EVGA announced a new Intel X299 motherboard and is giving its Elite members first crack at them.
The new EVGA X299 Dark motherboard supports Intel X-series processors (Skylake-X or Kaby Lake-X), but the board’s capabilities are significantly different depending on which CPU you install. Skylake-X processors will enjoy the use of all four of the memory DIMMs for quad-channel operation with up to 64GB (4 x 16GB) of DDR4-4000 memory, but Kaby Lake-X CPUs will be able to access only two of the four memory slots for dual-channel operation. The other two DIMMs will not function, and as such, Kaby Lake CPUs can support only up to 32GB (2 x 16GB) of DDR4-4133 memory on the EVGA X299 Dark.
PCIe connectivity is similarly segmented, with the EVGA X299 Dark sporting five x16 slots that support 4-way SLI graphics configurations with 44-lane Skylake-X processors, 3-way SLI with 28-lane CPUs (Skylake-X), and 2-way SLI with Kaby Lake-X processors (which sport just 16 PCIe lanes).
For storage, the EVGA X299 Dark features a total of eight SATA 6Gbps ports (six from the Intel X299 PCH, two from an ASMedia ASM1061 controller), two U.2 ports, and three M.2 interfaces. Again, the connectivity of these ports is dependent upon which CPU is installed, but EVGA makes it easy to figure it out by including a printed PCB that acts as a visual guide, showing the lane breakdowns.
Enthusiasts Crave Windows XP?
The EVGA X299 Dark motherboard is designed with enthusiasts in mind, featuring a 12-layer PCB, 16-phase PWM, external BCLK clock generators, active-cooled VRMs and PCH, and higher gold content in its LGA2066 CPU socket. There are also enthusiast tools including a triple BIOS, a PCIe lane shutoff switch, quad-SLI graphics support, and support for Windows XP (you read that correctly, Windows XP) via its ASMedia ASM1061 controller (two of the SATA 6Gbps ports on the board).
We reached out to EVGA to confirm this, and not only does the EVGA X299 Dark support Windows XP, but the company is also shipping drivers for the aged OS with the board. We’re not sure what the demand for outdated OS support is, but EVGA appears to be one of the only manufacturers to offer Windows XP drivers with an X299 motherboard.
Members Only (For Now)
The EVGA X299 Dark is available now for $499.99 from the company’s website, but only for EVGA Elite members. There are three ways to qualify as an Elite member: EVGA members who have purchased and registered a qualifying EVGA GTX graphics card as an original owner are automatically in, as well as any members who have purchased and registered at least two EVGA products in the last 12 months. However, a purchase isn’t the only way to be an Elite Member; EVGA members with at least 100 forum posts are also qualified.
Although it may seem a bit counterproductive to offer a product exclusively to EVGA Elite members, the EVGA X299 Dark will almost assuredly hit other stores in the weeks to come.
|Motherboard||EVGA X299 Dark ATX|
|CPU Support||Intel X-Series Processors|
|Memory||- Up to 64GB (4 x 16GB) DDR4-4000 (Skylake-X)- Up to 32GB (4 x 16GB) DDR4-4133 (Kaby Lake-X)|
|PCIe Slots||- x16 x5- x4|
|PCIe Connectivity||- 4-Way SLI (44-lane Skylake-X CPU)- 3-Way SLI (28-lane Skylake-X CPU)- 2-Way SLI (16-lane Kaby Lake-X CPU)|
|Storage||- SATA 6Gbps (Intel X299 PCH) x6- SATA 6Gpbs (ASMedia ASM1061) x2- M.2 Key-M PCIe/SATA x2- U.2 x2|
|M.2 Slots||- M.2 Key-M x2- M.2 Key-E|
|USB Connectivity||- USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-C- USB 3.1 (Gen 2) Type-A- USB 3.0 x6- USB 3.0 x2 (Internal Header)- USB 2.0 x4 (Internal Header)|