Gigabyte appears to be the first company out of the gate with a Kaby Lake-X-specific motherboard via its new Aorus X299 Gaming. The board's product page stated that it’s specifically designed to support only the quad-core Intel i7-7740X and i7-7640X processors.
As you may know, in the conclusion of our review of the Intel Core i7-7740X Kaby Lake-X processor, we found it hard to recommend that processor until Kaby Lake-X-specific motherboards came to market. At the time, it was difficult to advise purchasing an expensive, full-fledged X299 motherboard for a Kaby Lake-X processor that lacks integrated graphics and utilizes only half of the available PCI-E lanes. To top all that off, four of the motherboard’s eight DIMM slots would go unused. Thus, it’s easy to see why there just hasn’t been a compelling reason to purchase a Kaby Lake-X CPU. At least until now.
After weeks of waiting, Gigabyte has announced what could very well be the world’s first Kaby Lake-X-specific motherboard. You’ll notice that even though Gigabyte’s Aorus X299 Gaming is based on Intel’s X299 chipset, the motherboard is equipped with only four DDR4 DIMM slots. (And, while we’re on the subject of DIMM slots, this motherboard supports up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4 operating at 4,133MHz.) The X299 Aorus Gaming supports three-way SLI or CrossFire graphics card configurations. Other features include dual M.2 slots, support for Intel's Optane Memory, eight SATA 6Gbps connectors, and high-performance multi-channel HD audio.
The Aorus X299 Gaming sports all the common features of the Aorus line of products, such as built-in temperature sensors, dedicated fan and water pump connectors, and hybrid fan headers. Gigabyte has also embedded RGB LEDs into the motherboard, and it offers a number of lighting effects controlled by the company’s RGB Fusion software. Aorus Gaming X299 motherboards have also been upgraded with Digital LED support that allows each LED (up to 300) to be digitally addressable. The company also bundles its Aorus motherboards with its Smart Fan 5 software, which gives you the ability to interchange fan headers to reflect different thermal sensors at different locations on the motherboard.
In the end, pricing will determine the success of a Kaby Lake-X-specific motherboard such as this. To that end, we reached out to Gigabyte for more information on pricing and availability.
|Gigabyte||X299 Aorus Gaming|
|Memory||4 x DDR4 up to 4,133MHz (OC)|
|Multi-GPU||3x SLI, CrossFireX|
|PCI-E Slots||1 x16 slots, running at x16 1 x16 slots, running at x8 1 x16 slot, running at x42 x1 slots|
|SATA||8 x SATA 6Gbps|
|Ethernet||Intel GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)|
|Audio||Realtek ALC1220 codecHigh Definition Audio2/4/5.1/7.1-channelSupport for S/PDIF Out|
|USB||2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A 10 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports 4 x USB 2.0/1.1|