Packaging and the Board
When Intel left the motherboard market, we were left with very few U.S. based motherboard firms that used circuits to market their products; Supermicro's box brings back those memories of Intel's circuit design marketing.
Supermicro did a decent job with packaging; they used an anti-static bag with some foam at the back.
The included accessories are as follows: four SATA6G cables, one 2-way SLI bridge, one I/O shield, one driver DVD, and a folded diagram of the board.
I have circled the fan headers on the board; there are a total of five, and it seems that they are all on the top half of the motherboard. These headers are controlled through the BIOS, and control is not very extensive. However, there are three presets for all the headers.
Interestingly, this board has a much better layout and design than the C7Z97-OCE I reviewed a while back. For starters, the buttons aren't scattered in odd locations (with the exception of the clear CMOS button), and the color scheme is actually quite nice. The board looks like a high-performance overclocker, and its parts all appear to be high quality. Also, there is a lack of major components on the back of the motherboard, and that is a good thing. There are a few chips that are worth noting, and we will do so later on in this review.
The back-panel I/O features two 1GBit NICs, six USB 3.0 ports, a PS/2 keyboard or mouse, and a 7.1 TOSLINK for audio with S/PDIF out. That huge gap in the I/O is a bit disappointing, but everything you need is present.
The PCI-E layout for the blue 16x slots is interesting. The first and second PCI-E 16x slots can both run at 16x, and if you want to do 3-way you use the first, second, and last slot for 16x/16x/0x/8x. If you run 4-way, it is at 16x/8x/8x/8x, but you will need to figure out how to fit a card in the third blue slot. This spacing moves the first 16x slot down a bit to give some clearance for larger CPU coolers. There is a little button at the edge of the board, and that is the clear CMOS button.
Sadly, there is no M.2 or SATA Express support; however, Supermicro made sure all ten SATA6G ports are available.
There are so many colorful buttons! Starting from the top, we have a black power button, a memory OC button, three preset auto OC buttons (one of which you can program in the UEFI), and a home button that will reset the CMOS settings to default. A small switch located behind the jumpers is for BIOS recovery options.
Supermicro integrated a speaker and a POST code display with a BIOS recovery button near the PCH heat sink. If you run 2-way SLI/CrossFireX, you can still see the POST code.
The positioning of this button battery for the CMOS is actually quite good. You are able to remove it without removing any GPUs.
The CPU VRM is made up for eight phases; I will cover this in greater depth in the next section.
While the PCH heat sink is screwed to the motherboard, the CPU heat sink uses plastic push-pins. Although it does use plastic pushpins, there is a lot of pressure in the springs, and contact is excellent between the VRM power stages and the heat sink.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and the C7X99-OCE]
- Page 3 [C7X99-OCE Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 5 [Test Setup and Overclocking]
- Page 6 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 7 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 8 [Temperature and Power Consumption]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]
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