Overclocking and Conclusion
To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the X299 Designare EX motherboard, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. At the stock base clock speed of 100Mhz, we pushed the CPU to 4.7GHz with a 3.0GHz mesh bus frequency and 2267MHz memory speeds. This was done at a 1.26V CPU voltage, a 1.20V Mesh voltage, and a 1.225V memory voltage with all other values left at default settings. Unforturnately, the board would not stabilize with memory settings above 2667MHz, even using memory that has run at 3200Mhz on other boards. All overclocking sessions remained stable for over 4hrs. 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 16GB (4 x 4GB) of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests
100MHz Base Clock Stats with 4.7GHZ CPU speed
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 GIGABYTE X299 Designare EX motehrboard is a very nicely designed product, released later in the X299 design cycle to differentiate itself from the previous products and build upon those previous X299 designs to take advantage of missed opportunities. The board features a matte black PCB with chrome accents via the heat sinks, M.2 cover plates, and rear panel / audio covers. Further, the board is fully armored featuring a thick metal plate covering its back side. The board's armor serves dual purposes, protecting the back of the board as well as acting as a secondary heat path for the various integrated components and power circuitry. The board has integrated RGB LEDs in its rear panel and audio cover assemblies, as well as embedded in the chipset cooler. The chipset cooler's LED back lights a glass Designare series overlay, making for a nice effect. All slots, both the PCIe and memory slots, are metal reinforced for added strength and durability as well.
There were some minor issues with the board, including the performance of the ASMedia-based SATA ports and the CMOS battery placement. The CMOS battery is buried underneath the M.2 slot and cover next to the primary PCIe x16 slot, keeping it out of sight. However, it makes for a challenge should you need to access it with a video card installed as well as an M.2 SSD in that M.2 slot.
- Stock performance
- Overclocking performance
- Board aesthetics, layout, and design
- Audio / Rear Panel integrated covers and back armor plate
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- Configurable RGB LEDs using RGB Fusion through both UEFI and Windows app
- Multitude of availalbe RGBW headers
- Design of metal reinforced PCIe and memory slots
- Storage options available – 8 SATA ports and 3 PCIe x4 slots
- Quality and performance of networking options – dual Intel GigE controllers and an Intel 802.11ac WiFi controller
- CMOS battery placement
- Performance of SATA drives on ASMedia-based SATA ports
- SATA ports 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 disabled with M.2 drive seated in M.2 port by CPU socket (M2P-32G)
- PCIe slot 2 disabled with M.2 drive seated in M.2 port by PCIe slot 1 (M2M_32G)