Strong VRM: GIGABYTE did very well this round with VRMs, and in this case we have a full 12 phases of 50A DrMOS. The VRM is more than enough to overclock and unleash the full potential of the 9900K.
Thunderbolt 3: The Thunderbolt 3 controller here is based off Intel's Titan Ridge, and supports two Thunderbolt 3 type-C outputs with low power consumption. GIGABYTE also went a step ahead and added in the ability to use Thunderbolt 3 on the motherboard even if you are using one of Intel's unreleased CPUs without iGPUs. The ability to do that also allow you to plug into a GPU that supports DP 1.4, as the iGPU only supports 1.2, so you can take advantage of the 8K support from the new generation controller.
Flexibility of x4 Slot: GIGABYTE added in a unique feature ability, where you can choose where the bandwidth for the bottom x16 (x4 electrical) slot can come from (between CPU and PCH). We saw two types of quick switches used for the bandwidth of the slot. So why would GIGABYTE do this? Simple, if you want to run three GPUs, it's best to do it with CPU connected lanes, but if you want to run a x4 capture card instead, then it's best to be attached to the PCH so GPU bandwidth isn't reduced to x8 on the first slot. The ability also allows CPU attached dual NVMe PCI-E AIC RAID.
No POST: On any non-mini-ITX motherboard I like to see a POST code display, but this motherboard doesn't have one.
The Z390 Designare has many secrets hidden under the hood. It has a 3:1 MUX feeding two quick switches providing the ability to choose where the bottom x4 comes from. That allows for easier configurations, and it seems also helps with AIC CPU RAID. On top of that, to take full advantage of the Titan Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controller, GIGABYTE adds in an external DP input, so you aren't limited to version 1.2 the iGPU supports and instead can take advantage of DP 1.4.
The motherboard is designed for content creators, and has a healthy serving of USB 3.0 and USB 3.1. GIGABYTE went above and beyond on the VRM, especially compared to competitor overclocking motherboards, and we didn't have issues clocking the CPU. Although the lack of a POST code bothered us, we would still highly recommend this motherboard to content creators.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Overall TweakTown Rating||92%|
The Bottom Line: If you want an excellent content creation motherboard with an awesome PCI-E and Thunderbolt 3 implimentation, give the Z390 Designare a look.
PRICING: You can find the product discussed for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link below to see real-time pricing for the best deal:
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and Z390 Designare Overview]
- Page 3 [GIGABYTE Z390 Designare Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [GIGABYTE Z390 Designare Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]
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