Gigabyte GA-X99-Designare EX Review

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Each motherboard is explicitly set to 100 MHz BCLK with a fixed 35x multiplier for all performance benchmarks. Power consumption and heat generation are tested with one 140mm fan on the liquid cooling array set to 100% while all others are disabled. Speed Step and energy saving features are enabled where possible. Windows' default "Performance" power option preset is used for every test except idle power consumption, which uses "Balanced."

Test System Configuration

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CPU CoolerWaterblock - EK Supremacy Evo (Insert 2, Jet 3)Radiator - EK CE280 and PE360Fans - EK F3-140ER (2) and EK F4-120ER (3)Pump - D5 PWM G2Reservoir - EK XRES 140 Revo (200 mL)Tubing - 13/10 DuraClear
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerAntec HCP-1200: ATX12V v2.3, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
OSWindows 10 64-bit
GraphicsCrimson 16.10.1 WHQL

Comparison Products

Benchmark Suite

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Benchmark Settings
Synthetic Benchmarks & Settings
PCMark 8Version 2.7.613Home, Creative, Work, Storage, Applications (Adobe & Microsoft)
3DMark 13Version 4.47.597.0Skydiver, Firestrike, Firestrike Extreme Default Presets
SiSoftware SandraVersion 2016.03.22.21CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth
DiskSPD4k Random Read, 4k Random Write128k Sequential Read, 128k Sequential Write
Cinebench R15Build RC83328DEMOOpenGL Benchmark
CompuBenchVersion 1.5.8Face Detection, Optical Flow, Ocean Surface, Ray Tracing
Application Tests & Settings
LAME MP3Version 3.98.3Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 0.9.9Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19 GB 4k mkv to x265 mp4
BlenderVersion 2.68aBMW 27 CPU Render Benchmark, BMW 27 GPU Render Benchmark
7-ZipVersion 16.02THG-Workload (7.6 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=9"
Adobe After Effects CCRelease 2015.3.0, Version driven routine
Adobe Photoshop CCRelease 2015.5.0. 20160603.r.88 x64PCMark driven routine (light and heavy)
Adobe InDesign CCRelease 2015.4, Build x64PCMark driven routine
Adobe IllustratorRelease 2015.3.0, Version 20.0.0 (64-bit)PCMark driven routine
Game Tests & Settings
Ashes of SingularityVersion 1.31.21360, DirectX 12, GPU-FocusedHigh PresetCrazy Preset
F1 20152015 Season, Abu Dhabi Track, RainMedium PresetUltra High Preset
Metro Last Light ReduxVersion 3.00 64-bitHigh QualityVery High Quality
The Talos PrincipleVersion 267252, 64-Bit, DirectX11High Preset, Max Render 1920x1080Ultra Preset, Max Render 1920x1080

We're looking for oddities in the bench scores. Boring benchmarks are good benchmarks for motherboards. Dramatic score leads result from motherboards cheating with hidden clock boosts, and a board that lags behind is usually because of a configuration conflict.

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Eric Vander Linden is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews motherboards, specializing in high-end Intel chipsets.