Gigabyte Designs New X399 Designare EX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 5, 2017 - 12:35 AM |
Tagged: X399, tr4, Threadripper, gigabyte, designare EX

Gigabyte has introduced the X399 Designare EX, a decked out ATX motherboard with silver colored armor (including a large backplate) and a blue LED overlay over the PCH. The X399 motherboard is based on the same platform as the already launched Aorus X399 Gaming 7, but with a silver-metallic aesthetic and toned-down LEDs (though you can add RGB LED strips via headers.

The X399 Designare EX surrounds the Threadripper TR4 socket with eight DIMM slots and an eight phase VRM setup with server grade chokes that pulls power from a set of 8-pin and 4-pin 12V EPS connectors. The power phases are covered by heatsinks connected by a heatpipe with the heatsink sitting behind the rear I/O including a small fan for active cooling (which should help ensure some airflow for the VRMs if you are watercooling). Interestingly the IO plate for the rear IO is part of the motherboard rather than being a separate piece that comes in the box. A large backplate ensures the board will not warp over time even with large and heavy CPU coolers and graphics cards installed.

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The motherboard has five PCI-E x16 slots (x16/x8/x16/x8 for 4-way GPU configurations) and three M.2 slots with heatspreaders (two in between the PCI-E slots and one below the PCH heatsink). Storage also includes 8 SATA 6 Gbps ports (four from CPU, and four from chipset). USB includes two USB 3.1 Gen 2, 10 USB 3.1 Gen 1, and USB 2.0 ports via headers. On board chipsets include Intel-based 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, and two Gigabyte Ethernet (Intel i211AT) NICs. As for audio, the X399 Designare EX uses the Realtek ALC 1220 (120 dBA SNR) chipset paired with high end WIMA and Nichicon caps, Op Amps, and ground layer isolation. There are 9 temperature sensor headers and 8 fan headers for air or water gear.

Gigabyte has not yet released pricing or availability but I would expect it to be at least $430. Personally, I am a fan of the design of this board and it should at least look good in builds! As for stock performance, overclocking support, and CMOS battery placement we will have to wait for the reviews!

Source: Gigabyte

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October 5, 2017 | 01:07 AM - Posted by Dapple (not verified)

Oddly enough, this board has a Thunderbolt header on it but there is no mention of it in the manual...not even in the board layout graphic. Interested to see if the header is indeed on the version that gets sold. More interested to see if the BIOS actually includes Thunderbolt support for Gigabytes add-in card. I know that Intel is dropping the royalty fee next year, so it could just be that Gigabyte has added the header for future-proofing. Still, it's strange for that header to randomly pop up on one mobo with no other information available.

October 5, 2017 | 01:33 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

Hmm yeah maybe it will be enabled with a BIOS update :-).

November 8, 2017 | 09:00 AM - Posted by jds580s (not verified)

I suspect they can't market it as a feature without a license in place. I hope that means in 2018 they are able to do so.
A gigabyte employee posted a bit about it on Reddit
https://www.reddit.com/r/hardware/comments/715f73/gigabyte_to_launch_the...
And the Gigabyte Japan twitter account said earlier today: https://twitter.com/GIGABYTE_News/status/928214344428425216
which roughly translated with google translate is "The case of DESIGNARE EX's Thunderbolt 3 expansion card, it seems that it has not yet been approved."

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