After taking a look at the new Intel Core X CPUs and one X299 board I took a quick break to check out Gigabytes new Mini-ITX board for AM4 and now I’m back at it checking out the second X299 board to come into the office. This time the board is from Gigabyte and it is a little more down to earth compared to the Asus X299 Deluxe’s nearly $500 price point. Today I’m going to check out the Gigabyte X299 Gaming 3 from the Aorus brand. It isn’t Gigabytes lowest priced board, but at just under $280 for the MSRP it is down close to the range that people who aren’t shopping for $1000 or more CPUs would be looking. So today I’m going to see what it’s all about, test it, then run down where it stands in the market.

Product Name: Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

Review Sample provided by: Gigabyte

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

CPU

Support for Intel® Core™ X series processors in the LGA2066 package

L3 cache varies with CPU

Chipset

Intel® X299 Express Chipset

8 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB of system memory.

* Support for up to 512 GB of system memory when using Registered DIMMs.

* Supported when using a 44-lane or 28-lane CPU.

4 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory.

* Supported when using a 16-lane CPU.

4 channel memory architecture.

* Supported when using a 44-lane or 28-lane CPU.

Dual channel memory architecture.

Supported when using a 16-lane CPU.

Support for DDR4 4400(O.C.) to 2133 MHz memory modules

Support for non-ECC Un-buffered DIMM memory modules

Support for Registered DIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx4/2Rx4 memory modules (operate in non-ECC mode)

Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules

Audio

Realtek® ALC1220 codec

High Definition Audio

2/4/5.1/7.1-channel

Support for S/PDIF Out

LAN

Intel® GbE LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Expansion Slots

2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)

1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x8 (PCIEX8)

2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x4 (PCIEX4_1, PCIEX4_2)

Storage Interface

1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support) (M2Q_32G)

1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe x4/x2 SSD support) (M2P_32G)

8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

Multi-Graphics Technology

Support for NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ and 3-Way (with 44-lane CPU) / 2-Way (with 44 & 28-lane CPU) NVIDIA® SLI™ technologies

Support for AMD Quad-GPU CrossFire™ and 3-Way (with 44-lane CPU) / 2-Way AMD CrossFire™ technologies

USB

Chipset+ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 Controller:

1 x USB Type-C™ port on the back panel, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red) on the back panel

Chipset:

10 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (6 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)

4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports available through the internal USB headers

Internal I/O Connectors

1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector

1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector

1 x CPU fan header

1 x water cooling CPU fan header

4 x system fan headers

1 x system fan/water cooling pump header

1 x 3 Amp fan/water cooling pump header

1 x digital LED strip extension cable header

2 x RGB (RGBW) LED strip extension cable headers

2 x M.2 Socket 3 connectors

8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

1 x Intel® VROC Upgrade Key header

1 x front panel header

1 x front panel audio header

1 x S/PDIF Out header

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 headers

2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers

1 x Thunderbolt™ add-in card connector

1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header

1 x power button

1 x OC button

2 x temperature sensor headers

1 x Clear CMOS jumper

Back Panel Connectors

1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port

1 x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red)

6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports

1 x RJ-45 port

6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Side Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)

I/O Controller

iTE® I/O Controller Chip

H/W Monitoring

Voltage detection

Temperature detection

Fan speed detection

Water cooling flow rate detection

Overheating warning

Fan fail warning

Fan speed control

BIOS

2 x 128 Mbit flash

Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS

Support for DualBIOS™

PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

Unique Features

-Support for APP Center

3D OSD

@BIOS

AutoGreen

BIOS Setup

Color Temperature

Cloud Station

EasyTune

Easy RAID

Fast Boot

Game Boost

ON/OFF Charge

Platform Power Management

RGB Fusion

Smart Backup

Smart Keyboard

Smart TimeLock

Smart HUD

System Information Viewer

USB Blocker

V-Tuner

-Support for Q-Flash

-Support for Xpress Install

Bundle Software

Norton® Internet Security (OEM version)

Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready

cFosSpeed

Operating System

Support for Windows 10 64-bit

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 24.4cm

 


Packaging and Accessories

The packaging for the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 was completely different than the AB350N that I had in the office last week. This is an Aorus board, Gigabytes gaming line, so the focus is on that not Gigabyte branding. In fact, the Gigabyte logo is down in the corner where Aorus is on the front twice along with a huge Aorus logo in the background. Beyond that, you have the orange and black theming on the front and back. On the back, they have an actual photo of the board in the top right corner. Then from there, they  go through a whole list of the board's features with small photos or drawings with photos that help show what each feature is about. They touch on the RGB Fusion lighting with two photos and the AMP-Up Audio also has a little more dedicated to it than the others. They also managed to slip in a short specification listing and a line drawing of the board's rear I/O configuration.

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Inside the box, the motherboard comes wrapped in its static protective bag and sitting on a tray that holds it up in the air to make room for documentation and accessories under it. For documentation, they include a full user manual as well as an installation guide. You get a HUGE sheet of metallic finished stickers and then there is a driver/software installation disc should you need it to get online to download the most current drivers. The Aorus case badge is a thin metal and looks really good with the black background and orange trim. For accessories, you get four SATA cables and a front panel connection helper. Then there is the rear I/O panel, it has a slightly tinted metal finish with each of the labels etched into it. This is better than a bright metal panel but I would still prefer a dark black shield personally as it goes with more cases.

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Board Layout and Pictures

With this generation, Gigabyte has gone to great lengths to push a very color neutral theme on their boards with the AB350N being the exception. The X299 Gaming 3 might be the lowest end of the three current Aorus X299 boards but they didn’t slip in any special colors or white shrouds on an otherwise black board like in the past. This is a big deal, for our Crush build I went way out of the way to pull our Gigabyte board apart to paint all of the white black to match everything, this time around that doesn’t have to happen. Of course, that’s not to say there isn’t any style, they did make the board look good. They have an angular design on the heatsinks and the rear I/O cover that is a little like the Asus Strix styling, a black PCB with a gray design on it, and then things like their RGB lighting around the PCIe slots and on the chipset heatsink.

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Below is the rear I/O shield, it has an angular design with a touch of silver and the Aorus branding across the top. It has a few small holes that match with the styling as well but the main reason for this is to cover up the bright metal finish on the rear I/O to keep the whole board blacked out.

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For cooling, there are two heatsinks. There Is one across the top of the CPU socket that cools the power circuitry. It isn’t too large but it is large enough to keep things cool. The aluminum is anodized black and on top, they did add a black panel with a silver accent. The chipset cooler is in the bottom right corner of the board and it is much larger but very low profile to fit under long PCIe devices. It is also anodized black and on top, it also has a stick on panel. This one has a large Aorus logo that lights up in RGB and a lightning bolt looking accent across the middle.

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Okay starting up in the top left corner lets check out what the Gaming 3 has going for connections and other interesting features. The rear I/O has that nice looking cover over it and that bumps right up against one of the two sets of 4 DDR4 DIMMs that are on both sides of the CPU socket. There is a system fan header just under the I/O and next to the ram as well as another up above that left set of ram. Then above the CPU, there is a single 8-pin CPU power connection. Moving over for there you have two more 4-pin fan headers for the CPU and optional CPU fan and with them, there is a wRGB digital lighting connection. That one does full RGB along with pure white lighting with support for individually controlled LEDs with compatible strips. Also in this view, there is actually a shorter M.2 slot tucked up under the CPU socket between the ram.

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On the top right there isn’t too much going on, plus I touched on some of it in the previous section. Along the right edge, there are a few things though. There is a 4-pin fan header, our fifth so far. Then below it is the normal 24-pin motherboard power. Then there are two USB 3.0 headers for those cases with support for 4 USB 3.0 headers.

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For the bottom right the the chipset heatsink takes up most of the space but Gigabyte did manage to slip in a few things. There are eight right angled SATA connections right up against the chipset heatsink. The front panel connections are all in the bottom right corner with each connection labeled with a bright color and plus signs to show any polarity when needed. The clear CMOS jumper is also right above the front panel connections and should still be accessible, even with a video card installed in the PCIe slots. There are three more 4-pin fan headers, two for system fans and one for a watercooling pump putting us up to a total of 8. Then there are two USB 2.0 headers for cases that don’t have USB 3.0 or for some of the newer devices like fan controllers and lighting that require a USB connection.  

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Moving over along the bottom edge the Gaming 3 has a small power button with an OC button right next to it. Then there is the TPM (trusted platform module) header. There is another wRGB digital header down here as well so you can hook up lighting from the bottom and the top. The front panel audio header is over on the left and it is hooked to the Realtek ALC1220 powered onboard audio. The LED Demo header is an interesting one that is actually only there for Gigabyte to be able to show off the board at events. When you apply power to this one you don’t have to have a CPU, RAM, or even a power supply hooked to the board to still see the built-in LEDs in demo mode.

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In with the PCIe slots, they did slip in a second M.2 slot. I like having two M.2’s but the placement of this one isn’t what I would like to see. That top slot is almost always taken up by your video card and right now video cards are 2-3 slots wide. This means the M.2 is guaranteed to cover up the slot and put, even more, heat into an M.2 drive that may not run cool in the first place. For slots, all of the slots are full x16 length slots. Two have metal shields and built in RGB lighting. All of the PCIe slots have levels on the left side to help make it easier to figure out. The second and fourth down slots are x4 speed. The bottom slot runs at x8 and the two slots with metal shields are both x16 slots. Now, this gets complicated when we get into the 28 and 16 lane CPUs of course. Looking through the manual it looks like the 16 lane CPUs leave you with x8 only for the top slot x16 slot and x4 in the second x16 slot. The 28 lane CPU gets x16 for the top slot and x8 for the second x16 slot. Both of these options leave the rest of the PCIe slots shut down, they also only support Crossfire for some reason.

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For the rear I/O the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 was well, less than exciting if you ask me. Over on the right, you get a 6 port audio array but there isn’t an optical connection. You then have a PS2 legacy connection over on the left. The network port is connected to the Intel NIC From there the rest are USB connections. Now I like to see a lot of USB but given that there wasn’t Wireless, Dual NICs, or a CMOS reset button they could have filled in that space with additional USB ports but it seems they stuck with what would come on any of those other high-end boards. So you get six blue USB 3.1 ports that are all running on the Intel chipset, then the red port and the Type-C are both USB 3.1 Gen 2. I love that they included the new ultra-fast connections and Type-C, but a stack of four USB 2.0 ports slipped in would have been nice.

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The back of the board shows off that good looking flat black PCB. It also lets us get a better look at the two stripes where the PCB is split to keep interference away from the integrated audio, sadly this view also shows that that separation isn’t as good as it could be, it doesn’t even go around the ports at the rear I/O or down at the bottom near the front panel audio connection. 

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Because I don’t really touch on lighting when I get into performance, here is a look at the lighting on the Gaming 3. The Aorus logo on the chipset heatsink really glows well and the lighting around the main PCIe slots looks good and really lights up our 1080 Ti.

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BIOS

For the BIOS, today I’m going to do something a little different from our normal BIOS photos. I’ve recorded a slow click through of the entire BIOS and have it below. This way anyone can flip through and see all of the options available in detail and at their own pace. Then below the video, I have a few notes and observations from my click through of the BIOS.

So the overall look and feel of the BIOS are very similar to the AM4 based Gigabyte AB350N Gaming Wifi and the AB350 Gaming 3 that I have checked out recently. I was honestly expecting a different BIOS look and feel with this being an X299 board and with this being an Aorus board. There is an Easy mode but given that it doesn’t boot directly into it, it doesn’t do any good. Putting new users into the advanced settings out of the hole defeats the point of an easy mode. On any page you can move your mouse over to the right and get a pull out look at the current CPU, Memory, and Voltage stats. There is also a q-flash option to update your bios down at the bottom.

The first page that you land on it basically the only place you need to go for overclocking, but each of the areas has been split up into its own page. I wish there were at least a few main options on the main M.I.T. page to maybe turn on XMP and change the basic clock speeds. You do have decent overclocking options including voltage and base clock adjustments. You can spot all of the modifiable options because they are bright white. Anything dimmed out can’t be changed, at least without turning on other options. Changing settings is a little confusing, you click on them and then type a new result in. I would love to see it at least keep the previous result up on the screen, I can see myself clicking to change something and then forgetting what the current setting is. Hell, I did it just when making this video even.

The Smart fan page is actually much better than the rest of the BIOS. Here you can dive into the current fan settings and even turn on a few different temperature warnings and fan fail warnings. The second tab is the system tab, this one is very basic and only shows the model and BIOS information. The BIOS page, like I have mentioned before should be called the Boot page as it is where you set all of your booting options. The Peripherals page gets into some of the USB and SATA configurations as well as RGB Fusion for the lighting. A lot of these fit with the chipset options page as well where they only have four different settings left to fit on it. The power tab is the last important tab, this one just handles how your PC handles losing power and lets you turn on different ways to wake your computer.

All in all this BIOS was fine with me on the entry level priced B350 boards but with this being a much more expensive board I was really hoping to see a little more. They could fix a lot just by cleaning up the locations and naming of the tabs, when the BIOS tab is where all of the boot options for example. Bringing the popular overclocking settings into the base MIT page would make things simpler as well. Beyond that getting it to boot into the built-in Easy Mode would be nice as well to prevent anyone who doesn’t know their way around from getting into something they shouldn’t.  

 


Test Rig and Procedures

Intel Z270 Test System

CPU

Intel Core i9-7900X

Live Pricing

Cooling

Noctua NH-U12S for cooling

Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Paste

Live Pricing

Live Pricing

Memory

Kingston HyperX FURY DDR4 16GB kit 2666MHz

Live Pricing

Storage

Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD

Live Pricing

Video Card

Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti

Live Pricing

Power Supply

Thermaltake 850w

Live Pricing

Case

Microcool Banchetto 101 Test bench

Live Pricing

OS

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Live Pricing

Motherboard Testing

Passmark Performance Test 9.0

Overall PCMark score

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 standard test, not the quick or extended versions

3DMark

We run the 2013 Fire Strike test on the performance setting

In Game Tests

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

In game benchmark, ultra setting, 1080p

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands

1080p, built-in benchmark run at the high setting

Subsystem Testing

Passmark

Passmark Advanced network test

 


Performance

For performance testing, most of our tests are really just to check to make sure everything is in line similar boards. The CPU, Memory, and video card control most of the scores. But sometimes I will find big variances and can spot issues with these tests. So if we flip through the main tests we can see the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 performs really well when paired with the 7900X and a GTX 1080 Ti. Our 3dmark results did have a bit of a bump on the physics score that indicates CPU performance but the overall was close enough. In game performance was good, in fact, a touch faster than the Asus Prime Deluxe. The fact our X299 test platform had an SSD die when setting the Gaming 3 up could have played a role in a little better performance as well, with a slightly faster drive in place temporarily.

I also took a look at network performance by using Passmark Performance Test 9’s advanced network test tool, using another PC in the office as a server and testing the transfer speeds. The built-in Intel NIC on the X299 Gaming 3 performed well here, putting it up in line with the I211-AT on the Asus Prime Deluxe.

3DMark

Motherboard

Overall Score

Graphics Score

Physics Score

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

19867

23755

24113

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

20474

23567

26871

PCMark 10 Score

Overall Score

Essentials

Productivity

Content Creation

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

6475

9145

8486

9496

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

6402

9193

7932

9764

Passmark PerformanceTest 9.0 Overall Score

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

5924.0

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

6042.2

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Average FPS

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

113.64

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

115.88

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Average FPS

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

94.3

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

96.9

Average Network Speed

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe - Intel I219V NIC

918.2

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe - Intel I211-AT

942.0

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe - Wireless AC

211.8

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

936.6

 


Overall and Final Verdict

So while I thought the X299 Prime Deluxe board from Asus was a great board, it didn’t agree very much with my wallet. So when the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 came in I was excited to finally see what X299 had to offer in the lower priced boards. This is actually Gigabytes lowest priced board currently, they have a non-gaming themed board coming later with who knows what else still unannounced. That said with this board coming in at $279.99 it is much cheaper than the Asus Deluxe board. So what does that get us? Well beyond getting you an LGA 2066 socket and eight DIMM slots you do get all x16 length PCIe slots. Of course, half of those ram DIMMs don’t work if you go with a cheaper Kaby Lake based 2066 CPU, nor will most of the PCIe slots as well. Of course, that’s not on Gigabyte, it is on Intel. You do get a CRAZY number of 4-pin fan headers with a total of 8 around the board. The performance was really good in our testing including the network card. I also love that they included a few of the new USB 3.1 gen 2 ports on the rear I/O with one of those also being a Type-C for those who need the latest and greatest connector.

I was a little disappointed in the overall number of connection on the rear I/O. It looks a bit like someone just went through and deleted all of the extras from the high-end X299 Aorus boards like an additional wired NIC, Wireless, and a clear CMOS button but they forgot to fill that space with anything. The rear I/O isn’t too bad but a stack of additional USB 2.0 ports would have been nice and it would have filled out the space a little. I was also hoping the BIOS would be a little different. This is basically the same setup as on the B350 boards, an Aorus themed BIOS would have been better. More importantly, they could make a few quality of life changes in there like with the way things are organized and it would make navigation easier. Having the longer of the two M.2 slots under the first PCIe x16 wasn’t a good choice as well.

Overall though, you are getting a solid board. While this might be on the lower end for X299 it is still a lot like the mid/high range boards from the B350, X370, and Z270 platforms. You get the new wRGB digital headers, shielded memory slots, a rear I/O cover, and a lot of connection options across the board on the internal headers. They didn’t skimp on cooling and really the new color neutral look looks great and lets the RGB lighting set your theme. At its price alone this board is a decent entry point into the X299 platform that is overall considered very expensive. But Gigabyte did help a little with that. At least right now they have deals with some vendors to include other swag and hardware with the boards for free. Newegg, for example, has this:

Newegg X299 Aorus Xperience Pack Includes

Sennheiser CX3.00 In-Ear Headphones

Aorus Hoodie

Launch Edition Mouse Pad

12-Months of XSplit

Launch edition Cablemod light strip

Just about everything on the list individually adds value to the purchase. The in-ear headphones might not be my first pick but hey they are free. They will also help block out all of the comments from people asking how you got a kickass Aorus Hoodie. With the Xperience pack added into the overall cost, the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 is about as close to a value as I think Intel will allow on the x299 platform. The board has a good mix of features and it has the connection options available for just about any crazy build. Not to mention it should look good in just about any case as well. More importantly, the money saved by going with a Gaming 3 over the Gaming 9 or the Prime Deluxe is enough money to go with the Core i7 7820X over the Core i7-7800X, giving you two more cores, more cache, a higher clock speed, and Intel Turbo Boost 3 for even more performance. 

fv5recommended

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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