed it. MSI’s product page isn’t super clear on it.

    Not to mention some motherboard companies are letting the windows raid mean raid support.

    Problem here is that tonget raid support you would need all of your nvme ports in use passing through the raid controller logic. What happens on many of these boards is the first or first two nvme ports are direct to cpu. The rest are actually through the motherboard chipset. What you would need to have is a pcie nvme raid controller card in an x8 or x16 slot to actually get a solid raid controller. (With a couple gig of built in raid cache would help.)

  21. Not to mention some motherboard companies are letting the windows raid mean raid support.

    Problem here is that tonget raid support you would need all of your nvme ports in use passing through the raid controller logic. What happens on many of these boards is the first or first two nvme ports are direct to cpu. The rest are actually through the motherboard chipset. What you would need to have is a pcie nvme raid controller card in an x8 or x16 slot to actually get a solid raid controller. (With a couple gig of built in raid cache would help.)

    It’s just the first M.2 slot that goes through the CPU. There are 4x PCIe Gen 4.0 lanes dedicated to storage off the CPU. It is possible to split these, but you end up with a configuration of 2x M.2 slots that only have 2x PCIe Gen 4.0 lanes each. They also have the option of using those lanes for SATA ports. I have yet to see a manufacturer offer anything but a single 4x PCIe lane M.2 solution with those lanes.

    NVMe RAID implementations on motherboards simply use 8x PCIe lanes (which gives them 2x slots) off the PCH. There is no caching or anything like that. There is no dedicated ASIC for parity calculations which is ideal for RAID 5 and RAID 6 support.

    Every motherboard I’ve ever worked with in the consumer market implements these things the same way. The only difference is between Intel vs. AMD. AMD implements one M.2 slot through the CPU and the rest through the PCH. Intel does all three through the PCH.

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