The X299 Basin Falls Chipset & Test Setup
The Basin Falls X299 Chipset
The Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X processors drop into an LGA 2066 interface, supported by Intel's X299 chipset. Curiously, the platform controller hub isn't repurposed from Intel's server portfolio this time around. The 14nm, 6W piece of core logic features a four-lane DMI 3.0 connection, which is similar to a PCIe link between the processor and chipset. That's a nice doubling of throughput compared to X99's 2 GB/s DMI 2.0.
Basin Falls, Intel's code-name for X299, supports 30 HSIO (High Speed I/O) lanes that vendors can carve up into eight SATA 3.0 and 10 USB 3.0 ports, but lacks native Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 support. Intel plans to add support in future chipsets, naturally.
X299 supports up to three RST PCIe 3.0 x4 storage devices, though the reduced PCIe lane allocations on many Skylake-X SKUs will limit connectivity options. Intel's I218 Jacksonville LAN PHY and Optane Memory support also make an appearance, but most HEDT systems will likely have an SSD. That’s a better option than Optane Memory, which merely serves as a cache for an HDD.
Although LGA 2066 incorporates more pins than LGA 2011v3, it shares many of the same dimensions. As a result, it's physically compatible with existing LGA 2011v3 coolers. However, Intel recommends water cooling as a minimum requirement due to Skylake-X's TDP rating. Skylake-X processors also have an integrated voltage regulator (IVR) that is similar to the FIVR implementation on Broadwell-E parts.
Like all of Intel's unlocked SKUs, the Core i9-7900X doesn't come with a bundled cooler. The company does sell its $85-$100 Liquid Cooling TS13X as an option, but as we'll discuss shortly, invest in a beefy custom loop if your plans for Skylake-X include overclocking.
X299-based motherboard firmware is evolving rapidly, right up through Skylake-X's launch. Reports indicate spotty Turbo Boost Max 3.0 support, which could lead to dissimilar test results from one review to the next. We tested our MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC extensively and found that it implements Turbo Boost correctly. We also disabled the all-core Turbo Boost feature to ensure a level playing field.
There were several demonstrations of memory overclocking beyond DDR4-4000 with Skylake-X processors at Computex, but we settled on DDR4-3200 to match the memory data transfer rates of our Ryzen models.
We introduced our new test system and methodology in How We Test Graphics Cards. If you'd like more detail about our general approach, check that piece out.
The only updated components in our German lab are the CPU, system memory, motherboard, and new cooling solution, so we'll just provide a quick overview in the following table:
|Test Equipment and Environment|
|System||Germany Intel LGA 2066Intel Core i9-7900XMSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC4x 4GB G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-2600AMD Socket AM4 WorkstationAMD Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, 1600XAsus X370 Crosshair Hero VI2x 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3200Intel LGA 2011v3Intel Core i7-6900K, Core i7-6950XMSI X99S XPower Gaming Titanium4x 4GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-2400Intel LGA 1151Intel Core i7-7700KMSI Z270 Gaming 72x 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3200 @2400 MT/sAll SystemsGeForce GTX 1080 Founders EditionNvidia Quadro P6000 (Workstation)1x 1TB Toshiba OCZ RD400 (M.2, System)2x 960GB Toshiba OCZ TR150 (Storage, Images)Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 11, 850W Power Supply Unit (PSU)Windows 10 Pro (All Updates)Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 11, 850W Power Supply Unit (PSU)Windows 10 Pro (Creators Update)USIntel LGA 2066Intel Core i9-7900XMSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC4x 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4-2666 @ 2666 and 3200 MT/sIntel LGA 2011v3Intel Core i7-6900K, Core i7-6950XASRock X99 Extreme44x 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4-2666 @ 2666 and 3200 MT/sAMD Socket AM4 Workstation AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, 5 1600XMSI X370 Xpower Gaming Titanium 2x G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ 2666 (stock), and 3200 MT/s Intel LGA 1151 Intel Core i5-7600K, i7-7500 MSI Z270 Gaming M7 2x G.Skill FlareX DDR4-3200 @ 2400 All EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FE 1TB Samsung PM863 SilverStone ST1500, 1500W Windows 10 Creators Update Version 1703|
|Cooling||GermanyAlphacool Eiszeit 2000 ChillerAlphacool Eisblock XPXThermal Grizzly Kryonaut (For Cooler Switch)USCorsair H115iCorsair H100i v2Arctic MX4|
|Power Consumption Measurement||Contact-free DC Measurement at PCIe Slot (Using a Riser Card) Contact-free DC Measurement at External Auxiliary Power Supply Cable Direct Voltage Measurement at Power Supply 2x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500MHz Digital Multi-Channel Oscilloscope with Storage Function4x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50 Current Probe (1mA - 30A, 100kHz, DC) 4x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355 (10:1 Probes, 500MHz) 1x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012 Digital Multimeter with Storage Function|
|Thermal Measurement||1x Optris PI640 80Hz Infrared Camera + PI Connect Real-Time Infrared Monitoring and Recording|
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