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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.

Our Verdict

A premium-priced board with few basic features, Supermicro’s C7X99-OCE is best suited to Supermicro’s rising fan base.

For

  • Dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet and Supermicro’s reputation for stability and longevity.

Against

  • Few added features, reduced implementation of chipset-integrated data ports, and minor overclocking difficulties.

Reliable Overclocking?

Famed for its reliability in the server market, Supermicro was once known to enthusiasts only for its cases. The company finally decided to dip a toe into the overclocking market with the C7Z87-OCE motherboard. But it wasn’t until Intel's Z97 update that Tom’s Hardware finally felt the teething pains of a company that was most experienced building business-oriented hardware. Today’s C7X99-OCE brings over two years of overclocking-related firmware advancements to users who want the added cores or PCIe 3.0 lanes of Haswell-E via LGA 2011-v3.

The C7X99-OCE is even rated for four-way SLI, though the dual-slot brackets and coolers of most compatible cards makes it unlikely that enthusiasts will try squeezing a third card into that single space before the fourth slot. You’d also lose front-panel USB 3.0, since the solitary header is located along the bottom edge. Heck, you might even lose the use of that header with a third card, depending on whether your double-space cooler is more than 8.4” long. Before we dig deeper into the connectors, here’s how it compares to the rest of our ~$300 boards:

X99 Mainstream Motherboard Features
Supermicro C7X99-OCEMSI X99S MPowerASRock X99 Extreme6/acAsus X99 Pro
PCB Revision1.014.01.071.01
ChipsetIntel X99Intel X99Intel X99Intel X99
Voltage RegulatorEight Phases12 Phases12 PhasesEight Phases
100MHz BCLK99.98 (-0.02%)99.98 (-0.02%)99.94 (-0.06%)99.94 (-0.06%)
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 21111
USB 3.06866
USB 2.0None224
Network2121
eSATANoneNone1None
CLR_CMOS ButtonNone111
Digital Audio OutOpticalOpticalOpticalOptical
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio5555
Other DevicesNoneNone2x Wi-Fi Antenna2x Wi-Fi Antenna
Internal Interfaces
PCIe 3.0 x16 (Core i7-5960X, -5930K)4 (x16/x8/x8/x8) SLI x4, CrossFire x44 (x16/x16/x0/x8*, x8/x16/x8/x8*) SLI x4, CrossFire x4 *Forces M.2 to PCIe 2.0 x23 (x16/x16/x8) SLI x3, CrossFire x3 M.2 disables x8 slot3 (x16/x16/x8) SLI x3, CrossFire x3 M.2 disables x8 slot
PCIe 3.0 x16 (Core i7-5820K)4 (x16/x0/x8/x0) SLI x2, CrossFire x24 (x16/x8/x0/x4*, x8/x8/x8/x4*) SLI x3, CrossFire x4 *Forces M.2 to PCIe 2.0 x23 (x16/x8/x4) SLI x2, CrossFire x3 M.2 disables x4 slot3 (x16/x8/x4) SLI x2, CrossFire x3 M.2 disables x4 slot
PCIe 2.0 x16NoneNoneNone1 (x4, shares 1x PCIe x1, 1x USB 3.0 controller [2-ports])
PCIe 2.0 x12 (x4 slot length)2 (open-ended)2 (+1x mini-PCIe, Filled)2 (1x w/x16, 1x w/Wi-Fi)
USB 3.01 (2-ports)2 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)
USB 2.0None2 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)
SATA 6.0 Gb/s1010 (Shares M.2/SATA-E)10 (Shares M.2/SATA-E)10 (2x Shared w/SATA-E)
SATA ExpressNone1 (Uses 2x SATA)None1 (Uses 2x SATA)
M.2 Interfaces (Transfer Modes)None1 (PCIe 3.0 x4, PCIe 2.0 x2, SATA 6Gb/s x2)1 (PCIe 3.0 x4, SATA 6Gb/s x1)1 (PCIe 3.0 x4-only)
4-Pin Fan5526 (5x PWM/DC dual-mode)
3-Pin FanNoneNone4None
FP-Audio1111
S/PDIF I/ONoneNoneNoneOutput Only
Internal ButtonsPower, OC1/2/3/DRAM/Home, CLR CMOS, BIOS RestorePower, Reset, OC-Genie, Clock +/-Power, ResetPower, Reset, Mem_OK
Internal SwitchBIOS Recovery ModeSlow Mode, BIOS SelectorDual BIOS SelectorXMP, EPU (low-energy), TPU (auto-overclocking)
Diagnostics PanelNumericNumericNumericNumeric
Other DevicesSerial COM, OC Front PanelNoneSerial COM, TB_Header, HDD-Saver, USB Type-ASerial COM, TB_Header, EXT_FAN
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA10x SATA 6Gb/s10x SATA 6Gb/s (Includes M.2, SATA-E)10x SATA 6Gb/s (Includes M.2, eSATA)10x SATA 6Gb/s (Includes M.2, SATA-E)
Chipset RAID Modes0, 1, 5, 10 (Ports 1-6)0, 1, 5, 10 (Ports 1-6)0, 1, 5, 10 (Ports 1-6)0, 1, 5, 10 (Ports 1-6)
Add-In SATANoneNoneNoneNone
USB 3.0NoneVL805 PCIe ASM1042 PCIeASM1042e PCIe ASM1072 HubASM1042e PCIe ASM1072 Hub
Networking
Primary LANIntel i210 PCIeIntel i210 PCIeWGI218V PHYWGI218V PHY
Secondary LANIntel i210 PCIeNoneAR8171 PCIeNone
Wi-FiNoneNoneBCM4352 PCIe 802.11ac dual-band / BT 4.0BCM4352 PCIe 802.11ac dual-band / BT 4.0
BluetoothNoneNoneBT 4.0 / Wi-Fi ComboBT 4.0 / Wi-Fi Combo
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC1150ALC1150ALC1150ALC1150
DDL/DTS ConnectNoneNoneDTS ConnectDTS Connect
WarrantyThree YearsThree YearsThree YearsThree Years
  • 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