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26 GBT X99 Designare EX

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

Closer Look

There are a total of five 4-pin fan headers, one of which is separately marked for the liquid cooler’s pump. I am not a fan of the plastic overlay and another layer on the MOSFET sink. Sure, it does make it look pretty but it looks more like an airflow blocker to me. In reality, the overlays are also used to hide LED accents on the motherboard.

The motherboard uses 8+4 (2 per set of four DDR4 DIMM slots) Power phase design. The main CPU Fan header is placed below the LGA 2011-3 socket while the header next to the eight-pin ATX 12v socket is for the chassis fan.

Rear I/O Options

One of many features is the DisplayPort in. This works by having a DisplayPort Out from the graphic card to be connected on the DisplayPort in via the Rear I.O of the motherboard. Then you connect a single Thunderbolt 3 Type C cable and connect on a USB type C monitor.

Gigabyte provides a keyboard/mouse PS/2 port with a total of five USB 3.0 including the white coloured port for the Q-Flash PLUS BIOS flashing function, a connector for the dual antennas, a red coloured USB 3.1 Type A, two Intel-powered Ethernet gigabit ports and the audio jacks SPDIF output. As said earlier, the plastic overlay over the I/O simply makes it easy enough for the manufacturer to have an in-built I/O shield.

PCIe Layout

There is a total of five PCIe x16 slots and a single PCIe x1 slot. The first two PCIe x16 slots runs in x16 mode, third running at x4 bandwidth, fourth running at x16 and fifth on x8 mode. This was done to have maximum possible space for the first graphic card, and maintain a hassle-less installation for the second and third slot. Nvidia limited its GeForce cards with two-way SLI. But AMD Radeon has support for up to three. Once you remove the overlay covering the m.2 ports, you’ll notice that there’s a wire routed through the motherboard for the Antenna connectors on the rear I/O. While the CMOS battery is covered, you can clear the CMOS since it has jumpers in an accessible area. Naturally, the M.2 overlay is nothing more than a cosmetic cover as some boutique system builders may not like to see green PCB.

Front Panel Connection Options

The lower section has front panel audio and a SPDIF out header, followed by an LED demo for some reason which isn’t on the layout nor any mentioned in the manual. There’s the other system fan header, a TPM module connector, a four pin header for RGB strips, two front panel USB 2.0, two headers for powering four USB 3.0 ports, another 4-pin fan header and the coloured front panel headers. As much as I would have liked to see the USB 3.0 headers on the side rather than towards the bottom, the placement because of the SATA ports, SATA express and U.2 makes it difficult. The CMOS CLEAR header is found above the front panel headers.

There are also two additional temperature sensors on both sides of these sections.

Internal Storage and Main Power

There are ten SATA III connectors and two U.2 Connectors. The 24-pin ATX is placed next to the DIMM slot. You’ll notice there are no Power/reset switches, nor any contact points to regulate voltages. Judging by this motherboard, this motherboard is designed for those whose workload require as many connectivity and expansion as possible.

LED Bling!

Some of its LED accents are mounted under the plastic overlay.

Gigabyte highlighted its audio section from its base side as well.

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