Subsystem Testing Continued

LAN Speed Test software was used with Windows Task Manager to determine the performance levels of the onboard network interface. LAN Speed Test was used to measure bandwidth and transfer speeds, while Windows Task Manager monitored CPU utilization on the test system. For the testing, an 800MB file test was used with the default packet configuration for the application. The test was run three times with the middle result chosen. Results were captured for the low, medium and high transfer rates. The test was performed using a plenum rated category 5e crossover cable to bypass any traffic, routing or other transfer issues and possible packet loss or corruption that can be caused by a router/switch or hub. The cables were connected between two test machines, one using the onboard NIC(s) of the board being reviewed and the other is an Intel X540 Converged Network adapter. It supports 10/100/1000/10000Mbps speeds.

Wireless network testing, if applicable was performed using a connection to an 802.11/AC enabled wireless router and then sent to a test machine connected to the same router via a RJ-45 LAN connection. The target system network adapter is an i219v PCI-Express Gigabit Ethernet controller integrated into an ASUS Maximus XI Formula motherboard. The network settings for both network controllers and the router are all at their defaults and the 802.11/AC router has no other devices connected to it.

Wired Networking

The MSI MEG X570 Unify utilizes a built-in 2.5Gbps Realtek RTL8125 network adapter. It is also capable of 10/100/1000Mbit speeds. I’m not a huge fan of Realtek network controllers, and that seems to be generally well-founded here as you can see below. The performance wasn’t stellar, and the controller was connected to an Aquantia 5GbE adapter that can do 2.5Gbps speeds as well. It never negotiated as such or at least, never performed as though it had. The performance we saw was what we see from 1GbE controllers. Even by those standards, it wasn’t amazing.

The thing is, the controller is at least capable enough for handling most of your internet needs. However, those of you who have a serious need for a higher-end network controller will perhaps want to step up to an add-in card of some kind. It’s also worth mentioning that these controllers often behave better when connected to another of the same chipset. It’s also worth pointing out that it is largely a moot point if you don’t have a router or network switch that supports the faster speeds.

Wireless Networking

The MSI MEG X570 Unify integrates Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX200 wireless controller. It’s interesting to me that MSI chose to go with a slightly more expensive wireless solution and a less expensive wired one. Of course, many people end up using wireless controllers in their homes, even from desktops out of convenience. Gamer’s who build their own systems, however, tend to prefer wired connections for their stability and performance.

Intel WiFi 6 AX200 Specifications (Taken from MSI’s website)

  • Wireless & Bluetooth
  • Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX200
  • Supports 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, MU-MINO Rx, 2.4GHz-5GHz (160MHz) up to 2.4Gbp

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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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