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GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Gaming 9 Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2066 in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 10, 2017 1:12 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Packaging and Overview

 

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I received the motherboard at a workshop, so I do not have the original box for it, so this graphic representation will have to do. The packaging of accessories is typical of high-end GIGABYTE motherboard.

 

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The accessory package includes six SATA6Gb/s, a x4 to M.2 heat sink cooled PCI-E adapter (for VROC of course), SLI HB Bridge, M.2 to U.2 converter, Wi-Fi antenna, two RGB extension cables, one digital RGB 5v and 12v splitter cable adapter, G-Connector, two temperature probes, Aorus case badge and two Velcro ties.

 

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GIGABYTE put a heavy serving of fan control on the X299 Aorus Gaming 9 with a total of eight fan headers. The headers circled in blue are PWM/Voltage mode hybrid headers, while the header circled in yellow is a 3A high-output header. The header circled in red is a pump header, but can act like a normal hybrid fan header as well. There are also two external temperature sensor headers circled in green. The motherboard offers a very simple color theme; black and gray. It can either fade away into the back of your case or light up to any color you choose.

 

GIGABYTE did a nice job of diffusing the RGB LEDs instead of letting them glare into your eyes. I am really happy they fixed this aesthetic choice. They also added in digital RGB LEDs into the IO and audio areas, and it can produce some cool effects. GIGABYTE also decided to join the Shield club, and went ahead and added a metal shield on the rear of the motherboard to protect the motherboard and reinforce the PCB.

 

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GIGABYTE also joined the integrated IO shield club and integrated an RGB infused rear IO panel that looks awesome. It provides two USB 3.0 DAC-UP ports (yellow), two USB 3.0 ports (white one supports USB Flashback functionality as well), a USB 3.1 type-C port, four USB 3.1 type-A ports, Intel LAN, Killer LAN, WIFI antenna, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, and 7.1 gold plated audio ports with S/PDIF optical.

 

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The PCI-E layout is not that simple, the PCI-E slots are physically (from top to bottom) PCI-E x16/CPU, x4/CPU, x16/CPU, x4/PCH, x8/CPU. The top PCI-E x4 slot is routed to the CPU and is not available when using a 16-lane CPU. The only PCI-E bandwidth difference between 40 and 28 lane CPUs is that the second x16 slot operates at x8 higher... For 16 lane CPUs, you lose one PCI-E x4 slot (the top one), and you can operate at x8 in each of the x16 slots for 2-way.

 

There are three M.2 slots on the motherboard, the middle slot shares all bandwidth with the first PCI-E x4 slot (second x16 physical slot) and it also will not be usable with an x16 lane CPU. However, their public information says that it true, but their pre-NDA slide says that Kaby Lake-X CPUs do a 3-way slot solution on this motherboard, where the M.2 slot would then not be disabled along with the first PCI-E x4 slot.

 

For the middle M.2 slot or the PCI-E slot it shares bandwidth to offer RAID, you must use a VROC key, but you will be bypassing the DMI bus, so 7Gbps is now possible in a RAID 0 cluster. The bottom M.2 slot shares all of its bandwidth with four SATA ports (ports 5-8).

 

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The M.2 shields GIGABYTE has implemented are actually quite formidable, have weight to them, and make M.2 drive installation really easy by positioning that tiny annoying M.2 screw. There are eight SATA6Gb/s ports supported by the PCH. Four share with one M.2 slot, one shares with another M.2 slot.

 

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An RGBW header is located near two 8-pin power connectors. You want more than one 8-pin connector for heavy duty 10+ core overclocking. There is a USB 3.0 internal header located right below the 24-pin power connector, above a USB 3.1 type-C internal header.

 

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There is a ThunderBolt 3 GPIO header located right between the M.2 metal casing and bottommost SATA port; this connector is also the exact header GIGABYTE chose for their digital RGB LED header, so beware not to insert into the wrong header. The VROC header is located to the left of the clear CMOS button (no Clear CMOS jumper onboard), right above the front panel connectors. A second USB 3.0 internal header is located to its left.

 

GIGABYTE didn't leave us high and dry when it comes to overclocking features; we do get a POST code display, power and reset buttons, as well as ECO and OC buttons. The X299 platform might be the first to actually benefit from an ECO mode. Two USB 2.0 internal headers are also located on the motherboard.

 

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A mini TPM header sits to the right of an RGBW header. The digital 5v and 12v combo digital RGB LED header sits above the RGBW header. The digital LED header looks identical to the ThunderBolt 3 GPIO header, so be very careful. The motherboard has a lot of lights built into things such as the PCH heat sink, IO shield, and IO covers.

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