Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 7 Motherboard Review

Benchmarks & Conclusion

Intel’s latest platform has been anything but consistent concerning clocks, and that’s entirely due to the way various firmware has addressed things like multipliers and TDP limits. Of the comparison boards, the Asus Prime X299-Deluxe was the only sample to stay within Intel’s 140W guideline. Conversely, the X299 Aorus Gaming 7 hits a monstrous 239W, even with its automatic overclock (a firmware setting Gigabyte labeled “Enhanced Multi-Core Performance”) disabled. The ASRock and MSI samples fall between these extremes at 183W and 229W, respectively.

We already know that allowing the CPU to consume more power allows it to hold a higher multiplier, so this isn’t a completely fair performance comparison. Yet until Intel issues further guidance, we can still use power numbers to knock the performance leaders down a peg in our final analysis.

Synthetic Benchmarks

We see a little variation in 3Dmark and PCMark score, but nothing consistent enough to prove that more power always means more performance.

Synthetic benchmarks got even stranger in Sandra, as the ASRock sample led slightly in Arithmetic, and the X299 Aorus Gaming 7 led significantly in Multimedia. Sandra Cryptography is impacted by memory performance, so the board with the quickest advanced timings, MSI’s X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, led there.

3D Games

The MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon leads the field in games, until its Nahimic Audio Solution software kills its Talos scores. A look back at its review shows that it would have led there too, if only that software were disabled.

Timed Applications

The XTU full-load power numbers would have anyone guessing that Gigabyte might clean up on timed benchmarks, but the reality is that its only significant lead was in Blender CPU-based rendering.

Power, Heat, And Efficiency

Intel’s XTU showed a 10W difference between the Gigabyte and MSI boards, but only 6W of that were indicated at the AC supply line. As a result of that thirst, these two boards also created the most CPU heat.

MSI getting dinged in Talos puts the X299 Aorus Gaming 7 in the winner’s circle from a performance perspective, yet the tiny performance gains of these two boards can’t excuse the vast increases in power consumption.

Overclocking

The firmware of all four X299 boards satisfies the requirements of our mild-mannered overclocks, and Gigabyte’s DDR4-5800 setting looks just as unrealistic as ASRock’s 2000 MHz max BCLK.

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 7
$399.99Newegg
ASRock X299 Taichi
$324.00Amazon
Asus Prime X299-Deluxe
$489.99Newegg
MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
$349.99Newegg
BIOS
F6 (06/23/2017)
P1.30 (06/29/2017)
0402 (06/13/2017)
1.10 (06/26/2017)
Base Clock
80-500 MHz (10 kHz)
90-2000 MHz (50 kHz)
80-300 MHz (100 kHz)
70-655 MHz (125 kHz)
CPU Multiplier
7x-80x (1x)
1x-80x (1x)
7x-83x (1x)
7x-83x (1x)
DRAM Data Rates
800-5800 (200/266.6 MHz)
1200-4400 (200/266.6 MHz)
800-4400 (200/266.6 MHz)
1000-4400 (200/266.6 MHz)
CPU Vcore
0.50-1.70V (1 mV)
0.80-2.00V (1 mV)
0.01-1.92V (1mV)
0.80-2.10V (1mV)
System Agent
0.80-1.40 V (5 mV)
Offset +/- 1.0V (1 mV)
0.70-1.80V (5mV)
0.80-2.20V (5mV)
CPU I/O
0.80-1.40 V (5 mV)
0.85-2.00V (5 mV)
0.80-2.70V (10mV)
0.80-2.00V (5mV)
PCH Voltage
0.80-1.30 V (20 mV)
0.85-3.00V (50 mV)
0.70-1.80V (6.25mV)
0.60-2.00V (10mV)
DRAM Voltage
1.00-2.00 V (5 mV)
1.10-2.00V (5 mV)
1.00-2.10V (5mV)
0.60-2.00V (10mV)
CAS Latency
5-31 Cycles
4-31 Cycles
1-31 Cycles
4-31 Cycles
tRCD
1-31 Cycles
5-31 Cycles
1-31 Cycles
4-31 Cycles
tRP
1-31 Cycles
5-31 Cycles
1-31 Cycles
4-31 Cycles
tRAS
1-63 Cycles
10-63 Cycles
1-63 Cycles
9-63 Cycles

It appears that nearly every X299 board will push this particular CPU to 4.4 GHz before thermal throttling occurs, and that’s also the factor that governed the 1.15V max I chose for that test. The X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC ran the CPU a little hot, so it got a little less voltage and a lower overclock. While the Gigabyte board tied ASRock for first-place CPU clocks, the X299 Taichi had a noticeable lead in memory overclocking capability.

Memory overclocking only makes sense if it improves performance, and Asus’ first-place bandwidth score overwhelms its second-place data rate. ASRock’s first-place data rate is nearly meaningless considering its third-place bandwidth finish. And Gigabyte’s board looks like it’s still thinking about CPU clocks.

Final Thoughts

ASRock’s X299 Taichi proved itself a supreme value in a prior review, and today’s primary question is whether Gigabyte’s X299 Aorus Gaming 7 is worth $100 more than that award-winning part. Based on a few estimations concerning component improvements from big (the Wi-Fi controller) to small (such as the extra fan headers and fan voltage controllers) it only appears to be worth around $80 more. Gigabyte’s component improvements don’t really show up in a performance-per-dollar chart.

On the other hand, I don’t know how to rate a few of its other improvements from a value perspective. The X299 Aorus Gaming 7's far more elaborate LED lighting, for example, and its RGB software works now. The X299 Aorus includes an audio software suite that’s probably worth at least $4 wholesale, and Gigabyte wouldn’t have bothered with that extra software if it didn’t think you’d want it. The smaller the detail we consider, the closer the X299 Aorus Gaming 7 appears to approach the value of the award-winning board that preceded it.

We have an award for that: Gigabyte’s X299 Aorus Gaming 7 earns our general stamp of approval for the $400 budget class.

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46 comments
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  • drwho1
    I'm still hoping that future boards don't limit features on their boards. I don't want to see "if you used m.2 drive you loose 2 Sata connections " anymore... then this boards with 2 or 3 m.2 if you used them, then you lose 4/6 Sata connections out of 8?

    Just not make sense to me.
  • AgentLozen
    DrWho1 said:
    I'm still hoping that future boards don't limit features on their boards. I don't want to see "if you used m.2 drive you loose 2 Sata connections " anymore... then this boards with 2 or 3 m.2 if you used them, then you lose 4/6 Sata connections out of 8? Just not make sense to me.


    I understand why you would say this. I also think that every feature on a motherboard should be 100% usable.

    What's happening though is that there are more features on the board than there is bandwidth for it. If you enable one feature, it eats the resources needed for another. Have you ever worked at a job that was understaffed? It's like that.
  • What i like about x299 platform is that PCIe frequency just like with 1366 socket is not affected when you change BLCK. I wish it is the same case for X99, would make possible to overclock Xeons easily.
  • This price is too much. Waiting for < $200 X399 AMD or X299 Intel and they will come in about year.
  • Kahless01
    until intel quits screwing around and comes up with a decent plan instead of playing it fast and loose there is really no reason to test any of its products. there are far too many variables because of the rush job they did. youre just going to have to retest when they come to their senses and thats a lot of wasted time and resources on everyones part.
  • lucas_7_94
    I think it need more RGB /s
  • dstarr3
    GOD THE LIGHTING IS SO TACKY
  • derekullo
    1612573 said:
    GOD THE LIGHTING IS SO TACKY


    Red lights make it faster.

    PC Building 101
  • gasaraki
    115752 said:
    until intel quits screwing around and comes up with a decent plan instead of playing it fast and loose there is really no reason to test any of its products. there are far too many variables because of the rush job they did. youre just going to have to retest when they come to their senses and thats a lot of wasted time and resources on everyones part.


    So you mean just like Ryzen boards? If everyone followed your advice, there wouldn't be any motherboard reviews for either brands.
  • AnimeMania
    Does anybody know if it is "OK" to put your graphics card in any of the 5 PCIe slots on the motherboard. I would probably place my graphics card in the PCIe slot farthest from the CPU so as not to cover up the LED graphics and provide adequate ventilation. Something in the back of my mind tells me that not all PCIe slots are equal and you might be penalized for doing so.
  • dstarr3
    1839266 said:
    Does anybody know if it is "OK" to put your graphics card in any of the 5 PCIe slots on the motherboard. I would probably place my graphics card in the PCIe slot farthest from the CPU so as not to cover up the LED graphics and provide adequate ventilation. Something in the back of my mind tells me that not all PCIe slots are equal and you might be penalized for doing so.


    I know back in the day, the PCI slots nearest the CPU had the least latency. I don't know if that's still relevant.
  • JasonandAmanda
    1839266 said:
    Does anybody know if it is "OK" to put your graphics card in any of the 5 PCIe slots on the motherboard. I would probably place my graphics card in the PCIe slot farthest from the CPU so as not to cover up the LED graphics and provide adequate ventilation. Something in the back of my mind tells me that not all PCIe slots are equal and you might be penalized for doing so.


    Short answer no. The furthest PCIe slot is x8. There are two x16 slots: the one closest to the CPU and the third from the CPU.
  • JasonandAmanda
    1612573 said:
    1839266 said:
    Does anybody know if it is "OK" to put your graphics card in any of the 5 PCIe slots on the motherboard. I would probably place my graphics card in the PCIe slot farthest from the CPU so as not to cover up the LED graphics and provide adequate ventilation. Something in the back of my mind tells me that not all PCIe slots are equal and you might be penalized for doing so.
    I know back in the day, the PCI slots nearest the CPU had the least latency. I don't know if that's still relevant.


    This is still true. Typically the one closest to the CPU is x16 where as others are typically x8 or x4.
  • Robert_470
    Does anybody know if it is "OK" to put your graphics card in any of the 5 PCIe slots on the motherboard. I would probably place my graphics card in the PCIe slot farthest from the CPU so as not to cover up the LED graphics and provide adequate ventilation. Something in the back of my mind tells me that not all PCIe slots are equal and you might be penalized for doing so.
    0
    that one slot seems separated so my guess is yes it's different somehow
  • Crashman
    496490 said:
    DrWho1 said:
    I'm still hoping that future boards don't limit features on their boards. I don't want to see "if you used m.2 drive you loose 2 Sata connections " anymore... then this boards with 2 or 3 m.2 if you used them, then you lose 4/6 Sata connections out of 8? Just not make sense to me.
    I understand why you would say this. I also think that every feature on a motherboard should be 100% usable. What's happening though is that there are more features on the board than there is bandwidth for it. If you enable one feature, it eats the resources needed for another. Have you ever worked at a job that was understaffed? It's like that.
    It's worse than that. The problem is that Kaby Lake-X has only 16 lanes and everyone is trying to make their boards Kaby Lake-X compatible. If not for Kaby Lake-X, all boards would be optimized to use AT LEAST 28 CPU lanes.
  • Crashman
    2513993 said:
    Does anybody know if it is "OK" to put your graphics card in any of the 5 PCIe slots on the motherboard. I would probably place my graphics card in the PCIe slot farthest from the CPU so as not to cover up the LED graphics and provide adequate ventilation. Something in the back of my mind tells me that not all PCIe slots are equal and you might be penalized for doing so. 0 that one slot seems separated so my guess is yes it's different somehow


    The second slot is fed by the same lanes as the fastest M.2 slot, so I'd skip using it if you don't need it.
    The fourth slot is fed by the chipset, which only has an x4 uplink, so I'd skip using it if you don't need it.
    The bottom slot takes eight lanes from the top, except if you have a Kaby Lake-X processor, in which case it's disabled. Rather than say "I'd skip using it" concerning the slot, I'll say that about Kaby Lake-X.
  • Are any of these clueless manufactures will make motherboard without gay looking RGB but to actually have two 8pin CPU connectors and put copper based sink on VRM with active fan on top of it?
  • Malik 722
    is intel new skylake-x also meant as a replacement for 1151 skylake or it only replaces it's broad well counterpart.
  • Malik 722
    is skylake-x also meant as a replacement for 1151 skylake or kabylake or it only replaces it's broadwell counterpart.
  • Crashman
    432885 said:
    is intel new skylake-x also meant as a replacement for 1151 skylake or it only replaces it's broad well counterpart.
    It's a replacement for Broadwell-E on 2011-v3. It's a different market than 1151.
  • ah
    Really, for long term stability, the 7900X should only be OC to 4GHz max. My 6800K can boost and use to browse the webs all day at 4.2 GHz with a voltage of 1.242 V without any problem. But, it requires 1.272 V to play Wildlands without any crash to BSOD. When you benchmark or stress test, you test to CPU in isolation, but when you play game, everything is running at full speed, and the CPU has to take care of that, providing the bandwidth to the graphics card and so on...
  • FrozenGerbil
    I really think that the Z270 motherboards were the last product lines that all these Taiwan manufacturers made with a correct balance of price versus performance. But with the X370 and now the X299, all the manufacturers are resorting to gimmicks and kitsch, adding lots of futuristic-looking plastic parts that trap heat inside VRMs, PCHs, and M.2 cards, instead of dissipating heat, and piling on the RGB effects. This reminds me of the Z77 mobos from 2012 when Gigabyte released a 32-phase CPU VRM, and not to be outdone, Asus countered with a 40-phase CPU VRM, and it was achieved with lots of phase doublers.

    If you watch the latest YouTube teaser video that Asus release for their upcoming ROG Rampage VI Extreme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dY8LGeu0UE , there are also lots of pretty RGB effects. But if you look at der8auer's previous video showing a prototype of Asus' redesigned VRM heatsink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hejMP5hrhjc&t=78s unfortunately Asus still favored style over substance, and the VRM heatsink in this new Asus video shows very shallow fins on the VRM heatsink for far less surface area for heat dissipation :-( In the der8auer video, the prototype heatsink has deeply cut fins. The very shallow fins shown in the new Rampage VI video are very shallow, as if Asus thought that deeply-cut heatsink fins are ugly or something. If you watch Tiny Tom Logan's preview of the MSI XPower Gaming AC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQk_xQ6HTFs&t=283s the heatsink has more exposed fins both on the VRM and on the big heat-piped heatsink next to the I/O panel. Asus knows how to make properly-design heatsinks on their mobos. For example, the Asus X99-E-WS workstation mobo has excellent heatsink designs. The X299 essentially needs to have a robust workstation build to it if it is to properly support 12-core and 18-core CPUs. But these manufacturers are so fixated on adding the word "gaming" to all their X299 mobos that they are making their mobos look like toys.

    So ever since the Z270 mobos, all the mobo makers are trying to out-style their competitors by making their mobos look the best visually, at the expense of performance.
  • Crashman
    2483523 said:
    I really think that the Z270 motherboards were the last product lines that all these Taiwan manufacturers made with a correct balance of price versus performance. But with the X370 and now the X299, all the manufacturers are resorting to gimmicks and kitsch, adding lots of futuristic-looking plastic parts that trap heat inside VRMs, PCHs, and M.2 cards, instead of dissipating heat, and piling on the RGB effects. This reminds me of the Z77 mobos from 2012 when Gigabyte released a 32-phase CPU VRM, and not to be outdone, Asus countered with a 40-phase CPU VRM, and it was achieved with lots of phase doublers. If you watch the latest YouTube teaser video that Asus release for their upcoming ROG Rampage VI Extreme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dY8LGeu0UE , there are also lots of pretty RGB effects. But if you look at der8auer's previous video showing a prototype of Asus' redesigned VRM heatsink https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hejMP5hrhjc&t=78s unfortunately Asus still favored style over substance, and the VRM heatsink in this new Asus video shows very shallow fins on the VRM heatsink for far less surface area for heat dissipation :-( In the der8auer video, the prototype heatsink has deeply cut fins. The very shallow fins shown in the new Rampage VI video are very shallow, as if Asus thought that deeply-cut heatsink fins are ugly or something. If you watch Tiny Tom Logan's preview of the MSI XPower Gaming AC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQk_xQ6HTFs&t=283s the heatsink has more exposed fins both on the VRM and on the big heat-piped heatsink next to the I/O panel. Asus knows how to make properly-design heatsinks on their mobos. For example, the Asus X99-E-WS workstation mobo has excellent heatsink designs. The X299 essentially needs to have a robust workstation build to it if it is to properly support 12-core and 18-core CPUs. But these manufacturers are so fixated on adding the word "gaming" to all their X299 mobos that they are making their mobos look like toys. So ever since the Z270 mobos, all the mobo makers are trying to out-style their competitors by making their mobos look the best visually, at the expense of performance.
    Z270 is a current product. X299 is a replacement for X99.
  • FrozenGerbil
    8708 said:
    Z270 is a current product. X299 is a replacement for X99.


    Yes, I am fully aware that X299 replaces X99. My point of my original post is that the Z270, X99, Z170, and earlier mobos did not sacrifice substance for style, whereas with their X370 and X299 mobo designs, all the manufacturers are now focusing more on style at the expense of substance, with the increased "style" being to add on lots of futuristic plastic parts and RGB effects and the decreased "substance" being the additional VRM performance and proper heat dissipation from the VRM and M.2 areas on the new mobos that are needed to properly manage mega-core CPUs and hot NVMe M.2's.