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GIGABYTE X99-Designare EX (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 30, 2016 12:51 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

X99-Designare EX Circuit Analysis Continued




An ALC1150 is an audio codec used on the X99-Designare EX. It uses a Texas Instruments OP1652 amplifier for the rear port and 11 Nichicon Gold series audio capacitors. You might also notice the RGB LEDs on the topside of the PCB; these illuminate the slits on the white and blue shield that covers the audio section.





The PLX Technology PEx8747 expand 16x from a 40 lane CPU or 8x from a 28 lane CPU into 32x of lanes for two PCI-E 16x slots and the M.2 and one of the U.2 ports on the motherboard. The PEX8747 is famous for its ability to expand lanes, is quite expensive, and has found a home on this X99 motherboard. Intel's Alpine Ridge USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3 controller is being used. Instead of getting 4x PCI-E 2.0 from the PCH as on the X99-Phoenix SLI, it is getting 4x PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU. The Alpine Ridge controller gets has 32Gb/s of bandwidth. The DisplayPort input is hooked up to the controller as well for the remaining 8Gb/s of bandwidth required for Thunderbolt 3.


Bandwidth isn't the only thing required for Thunderbolt 3, you must also use the proper power delivery and type-C controller, and GIGABYTE is using the Texas Instruments TPS65982. GIGABYTE would not use this expensive Texas Instrument part, route CPU PCI-E lanes, or have a DisplayPort input is they were not going after Thunderbolt 3 functionality. The issue is certification takes time, and the motherboard just released, so GIGABYTE is not advertising its future capabilities.




Intel NIC fans will rejoice at the fact that both NICs are from Intel. The integrated Gbit MAC in the PCH works with the i218v PHY to produce one port. The second comes from a WGI211AT. Not only does this motherboard have dual Intel Gbit NICs, but it also has an Intel based Wireless AC/ Bluetooth 4.2 wireless card. The Wireless AC 8260NGW is a 2x2 card and can provide 867Mb/s of bandwidth.




I found an IDT6V49322NLG clock generator for higher BCLK overclocking margins. The IT8951E is an embedded controller used to provide QFlash Plus, which allows flashing of the BIOS without a CPU installed. I also found numerous PCI-E 3.0 quick switches from NXP.




The motherboard utilizes two 128Mbit BIOS ROMs for Dual BIOS. The main SuperIo used for temperature/voltage monitoring, some fan control, and PS/2 keyboard/mouse is the IT8620E.




A second IT8792E is used for expanded fan control and perhaps RGB lighting control. It is the third EC (embedded controller) I found on the motherboard that is custom programmed by GIGABYTE engineers. People keep asking for pictures of the RGBs, and these are used for the IO panel plastic shield.




Two NEC D720210 expand two USB 3.0 ports into eight for both internal headers and the rear IO panel ports.

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