Gigabyte today lifted the curtains on the its new X299X Designare 10G, X299X Aorus Xtreme WaterForce and X299X Aorus Master motherboards fit for Intel's Cascade Lake-X HEDT CPUs announced Tuesday. Those new chips come with half the pricing of previous-gen Skylake-X models, meaning these new motherboards should get more attention than usual for an HEDT lineup.
The trio of high-end motherboards sport the Intel X299X moniker; however, it should be noted that the motherboards are using the same X299 chipset that debuted two years ago,. The "X" suffix merely serves to specify that the boards are built specifically for the latest Cascade Lake-X processors. The Cascade Lake-X chips come with four more PCIe lanes than previous-gen Skylake-X CPUs, and those four lanes won't be available on previous X299 motherboards, meaning the new X299X boards are the only path to exposing the full I/O capabilities.
Gigabyte's X299X offerings also feature fresh power designs, thermal solutions and other features, such as Thunderbolt 3 support and 5 Gbps or 10 Gbps network connectivity. The X299X Designare 10G, X299X Aorus Xtreme WaterForce and X299X Aorus Master are tailored to suit professional users and content creators. The motherboards boast robust 16-phase power delivery subsystems, server-grade components and eight DDR4 memory slots to house up to a whopping 256GB of RAM. They are also built to support multi-GPU configurations and are validated for Nvidia's Quadro graphics cards.
The X299X Designare 10G and X299X Aorus Xtreme WaterForce have built-in Intel Thunderbolt 3 support, thanks to a pair of USB Type-C ports that deliver a bandwidth of 40 Gbps. Gigabyte X299X motherboards are equipped with built-in PCIe x4 M.2 slots, where users can choose to grab the lanes from the chipset itself or the processor for installing an Intel Optane module or creating a VROC disk array. The X299X Designare 10G and X299X Aorus Xtreme WaterForce even come with a Gen 4 AIC adapter offering up to four extra PCIe x4 M.2 slots for increased storage.
When it comes to network connectivity, Gigabyte X299X motherboards deliver Intel 802.11AX Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Meanwhile, the X299X Designare 10G employs Intel's X550-AT2 Ethernet controller and offers dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Gigabyte didn't cheap out on audio. Its X299X motherboards utilize the ALC 1220-VB IC and ESS 9218 Sabre DAC, complemented with the brand's AMP-UP Audio technology.
As usual, you can expect to find the Gigabyte X299X motherboards with competent heat dissipation systems, including the company's Fins-Array heatsink, large diameter heatpipes, thermal pads and thermal backplates. The X299X Aorus Xtreme WaterForce flaunts an AIO cooling design that cools the processor, power delivery subsystem, chipset and M.2 SSDs. All three motherboards come bundled with Gigabyte's Smart Fan 5 technology, so you have complete control over all the fans and temperature sensors.
The Gigabyte X299X Designare 10G, X299X Aorus Xtreme WaterForce and X299X Aorus Master motherboards should be available to shoppers soon. Gigabyte didn't specify pricing, so we'll have to wait until the motherboards hit shelves to find out.
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Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.