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GIGABYTE X299 AORUS Gaming 3 Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2066 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 24, 2017 4:45 pm
TweakTown Rating: 90%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Packaging and Overview

 

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The motherboard's box and packaging are very high-end, but not as high-end as some of GIGABYTE's other X299 motherboards. The motherboard and included accessories are well protected within the confines of the box.

 

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The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s cables, G-Connector, case badge, AORUS stickers, IO shield, manual, and driver DVD.

 

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There are eight fan headers, all of them are flexible PWM/Voltage mode headers. The red headers are all identical, but the header circled in green is a 3A high output header for water pumps or multiple fans. Two headers labeled "EC" allow you to attach the two included EC temperature sensors so you can use those for fan header reference, they are circled in blue.

 

The Gaming 3 doesn't have as many RGB LEDs built into it like the Gaming 7 and Gaming 9 motherboards, and that might be something a lot of people might like since the Gaming 3 is significantly cheaper. Only the PCH heat sink and two PCI-E slots as well as the audio section light up. The motherboard's black and gray color theme is easy to match, and the back of the motherboard doesn't have many components.

 

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The IO panel features six USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse, Gbit LAN, and 7.1 audio outputs.

 

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Okay, let's talk about one of the most interesting PCI-E layouts on the X299 market. The Gaming 3 has no quick switches for moving PCI-E lanes from the CPU. Instead, things are fixed. The first slot with reinforcement is your first x16 slot, the second x16 slot right below it is x4 wired to the CPU, and it's disabled when using an x16 lane CPU. Skipping that slot, the slot right below the second reinforced slot is x4 wired to the PCH.

 

Numbering the slots as slot1/slot2/slot3 and overlooking the two x4 slots, a 44 lane CPU operates at x16/x16/x8, a 28 lane CPU operates at x16/x8/x0, and a 16 lane CPU operates at x8/x4/x0. Unlike other X299 motherboards, an x16 lane CPU can only run x8/x4/x0; even a single card will only get x8. There are two M.2 slots that operate at 32Gb/s; M2Q_32G shares all of its lanes with SATA ports 4, 5, 6, and 7.

 

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Four of the eight SATA6Gb/s ports are shared with the M2Q_32G slot. Two USB 3.0 internal headers are located below the 24-pin power connector. We can also get a glimpse of one of the Boot LEDs that illuminate if there is an issue.

 

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The motherboard uses a single 8-pin CPU power connector to feed the CPU VRM, and there is an RGBW header located right near it. ThunderBolt 3 GPIO and VROC headers are located below the SATA ports. A clear CMOS header is located above the front panel connectors while your second EC temperature header is located above the middle fan header.

 

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Interestingly enough, to the left of two USB 2.0 headers, we find a power switch and an OC button. There is a second RGBW header located next to a digital LED header, which outputs 12v and 5v, and looks identical to the ThunderBolt 3 GPIO header.

 

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Heatsinks are decent, but I was surprised not to find a beefier VRM heat sink.

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