Overclocking and Conclusion
To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the the SUPERMICRO C7X99-OCE motherboard, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. While the board would not stabilize with the expected 125MHz base clock, we were able to get the board stable at a 100MHz base clock, a 4.5GHz CPU speed, and a 2400MHz memory speed. The board would not stabilize with the memory set to its rated 2666MHz speed though. Getting the board to post with the correct CPU speed setting took some creative approaches, requiring setting the Load SMC CPU OC Setting option on the CPU Overclocking page to the target CPU speed and then manually setting the voltage and ratio settings to the correct values. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA's OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 8x MSAA in stress test mode. Note that 32GB (4 x 8GB) of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR3-2666 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.
Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.
The performance of the SUPERMICRO C7X99-OCE motherboard was pleasantly surprising at both stock and overclocked speeds. The board's stock performance demonstrated SUPERMICRO's design tendencies towards stability rather than out and out peformance, while its overclocking performance was good after dialing in the board.
SUPERMICRO is not a name you hear about much outside of the server space, so I was surprised when we received this enthusiast-ready Intel X99 board. While the C7X99-OCE board is a bit outside the norm from outer appearances, it quickly became obvious that SUPERMICRO did their homework in designing this board for enthusiasts. The board does not contain all the bells and whistles nor aesthetic touches that other manufacturer's enthusiast class boards contain (such as SATA-Express or M.2 ports), but is definitely not short on configuration settings and tweakable board options. The included electronic motherboard manual is one of the most feature-complete manuals I've encountered from any manufacturer with detailed descriptions of the various settings available for board tweaking. SUPERMICRO's server-based influence quickly becomes apparent with the plethora of configuration jumpers spread throughout the board, as well as its multiple in-built BIOS recovery mechanisms. They even go so far as including a hardwired boot block into the BIOS so that you can boot the system into the BIOS for system recovery purposes. The board performed well within expectations as well, making for a well rounded product.
One of the gotchas with the board was with its audio subsystem implementation. The microphone performance was muted at best, even with all settings at max input volumes, necessitating an external source should you require a microphone for your gaming needs. The design oddities centered on the lack of SATA device port options available with the M.2 port ommision a noticeable miss. However, the board surface is crammed full of circuitry and components, so it may have been a simple space constraint in the design.
- Stock performance
- Overclocking performance after dial-in
- Motherboard manual detail and thoroughness
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- CMOS battery placement
- Performance of Intel GigE NICs
- Hardware-based BIOS recovery options
- Complexities inherent in overclocking dial-in
- Muted microphone recording performance
- Lack of SATA port options, specifically SATA-Express or M.2 ports
- Board aesthetics
- Lack of included printed motherboard manual
- Number of jumpers included for board configuration
- Proximity of inside memory slots to CPU socket