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GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Gaming 7 Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2066 in Motherboards | Posted: Jul 25, 2017 4:35 am
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Packaging and Overview

 

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The motherboard's box and packaging are very high-end, but that is to be expected with a $400 motherboard.

 

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The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s, an SLI HB Bridge, RGB LED IO shield, 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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There are eight fan headers, all of them are flexible PWM/Voltage mode headers. The blue headers are all identical, but the header circled in yellow is a 3A high output header for water pumps or multiple fans. The header circled in red is designed to facilitate water pumps, I assume that means it runs 100% in both PWM and voltage modes by default. Two EC sensor headers allow you to attach the two included EC temperature sensors so you can use those for fan header reference. GIGABYTE recently added in the ability to use the EC header temperatures as a reference for some of the system fan headers.

 

The RGB LEDs built into the motherboard are very well done, no longer does bright light shine into your eyes, instead it is diffused evenly. The motherboard's color scheme allows you to pick and choose your own theme, as it's just black and gray. You can turn off the LEDs as well, in case you don't enjoy them. The back of the motherboard is surprisingly bare considering the amount of hardware built into it. There is a metal slab that will help cool the back of the CPU VRM.

 

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The IO panel is not integrated, but it does offer RGB LED support, so you won't have trouble locating anything at night. You get 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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There are two x4 slots among the x16 slots. The top one (2nd slot down) is routed to the CPU and shares all of its bandwidth with the M2M_32G slot. The second x4 slot looks like it's routed to the PCH (4th slot down), but it doesn't seem to share bandwidth with anything. A 44 lane CPU offers 2-way SLI at x16/x16 and 3-way at x16/x16/x8, which is better than the Gaming 9.

 

A 28 lane CPU offers 2-way at x16/x8 and 3-way at x8/x8/x8. A 16 lane CPU only offers up to 2-way CrossFireX at x8/x4, as the other x4 is routed to the first x4 slot/M.2 connector, which is worse than on the Gaming 9. Two of the M.2 slots don't have shields, but they have the metal bracket designed to facilitate the shields, so I assume they can be purchased separately. The battery sits in a holder, to remove it you push the battery towards the straight edge plastic side (counterintuitive but devilishly simple).

 

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I really like the M.2 shields GIGABYTE has used on their new X299 motherboards. Not only are they big and made of thicker aluminum, but they guide themselves into place and hold onto the M.2 screw. There are eight SATA6Gb/s ports on the motherboard, some of them share lanes with the M.2 slots. M.2 slot M2Q_32G shares all of its bandwidth with four SATA ports.

 

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An RGBW header is located near two 8-pin power connectors. The motherboard offers both a USB 3.0 internal header as well as a USB 3.1 type-C internal header. There are also multiple boot LEDs located on the motherboard.

 

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A Clear CMOS button is located below the bottom M.2 slot, near a ThunderBolt 3 GPIO port. Another USB 3.0 internal header is located to the right of a POST code display. The motherboard also offers integrated power and reset buttons as well as ECO and OC buttons. We find another RGBW header right below the 12v and 5v digital RGB LED header.

 

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Heatsinks are quite beefy; I am very happy to see the VRM heat sink uses a heat pipe attached to another heat sink, as the VRMs can get hot.

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