LAS VEGAS, NV -- Supermicro had its new flagship C9X299-PG300 motherboard on display in its suite at CES 2018. Notably, the company specifically listed support for Intel Core X-Series CPUs with up to a 300W TDP. Currently, the 165W TDP Core i9-7980XE has the highest TDP rating of the X-Series, so the 300W rating is an interesting wrinkle. We asked Supermicro for more details, but the company said it couldn't share any more information.
Supermicro may not be the first name you think of when it comes to gaming motherboards, but the company is looking to change that. Supermicro knows, much like the other vendors, that capturing the enthusiast's eye, and their build, requires a strong focus on aesthetics in addition to the normal overclocking bells and whistles. Striking that balance isn't easy, and the company previously tried a less-conventional route with a bright green and black color scheme. It has since discarded that scheme in favor of the black and grey motif seen on the C9X299-PG300.
The X299 motherboard comes in the standard ATX form factor and features eight DDR4 slots that Supermicro says supports 4,000MHz+ after tuning. You also get six SATA 3.0 ports and two U.2 ports, along with two M.2 slots hidden under the long black extensions between the PCIe slots. These beefy covers have thermal pads underneath to help cool the SSDs.
The motherboard features dual LAN with 1 and 10 GbE connections, with the faster connection coming courtesy of an Aquantia AQC107. The -PG300 sports a debug LED and two 8-pin ATX power connectors that feed the 8+2 power phase underneath the beefy heatsinks. The board also features four PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and a single x1 slot, but you won't find any LED lighting on the motherboard. Instead, Supermicro provides two customizable RGB LED headers so you can roll your own solution. The company says that it is working on more elaborate lighting for future product generations. We also see the USB ports on the rear, including a USB Type-C port.
Supermicro also had the enthusiast-oriented C9X299-PGF on display, which features somewhat pared down specifications compared to the -PG300 but includes IPMI 2.0 support for out-of-band management. We don’t typically find that workstation/server-class feature on desktop PCs, so it makes for an interesting differentiator. The cooling solution for the VRMs isn't quite as robust with this model, but it only supports X-Series processors up to 165W TDP. You also get 5GbE connectivity with this model.
Supermicro's 300W rating for a Core X-Series CPU certainly raises many questions. We've heard of the 165W Core i9-7980XE pulling up to 550W with beefy watercooling and even closing in on 1000W with LN2, so it's no doubt the processors are power hungry. Intel's thermal paste chokes off most of the fun early, though. It's fun to imagine a 300W TDP processor coming our way, but it could be nothing more than marketing. Supermicro representatives wouldn't provide more information.
Supermicro's C9X299-PGF is already on the market. Its beefier C9X299-PG300 counterpart will join it later in Q1.
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Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.