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Supermicro C7X99-OCE ATX Motherboard Review

Can Supermicro deliver its legendary server-component reliability with the overclocking features we’ve grown to love? We gauge the company’s progress in its third generation of enthusiast-oriented motherboards.

Results: Benchmarks, Efficiency And Overclocking

Hardware and software settings carried over from our initial round-up allow me to compare the performance of every tested X99 motherboard to the most recent products. Charts include the three most similarly-priced competitors.

3DMark And PCMark

We haven’t seen significant attempts to game the review system in recent years, which would be indicated by noticeable increases in basic benchmark performance. That’s good, since those types of events previously triggered lengthy investigations into clock speed manipulation. Everyone can overclock, and overclockers prefer to use their own settings.

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3DMark and PCMark show all four boards producing similar performance. No cheating here.

SiSoftware Sandra

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Memory performance is one place motherboard manufacturers can still affect performance a little without overtly cheating, since certain advanced timings are based on other memory/motherboard factors and not programmed onto the module. Tighter timings tend to produce higher bandwidth scores, while looser timings lend themselves to additional stability. Supermicro appears to choose stability, as inferred by its slightly lower Sandra Bandwidth and Encoding/Decoding scores.

3D Games

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The C7X99-OCE is also found near the middle of a tightly-grouped pack of gaming performance scores.

Encoding, Creativity, Productivity And File Compression

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The C7X99-OCE retains mid-pack performance consistency throughout our application suites.

Encoding, Creativity, Productivity And File Compression

The C7X99-OCE consumes about as much power as its competitors, falling between the feature-packed Asus and feature-light MSI boards under full load. Temperatures are a little high, which could account for average power consumption on a board with fewer added-on controllers.

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Our efficiency chart averages all nine previously-tested X99 motherboards, including microATX and low-cost models. The C7X99-OCE’s efficiency looks a little worse, even though the lower-cost boards it’s competing against have a similar feature count.

Overclocking

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
Supermicro C7X99-OCEMSI X99S MPowerASRock X99 Extreme6/acAsus X99 Pro
BIOS1.0a (12/11/2014)V22.3 (11/25/2014)1.40 (11/11/2014)1004 (10/16/2014)
Base Clock43-540MHz (0.01MHz)91-300MHz (0.05MHz)96-300MHz (0.1MHz)80-300MHz (0.1MHz)
CPU Multiplier12-80x (1x)12-80x (1x)12-120x (1x)12-80x (1x)
DRAM Data Rates800-40001333-2666800-26661200-4000
CPU Vcore0-2.00V (1mV)0.80-2.10V (1mV)0.80-2.00V (1mV)0.001-1.92V (1mV)
VCCIN1.81-2.50V (50mV)1.20-3.04V (1mV)1.20-2.30V (10mV)0.80-2.70V (1mV)
PCH VoltageN/A0.70-2.32V (10mV)0.90-1.50V (25mV)0.70-1.80V (6.25mV)
DRAM Voltage1.20-1.60V (50mV)0.60-2.00V (10mV)1.00-1.80V (10mV)0.80-1.90V (10mV)
CAS Latency7-24 Cycles4-31 Cycles4-31 Cycles1-31 Cycles
tRCD4-32 Cycles4-31 Cycles5-31 Cycles1-31 Cycles
tRP4-32 Cycles4-31 Cycles5-31 Cycles1-31 Cycles
tRAS10-40 Cycles9-63 Cycles10-63 Cycles1-63 Cycles

Supermicro endows the C7X99-OCE with a competitive range of clock settings, and even includes the non-validated memory ratios familiar primarily to owners of Asus motherboards.

My test CPU unfortunately didn’t reach the expected 4 to 4.4GHz, coming up just shy of target at 4376MHz using a 102MHz BCLK setting and 43x multiplier. A slight shortfall in DRAM overclocking occurred when attempts to lower the CPU multiplier were either ineffective or caused a boot failure, though users of slower RAM should experience a greater variety of workarounds. Higher memory multipliers didn’t work either, though manual timing configuration might have eventually solved the issue. After five days of trying various firmware configurations, the 0.025GHz shortfall in frequency and data rate seemed even less important.

Choosing DDR4-2666 rather than the default XMP-3000 setting might be an option, but it barely outperforms DDR4-2133 SPD values on the C7X99-OCE. This chart is primarily a test of how aggressively each board auto-configures secondary and tertiary timings in response to multiplier manipulation, and it appears Supermicro favors overclocking stability over performance superiority.

  • ykki
    Is it only me or does 3 year warranty on $300 components seem a little low?
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    15434696 said:
    Is it only me or does 3 year warranty on $300 components seem a little low?
    Tons of consumer electronics in North America only have a one-year manufacturer warranty regardless of price range.

    Personally, I think three years should be the minimum legal warranty: reduce the amount of e-waste generated by device manufacturers engineering their products to barely outlive the warranty. Making retailers accountable for part of the warranty repair costs would also give them incentive to avoid stocking dodgy products.

    (Except on batteries which people can ruin within months by abusing the heck out of them, one more reason to make batteries user-replaceable again.)
    Reply
  • wolverine96
    It seems like a good motherboard for most users' needs. Supermicro followed the old saying, Keep It Simple, Stupid!I kind of like the complete absence of USB 2.0. Who really needs USB 2.0, when USB 3.0 is backward-compatible? The only slight problem I can think of is the front USB 2.0 ports on your case will be useless, but there are other case options out there.
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    Does Win8 / Win10 have native usb 3.0 support? I imagine they do. I know I have a hard time installing windows 7 when my USB key / keyboard / mouse are plugged into a usb 3.0 port.

    I like seeing that USB 3 is becoming prevalent but it worries me a bit for 100% backwards comparability. I guess installing a driver during install is not too trivial but it is annoying.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15438455 said:
    Does Win8 / Win10 have native usb 3.0 support? I imagine they do. I know I have a hard time installing windows 7 when my USB key / keyboard / mouse are plugged into a usb 3.0 port.

    I like seeing that USB 3 is becoming prevalent but it worries me a bit for 100% backwards comparability. I guess installing a driver during install is not too trivial but it is annoying.
    Blame the motherboard manufacturer, probably, as most of those old systems relied on third-party controllers not supported by native drivers. Remember that USB 3.0 is a 2-in-1 interface, the USB 2.0 connection is still there (chipset-based ports should be supported in USB 2.0 mode prior to updating the drivers).
    Reply
  • bit_user
    15434487 said:
    Can Supermicro deliver its legendary server-component reliability
    I have one of their older Socket 2011 workstation boards.

    I've been happy with it, so far (no overclocking or multi-GPU, though). My only complaint is a significant hissing on the line-out port, forcing me to use a separate sound card. But when I viewed the Newegg reviews a year later, it sounded like they had some serious quality problems starting shortly after I bought mine.

    So, maybe they've already lost that "legendary reliability"? It wasn't a cheap board, either.

    I just bought an ASRock mini-ITX server board, though it was the only option with all the features I wanted. We'll see how that works out...
    Reply
  • Bolts Romano
    why do motherboard maker still provide ps2 connector on the motherboard?
    Is there people still use ps 2 keyboard today?
    Is there people who can afford to buy 300 dollars motherboard and still use 1998 keyboard and mouse?
    Reply
  • DrakeFS
    @Bolts Romano: Its a gaming thing mostly. USB adds latency to the keyboard and mouse.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    15448545 said:
    why do motherboard maker still provide ps2 connector on the motherboard?
    Is there people still use ps 2 keyboard today?
    Is there people who can afford to buy 300 dollars motherboard and still use 1998 keyboard and mouse?
    2 markets. Some people love their old mouse, others love their old mechanical keyboards. That's 2 markets, 1 port, roll the dice and hope the crossover doesn't hurt your marketing :)

    Reply
  • bit_user
    why do motherboard maker still provide ps2 connector on the motherboard?
    Is there people still use ps 2 keyboard today?
    Is there people who can afford to buy 300 dollars motherboard and still use 1998 keyboard and mouse?
    heard of BadUSB? Some people are disabling USB HID on their PCs. Granted, that's pretty uncommon.

    I still use a PS/2 keyboard I paid $300 for, years ago. I do have a USB adapter for it, but I think it increases the number of missed key presses/releases.
    Reply