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Gigabyte X99-Designare EX Motherboard Review

  1. About the X99-Designare EX!
  2. Motherboard Design
  3. Closer Look
  4. Sub-Components and Installation Overview
  5. BIOS Overview
  6. How its tested??
  7. CPU Overclocking and Memory Profile benchmark
  8. SATA Performance Testing
  9. USB 3.1 Gen 1 Transfer Test
  10. Boot Load Timings
  11. Conclusion
  12. Online Purchase Links
  13. View All

Disclosure: This review unit is provided by Gigabyte

What about the Gigabyte X99-Designare EX??

Intel X99 platform is been around for a while and is a home for Haswell-E and Broadwell-E SKUs. It is observed that many models stand out for providing excellent value while some provide premium expansion for a premium price. Gigabyte X99-Designare is such a motherboard.

The main selling point of the Gigabyte X99-Designare EX is the Thunderbolt 3 via USB Type-C to provide a theoretical bandwidth of up to 40 Gb/s, twice than Thunderbolt 2. To take advantage of this, Gigabyte provided a DisplayPort-In so that you can daisy-chain six Thunderbolt devices and drive a 4K monitor. It also provides 36w from it to power and charges several devices. There are two U.2 ports, of which one of them won’t work if you’re not pairing it with a 40-PCIe lane SKU. A support for 22110 M.2 is also appreciated as it stays future ready if you plan on buying a large M.2 storage. You’ll know more as we move on!

Packaging and Contents

As a premium featured motherboard, the Gigabyte X99-Designare EX has a fancy packaging. The motherboard and its accessories have separate packaging. You do get labels for the SATA ports. Velcro straps are always useful.

Complete Accessories List:

  •  Motherboard driver disk
  • Wireless module driver disk
  •  User’s Manual
  •  Quick Installation Guide
  •  Six SATA cables
  •  One DisplayPort cable
  •  I/O Shield
  •  One 2-Way SLI bridge connector
  •  One 3-Way SLI bridge connector (GC-3SLI-X99-1)
  •  One G Connector
  •  One 1 to 3 power cable (2×4 ATX 12V)
  •  One RGB LED strip extension cable
  •  Two Velcro Cable Ties
  •  One antenna

Specification and Layout

  • CPU
    • Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors in the LGA2011-3 package
    • Support for Intel® Xeon® E5-1600 / E5-2600 / E5-4600 v3 / v4 processors in the LGA2011-3 package
    • L3 cache varies with CPU(Please refer “CPU Support List” for more information.)
    Chipset Intel® X99 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.
      * Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.
    • 4 channel memory architecture
    • Support for DDR4 3600(OC) / 3400(OC) / 3333(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz memory modules
    • Non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx16 memory modules
    • 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® ALC1150 codec
    • High Definition Audio
    • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
    • Support for S/PDIF Out
    LAN
    • 2 x Intel® GbE LAN chips (10/100/1000 Mbit)
    • Support for Teaming
    Wireless Communication module
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
    • Bluetooth 4.2, 4.1, BLE, 4.0, 3.0, 2.1+EDR
    • Support for 11ac wireless standard and up to 867 Mbps data rate
      * Actual data rate may vary depending on environment and equipment.
    Expansion Slots
    • 3 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1~3)
      * The PCIEX8 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 slot. When the PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16_1 slot operates at up to x8 mode.
      * The U2_32G_2 connector shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_2 slot. When the U2_32G_2 connector is populated, the PCIEX16_2 slot operates at up to x8 mode.
      * The M2_32G connector shares bandwidth with the PCIEX16_3 slot. When the M2_32G connector is populated, the PCIEX16_3 slot operates at up to x8 mode.
    • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)
      (The PCIEX16 and PCIEX8 slots conform to PCI Express 3.0 standard.)
    • 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)
      * The SATA_EXPRESS connector shares bandwidth with the PCIEX4 slot. When the SATA_EXPRESS connector is populated, the PCIEX4 slot operates at up to x2 mode.
    • 1 x PCI Express x1 slot
      (The PCIEX4 and PCIEX1 slots conform to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
    • 1 x M.2 Socket 1 connector for the wireless communication module (M2_WIFI)
    Storage Interface Chipset:

    • 1 x SATA Express connector
    • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5), supporting RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10
    • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (sSATA3 0~3), supporting IDE and AHCI modes only
      (An operating system installed on the SATA3 0~5 ports cannot be used on the sSATA 0~3 ports.)
    • 1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 PCIe x4/x2 SSD support)
    • 2 x U.2 connectors
      * When an i7-5820K or i7-6800K CPU is installed, the U2_32G_1 connector becomes unavailable.
    Multi-Graphics Technology
    • Support for NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ and 3-Way/2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ technologies
    • Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ and 3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies
    USB Chipset+Intel® Thunderbolt™ 3 Controller:

    • 1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 support
    • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red) on the back panels

    Chipset + Renesas® USB 3.0 Hubs:

    • 8 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)

    Chipset:

    • 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
    • 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 M.2 Socket 3 connector
    • 2 x U.2 connectors
    • 1 x SATA Express connector
    • 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
    • 1 x CPU fan header
    • 1 x water cooling fan/water cooling pump header (CPU_OPT_PUMP)
    • 2 x system fan headers
    • 1 x system fan/water cooling pump header (SYS_FAN3_PUMP)
    • 1 x front panel header
    • 1 x front panel audio header
    • 1 x S/PDIF Out header
    • 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 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 RGB LED strip extension cable header
    • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
    Back Panel Connectors
    • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
    • 1 x DisplayPort In port
    • 2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
    • 1 x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 support
    • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A port (red)
    • 5 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
    • 2 x RJ-45 ports
    • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
    • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
    I/O Controller iTE® I/O Controller Chip
    H/W Monitoring
    • System voltage detection
    • CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
    • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) speed detection
    • CPU/System/Chipset overheating warning
    • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) fail warning
    • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan (pump) speed control
      * Whether the fan 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™
    • Support for Q-Flash Plus
      * The USB flash drive used must be a USB 2.0 flash drive.
    • 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
      • Ambient LED
      • AutoGreen
      • BIOS Setup
      • Color Temperature
      • Cloud Station
      • EasyTune
      • Easy RAID
      • Fast Boot
      • ON/OFF Charge
      • Platform Power Management
      • Smart TimeLock
      • Smart Keyboard
      • Smart Backup
      • System Information Viewer
      • USB Blocker
      • V-Tuner
    • Q-Flash
    • Smart Switch
    • Xpress Install
    Bundle Software
    • Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)
    • Intel® Smart Response Technology
    • cFosSpeed
    Operating System
    • Support for Windows 10/8.1 64-bit
    • Support for Windows 7 32-bit/64-bit
    Form Factor ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

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