There is quite a number of the new revision of the X99 chipset motherboards that supports both Intel’s latest Broadwell-E CPUs and previous generation Haswell-E CPUs has been announced before and during our visit to Computex 2016. The Gigabyte X99 Designare EX in particular, is the one that Gigabyte highlighted the most throughout the entire week of the exhibition.
We have the Gigabyte X99 Designare EX here at Tech Critter’s lab today, special thanks to Gigabyte Malaysia for the provision of the review unit of course! With no further adieu, let’s find out what kind of feature and performance can we expect from the Gigabyte X99 Designare EX!
Gigabyte has revamped its UEFI BIOS and we’re now looking at a much cleaner and simple interface over the previous Gigabyte X99 Ultra Durable series motherboards. This is rather subjective but personally, we find that the user experience can be further improved if Gigabyte can unify the multipliers and relevant voltage into a single interface to make tweaking easier, rather than having to go back and forth through multiple menus.
- Still mode – The LED lights up in the selected color
- Pulse mode – The LED will pulsate every few seconds
- Beat mode – The LED will blink according to the rhythm of the music you’re playing on the system
Gigabyte’s EasyTune makes overclocking your system easier much easier by allow you to tweak the parameters such as the voltages, CPU multiplier, Uncore directly on the software without having to go through the hassle to reboot your system to access these parameters in the BIOS.
Test Rig Configuration
Raijintek Triton 240
Intel Core i7 6950X
Gigabyte X99 Designare EX
HyperX Fury DDR4 16GB
Primary Hard Drive
Crucial M500 120GB
Cooler Master V1200
We put the overclocking capability of the EasyTune to test by using a HyperX Fury DDR4 2666MHz memory kit and Intel Core i7 6950X CPU to see how far we can push both the component with the Gigabyte X99 Designare EX.
Starting off with the CPU overclocking, the AutoTuning feature did a pretty good job as it managed to get the Intel i7 6950X running on 4.3GHz with 1.25V on the CPU voltage, much similar to the safe result we’ve achieved with manual overclocking method. By safe result, we mean that the CPU must be able to perform at its best without any signs of thermal throttle. We’ve managed to go a little bit further with 4.4GHz but our CPU cooler couldn’t keep up with the heat.
Memory overclocking wise, we weren’t able to hit the advertised speed of 3600MHz with our HyperX Fury DDR4 2666MHz kit but we’re still pretty satisfied with the result of 3200MHz and timing of 15-16-16-38-2T at 1.35V.
The Gigabyte X99 Designare EX is what we would describe as the combination of both performance and aesthetics. While the use of high-quality components and solid construction of the motherboard pretty much met the standard of what a Ultra Durable series motherboard should be, we’re hoping to see Gigabyte to actually include Q-code display, power button and reset button on the future revision of this board. It’s understandable if the motherboard doesn’t cost a whopping RM 1999, but that’s not the case for the X99 Designare EX – you’re paying a premium price tag for a motherboard.
- Improved EUFI BIOS with a much more simple and easy to use interface
- Good overclocking potential
- Use of high-quality components
- Sleeved SATA cables included
- PS/2 port that will come in handy if USB fails to detect input device due to driver issue or failed overclocking attempt
- WIFI ready with M.2 WIFI Card
- Support NVMe U.2, M.2 SSD
- Support up 3-way SLI / Crossfire setup with x16 speed on each lane
- Support GPU input and Thunderbolt 3 output for daisy-chain up to 6 devices
- PCIe Armor and Memory Armor (reinforced PCIe and memory slots)
- On-board RGB LED and RGB LED header for the aesthetics
- Rich featured and easy to use software bundle with Gigabyte App Center
- Very costly
- Lack of Q-code display, power button and reset button