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GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Gaming 3 Motherboard Preview

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

For the launch of the Intel X299 chipset motherboards, GIGABYTE chose their AORUS brand to lead the charge. The AORUS branding differentiates the enthusiast and gamer friendly products from other GIGABYTE product lines, similar to how ASUS uses the ROG branding to differentiate their high performance product line. The X299 AORUS Gaming 3 is among GIGABYTE's intial release boards offering support for the latest Intel HEDT chipset and processor line. Built around the Intel X299 chlipset, the board supports the Intel LGA2066 processor line, including the Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors, with support for Quad-Channel DDR4 memory running at a 2667MHz speed. The X299 AORUS Gaming 3 can be found in retail with an MRSP of $279.99.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE integrated the following features into the X299 AORUS Gaming 3 motherboard: eight SATA III 6Gbps ports; two M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4 32Gbps capable ports with Intel Optane support built-in; an Intel I219-V Gigabit RJ-45 port; five PCI-Express x16 slots; Realtek® ALC1220 8-Channel audio subsystem; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

To power the board, GIGABYTE integrated integrated a 9-phase digital power delivery system into the X299 AORUS Gaming 3's design. The digital power system was designed with IR digital power controllers and PowIRstage ICs, Server Level Chokes, and Durable Black capacitors.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Designed to withstand the punishment of even the largest video cards, GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable PCIe Armor gives added strength and retention force to the primary and secondary PCIe x16 video card slots (PCIe X16 slots 1 and 3). The PCIe slots are reinforced with a metal overlay that is anchored to the board, giving the slot better hold capabilities (both side-to-side and card retention) when the board is used in a vertical orientation.

Continue reading our preview of the GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Gaming 3 motherboard!

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE integrated four zones of RGB LEDs into the surface of the X299 AORUS Gaming 3 - integrated into the audio chipset PCB line, around the primary and secondary PCIe x16 slots, and into the chipset cooler. The LEDs can be configured in up to six pre-configured operation modes or configured for independent operation using the Advanced mode. GIGABYTE supports LED configuration via the UEFI or the RGB Fusion windows applet.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Dubbed as Smart Fan 5, GIGABYTE included a variety of fan headers and temperature sensors on the X299 AORUS Gaming 3 motherboard. They integrated temperature sensors into the CPU socket, VRMs, chipset, and PCIe slots. Additionally, there are monitored fan headers spread throughout the board's surface, all supporting high current devices (fans or water pumps) of up to 2A per header (24W).

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Technical Specifications (taken from the GIGABYTE website)

CPU Support for Intel® Core™ X series processors in the LGA2066 package
L3 cache varies with CPU

(Please refer "CPU Support List" for more information.)

Chipset Intel® X299 Express Chipset
Memory 8 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB of system memory.
* Support for up to 512 GB of system memory when using Registered DIMMs.
* Supported when using a 44-lane or 28-lane CPU.

4 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory.
* Supported when using a 16-lane CPU.

4 channel memory architecture.
* Supported when using a 44-lane or 28-lane CPU.

Dual channel memory architecture.
Supported when using a 16-lane CPU.
Support for DDR4 4333(O.C.) / 4266(O.C.) / 4133(O.C.) / 4000(O.C.) / 3866(O.C.) / 3800(O.C.) / 3733(O.C.) / 3666(O.C.) / 3600(O.C.) / 3466(O.C.) / 3400(O.C.) / 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400 / 2133 MHz memory modules
Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM memory modules
Support for Registered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx4/2Rx4 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)
Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

(Please refer "Memory Support List" for more information.)

Audio Realtek® ALC1220 codec
High Definition Audio
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN Intel® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)
1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x4 (PCIEX4_1, PCIEX4_2)
(All of the PCI Express slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
* Refer to "1-6 Setting up AMD CrossFire™/NVIDIA® SLI™ Configuration," for the installation notices for the PCI Express x16 slots.
Storage Interface Chipset:
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support) (M2Q_32G)
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support) (M2P_32G)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
* Refer to "1-9 Internal Connectors," for the installation notices for the M.2 and SATA connectors.
Multi-Graphics Technology Support for NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ and 3-Way* /2-Way* NVIDIA® SLI™ technologies
* Supported when using a 44-lane.

Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire™ and 3-Way* /2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies
* Supported when using a 44-lane.

USB Chipset+ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 Controller:
1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red) on the back panel

Chipset:
10 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (6 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB headers

Internal I/O Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x CPU fan header
1 x water cooling CPU fan header
4 x system fan headers
1 x system fan/water cooling pump header
1 x 3 Amp fan/water cooling pump header
1 x digital LED strip extension cable header
2 x RGB (RGBW) LED strip extension cable headers
2 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x Intel® VROC Upgrade Key header
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 headers
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connector
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header
1 x power button
1 x OC button
2 x temperature sensor headers
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red)
6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
1 x RJ-45 port
6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Side Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
I/O Controller iTE® I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring Voltage detection
Temperature detection
Fan speed detection
Water cooling flow rate detection
Overheating warning
Fan fail warning
Fan speed control
* Whether the fan (pump) speed control function is supported will depend on the fan (pump) you install
BIOS 2 x 128 Mbit flash
Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
Support for DualBIOS™
PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
Unique Features Support for APP Center
* Available applications in APP Center may vary by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also vary depending on motherboard specifications.
  • 3D OSD
  • @BIOS
  • AutoGreen
  • BIOS Setup
  • Color Temperature
  • Cloud Station
  • EasyTune
  • Easy RAID
  • Fast Boot
  • Game Boost
  • ON/OFF Charge
  • Platform Power Management
  • RGB Fusion
  • Smart Backup
  • Smart Keyboard
  • Smart TimeLock
  • Smart HUD
  • System Information Viewer
  • USB Blocker
  • V-Tuner

Support for Q-Flash
Support for Xpress Install

Bundle Software Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
cFosSpeed
Operating System Support for Windows 10 64-bit
Form Factor ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

July 7, 2017 | 12:31 PM - Posted by David Gilmore (not verified)

Why is CPU-Z showing 1.92 vcore @4601MHz - this can't be accurate. What gives?

July 7, 2017 | 12:43 PM - Posted by ANSZ (not verified)

CPU-Z is having issues with reading the correct vcore for SKY-X. It is instead reading VccIN which is fed to the FIVR (fully integrated voltage regulator) and will translate into the correct set vcore.

KBL-X doesn't have FIVR so vcore will be fed directly to the cpu. This is how the switch works between the two vastly different cpus.

July 10, 2017 | 11:00 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

HWInfo v554 works well for giving actual voltages and other info.  Can be found here:

https://www.hwinfo.com/download.php

July 7, 2017 | 01:26 PM - Posted by tyrchlis (not verified)

I would be leary of this board with it's single 8 pin CPU power as the warning about such boards applies here. My question then though, is that I've seen several X299 boards with the 8 pin + 4 pin CPU power and wonder if that's enough juice to run the VRMs at acceptable temperatures?

July 7, 2017 | 02:39 PM - Posted by Mr.Gold (not verified)

They fixed the VRM heat on this model ?

Those CPU seem to require hefty custom liquid cooling, and this eliminate airflow around the socket.
Where the VRM are under heavy stress, and covered with a "heat shield" vs heat sink.

I have a feeling that if you run this board in a closed case overnight running prime95 (small) the PCB will start to degrade around the VRM

July 8, 2017 | 12:50 AM - Posted by anonnymoos (not verified)

All the new X299 mobos have the "heat insluator" VRM heatsink issue right now.

Give it a few months and I'd expect it to be sorted.

Fixing the 8 pin connector overheating issues will be harder and take longer I'd expect but is addressable by the end user with a fan or just good case airflow. Still it'd piss me off HAVING to do that stuff on a platform this expensive.

I don't think it makes much sense at all to buy X299 right now unless you're rich enough that $300+ is pocket change for you and can easily afford to re-buy parts with fixed issues as they're released.

Even if you hate AMD and really want X299 now it makes more sense for Threadripper to show up since maybe it'll end up causing Intel to drops prices some.

July 8, 2017 | 04:07 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

As long as you have active airflow over the VRM sink, you should be ok.   That's what I found at least.  It doesn't take much airflow either.

July 8, 2017 | 10:06 PM - Posted by anonnymoos (not verified)

Yes I've seen other such commentary saying essentially the same thing too but that seems rather half assed to do by default on something as expensive as this platform is. Its the straw breaking this particular camel's back.

Why be a for-pay beta testing early adopter on a expensive platform now when you can wait a few months and any issues will be fixed for possibly less too?

If Intel had kept the prices down more in general on the chips, done a better IHS, and done some more sane "entry level" X299 CPU's I'd be forgiving, price and implementation quality matter a whole lot I think, but they half assed all of that so I don't see why I or anyone should try and meet them half way here.

July 9, 2017 | 12:48 AM - Posted by RealExascale (not verified)

If it naturally gets that hot because of inadequate design, superficially cooling it with fans likely wont be a good long term solution. It would more than likely still fail prematurely.

July 9, 2017 | 07:28 AM - Posted by anonnymoos (not verified)

Not a EE here but all commentary by people who know their stuff suggests the VRM design isn't bad per se its just the cooling for it was implemented in a piss poor manner that emphasized cosmetics over effectiveness.

Personally I wouldn't mind going back to the days when mobos only had stuff like colored slots or a non green colored PCB instead of all these LEDs if it meant getting better VRM cooling.

Something like you used to see on the GIGABYTE P35T-DQ6 would be nice to have today now that VRM space is getting cramped due to the large sockets and number of DIMMs on these boards taking up valuable near socket real estate.

Just too much stuff in too small a space putting out too much heat to deal with in the same old crappy manner that they used to be able to get away with on X99 or 270 mobos.

July 7, 2017 | 05:08 PM - Posted by Ady (not verified)

Why are the BIOS settings screenshots showing widely off settings? Would've been really helpful to show the actual settings used to achieve the overclock - because I'm struggling to get it to work on my Aorus G9 and this might have helped.

July 8, 2017 | 12:21 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

For UEFI, I show the max settings available in the screencaps.

For the OC, I used the following settings with my 7900X proc:

47 multiplier (CPU)
47 multiplier (Turbo per core)
30 multiplier (Mesh)
100 base clock speed
Mem speed 3000MHz (wouldn't go above that and remain stable)
AVX offset set to 1
VRin - 1.9V
CPU Voltage - 1.26V
Memory Voltage - 1.355V
Mesh Voltage - 1.20V
Enhanced Multicore Performance Enabled
All other settings auto

Hope that helps...

July 8, 2017 | 10:43 AM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

I love you, Morry.

July 8, 2017 | 05:57 AM - Posted by nenforcer

Disappointed they have removed the Optical SPDIF output from this $300 motherboard. There is probably a SPDIF header on the motherboard at some location but this will require another card to provide this functionality. There probably arent enough people who use this output to a receiver but its nice to have nonetheless and kind of a cheap move to not include it.

July 8, 2017 | 09:56 PM - Posted by Eric (not verified)

How come he doesn't mention temperatures or power draw? He blames AVX for overclocking problems: "the CPU speed was downclocked to 4.4-4.5GHz with AIDA64 running because of a bug with the AVX code in the BIOS version used for testing." So why would AVX cause it to downclock? I have read that the AVX circuits are a tremendous heat generator.

We are not getting the full story.

July 9, 2017 | 03:25 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

The oc problem was an AVX issue with the BIOS.  The BIOS would auto downclock the core speed with AVX instructions activer (such as those that run during my AIDA stress testing run).  GIGABYTE confirmed this behavior and I have been working with them for a solution.  I have not seen this behavior on other X299 boards (like the MSI X299 Gaming M7 ACK that I'm in the process of testing).  On the MSI board, all cores run at the same speed while overclocked no matter what stress app I throw at it. 

I included HWInfo in the full screen cap of the overclock so that you could see the per core speed vs the core speed that CPUz reports.

Thanks...

July 9, 2017 | 02:02 PM - Posted by Funk (not verified)

279$ no thanks.. ill stick with 270 chipset.

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