We have reviewed a lot of X299 based motherboards over the past couple of months, but our first Gigabyte/AORUS offering is the X299 Gaming 7 Pro. The G7P promises a slew of full-length PCIe slots, three M.2 slots with heatsinks, more USB 3.1 ports than most could use, and enough RGB LED lighting to have a full-on disco in a PC. See the details in our review, and bring sunglasses!

The X299 Gaming 7 Pro Overview

The Gaming 7 Pro fits in at towards the top of the GIGABYTE X299 product stack, slotted just below the Gaming 9 and flagship Designare EX. The G7P offers users 3-Way SLI and Crossfire capabilities, three M.2 slots each with their own heatsink, a robust dual heatsinked power delivery with an additional fan, several USB 3.1 ports, and enough RGB LEDs to light up a room. If a user wanted a PC disco, this is the motherboard to have.

GIGABYTE started its premium brand of gaming-focused AORUS products a couple of years back, with the intention to offer 'the most extreme gaming experiences for enthusiasts worldwide'. The AORUS product line ranges from gaming laptops to graphics cards, mechanical gaming keyboards, motherboards, and other hardware, aiming to give the brand a presence in the market. The devices are easily distinguished by the name itself as well as the Falcon symbol representing the lineup gracing the packaging and products. 

The GIGABYTE motherboard lineup for X299 has, at the time of writing, eleven motherboards. To emphasise the the AORUS brand importance, there are seven boards in that mix with the AORUS name. There are only a few non-AORUS boards available, in fact. The lineup starts at the entry level with the X299 AORUS Gaming and tops out at the Gaming 9. 

On the performance side, the X299 Gaming 7 Pro performed well overall, running with the pack on nearly all of the benchmarks. The G7P has a form of Multi-Core Enhancement (MCE) enabled by default as it takes all benchmarks to the 3.6 GHz range. The board did excel in boot times, taking over the crown as the fastest board we have recently tested. The rest of the results were right in the middle of the boards we have looked at.

Overclocking was simple, with our new 7900X CPU topping out at 4.7 GHz and we hit our temperature limit (unfortunately we have had to swap out the previous CPU). This 7900X sample is a lot better of an overclocker, and so we should expect subsequent boards to also reach this value. With that said, the power delivery heatsink on the G7P stayed warm to the touch, peaking at 63C in our extended stress testing while clocked to 4.5 GHz.

The G7P allows users to have nearly the full run of storage connectivity. There are eight SATA ports and three M.2 slots, with the M.2 slots all coming with pre-supplied heatsinks. The top and bottom M.2 slots support both PCIe and SATA drives while the middle slot supports PCIe type modules only. There is some sharing going on, as when using the bottom M.2 slot, SATA ports 4/5/6/7 will be disabled.

The board comes with five full-length PCIe slots with positions 1, 3, and 5. These are the CPU connected slots and intended for use with video cards. PCIe slots 2 (x4) and 4 (x4) are both connected via the chipset. For connectivity, there is a total of five USB 3.1 10 Gbps ports on the back (4x Type-A, 1x Type-C) with another onboard header for additional front panel ports. Some of these are handled by ASMedia 3142 controllers, while others are using a Realtek solution, and this is the first board we have seen to use a Realtek USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) solution so far. This is also the most USB 10 Gbps connectivity we have seen on an X299 board so far.

For networking, GIGABYTE has enabled an Intel I219-V NIC as well as a Rivet Networks Killer E2500 NIC alongside 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Audio comes via the Realtek ALC1220 codec.

As far as pricing goes, we do not have anything concrete at the time of this writing and have reached out to GIGABYTE for an answer. The Gaming 7 (non-Pro) is priced at $400 from both Newegg and Amazon, so we expect the Pro version with the added Wi-Fi to be priced a bit higher. The $400+ price tag puts it at the higher end and competing with boards like the MSI X299 XPower Gaming AC ($440), The ASUS ROG Rampage VI Apex ($430), and the ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9 XE ($423). Prospective buyers will have to dig into the features to really see differences at this price point. For example, some boards offer a U.2 port or more than eight SATA ports, or buyers may look for a board with specific features. 

GIGABYTE/AORUS X299 Strategy

GIGABYTE has brought a total of eleven boards to market on the X299 chipset so far, 7 of them under the AORUS branding. The pricing starts at $210 with the entry-level AORUS Gaming and goes up to the Gaming 9 which hits the $500 mark. Sprinkled between the bookends are boards that will vary in features, appearance, and price filling in the gaps. The only thing missing in the lineup are MicroATX and Mini-ITX boards. 

GIGABYTE X299 Motherboard Lineup (12/19)
  AnandTech
Review
Amazon Newegg
X299 AORUS Gaming 9 upcoming $500 $500
X299 Designare EX   - $450
X299 AORUS Gaming 7 Pro this review - -
X299 AORUS Gaming 7   $400 $400
X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming Pro   - $350
X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming   $340 $340
X299 AORUS Gaming 3   $263 $268
X299 UD4 requested $240 $263
X299 UD4 Pro   - -
X299 UD4 EX   - -
X299 AORUS Gaming   - $210

 

Information on Intel's X299 and our other Reviews

With Intel's release of the Basin Falls platform, encompassing the new X299 chipset and LGA2066 socket, a new generation of CPUs called Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X were also released. The Skylake-X CPUs range from the 7800X, a hex-core part, all the way up to an 18-core 7980XE multitasking behemoth. Between the bookend CPUs are five others increasing in core count, as in the table below. The latter HCC models are set to be launched over 2H of 2017.

Skylake-X Processors
  7800X 7820X 7900X   7920X 7940X 7960X 7980XE
Silicon LCC   HCC
Cores / Threads 6/12 8/16 10/20   12/24 14/28 16/32 18/36
Base Clock / GHz 3.5 3.6 3.3   2.9 3.1 2.8 2.6
Turbo Clock / GHz 4.0 4.3 4.3   4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2
Turbo Max Clock N/A 4.5 4.5   4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4
L3 1.375 MB/core   1.375 MB/core
PCIe Lanes 28 44   44
Memory Channels 4   4
Memory Freq DDR4 2400 2666   2666
TDP 140W   140W 165W
Price $389 $599 $999   $1199 $1399 $1699 $1999

Board partners have launched dozens of motherboards.

Other AnandTech Reviews for Intel’s Basin Falls CPUs and X299

Prices checked Jan 25th

  • The Intel Skylake-X Review: Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X Tested
  • The Intel Skylake-X Review: Core i9-7900X, i7-7820X and i7-7800X Tested
  • The Intel Kaby Lake-X Review: Core i7-7740X and i5-7640X Tested
  • Intel Announces Basin Falls: The New High-End Desktop Platform and X299 Chipset
     
  • ($400) The ASRock X299E-ITX/ac Review [link
  • ($400) The GIGABYTE X299 Gaming 7 Pro Review (this review)
  • ($390) The ASRock X299 Professional Gaming i9 Review [link
  • ($370) The ASUS Strix X299-XE Gaming Review [link
  • ($350) The MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon Review [link
  • ($340) The ASUS X299 TUF Mark 1 Review [link
  • ($290) The ASRock X299 Taichi Review [link]
  • ($280) The MSI X299 Tomahawk Arctic Review [link]
  • ($260) The MSI X299 SLI Plus Review [link]
     
  • ($500) The GIGABYTE X299 Gaming 9 Review (planned) 
  • ($490) The ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe Review (testing)
  • ($330) The EVGA X299 FTW-K Review(in editing)
  • ($290) The EVGA X299 Micro Review (in editing)
  • ($286) The MSI X299M Gaming Pro Carbon AC Review (testing)
  • ($199) The ASRock X299 Extreme4 Review (testing)
  • ($?) The EVGA X299 Dark (planned)

To read specifically about the X299 chip/platform and the specifications therein, our deep dive into what it is can be found at this link.

X299 Motherboard Review Notice

If you’ve been following the minutiae of the saga of X299 motherboards, you might have heard some issues regarding power delivery, overclocking, and the ability to cool these processors down given the power consumption. In a nutshell, it comes down to this:

  • Skylake-X consumes a lot of power at peak (150W+),
  • The thermal interface inside the CPU doesn’t do much requiring a powerful CPU cooler,
  • Some motherboard vendors apply Multi-Core Turbo which raises the power consumption and voltage, exacerbating the issue
  • The VRMs have to deal with more power, and due to losses, raise in temperature
  • Some motherboards do not have sufficient VRM cooling without an active cooler
  • This causes the CPU to declock or hit thermal power states as to not degrade components
  • This causes a performance drop, and overclocked systems are affected even more than usual

There has been some excellent work done by Igor Wallossek over at Tom’s Hardware, with thermal probes, thermal cameras, and performance analysis. The bottom line is that motherboard vendors need to be careful when it comes to default settings (if MCT is enabled by default) and provide sufficient VRM cooling in all scenarios – either larger and heavier heatsinks or moving back to active cooling. 

Visual Inspection
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  • Lord of the Bored - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - link

    You misunderstand. It isn't about whether it inconveniences or affects them in any way. It is about needing a reason to bitch about something. Reply
  • WinterCharm - Thursday, February 01, 2018 - link

    > adds next to no price

    Citation needed.
    Reply
  • timecop1818 - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    Fucking killer NIC. That shit cannot die soon enough. Why even waste space on that, even 10GbE and an intel 1GbE would make more sense.

    I was looking at Gigabyte boards a bit ago and anything with decent features was ruined by KillerShit, so I switched to ASUS for PRO/A series without dumb shit thrown in.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    I'll forward your concerns to Rivet. Anything specific you don't like about Killer, especially the latest hardware? Reply
  • PeachNCream - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    Hey Ian, since Joe has the hardware already, is it possible for Anandtech to do some more in-depth benchmarking of the Killer ethernet and wireless cards on this motherboard? Internet gaming tests under real world conditions might help us put Killer's value proposition into perspective. Reply
  • oRAirwolf - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    I agree with peachncream. Killer has made some absolutely awful networking products in the past that were further crippled by their horrendous drivers and unnecessary software. It has left a bad taste in everybody's mouth and very few if any PC enthusiasts are happy to see their products in a motherboard. From what I see online, it seems as though most people either don't install their software or uninstall it if it comes pre-packaged. Rather than forwarding complaints to deaf ears at Rivet Networks, it would make a lot more sense to do some very detailed benchmarking, including Aquantia's new chipsets, showing the pros and cons of each solution and the impact they have on things like latency, CPU usage, bandwidth, and game perfomance. I am especially interested to see some benchmarks pitting the new Aquantia chipsets against Intel's 10gbe offerings like the X540, X550, and X710 with RJ45 ports. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - link

    I disagree.

    There is nothing wrong with their hardware in my opinion.

    Just install the basic driver, or the Qualcomm driver, and you will be unable to tell the difference from your typical Intel NIC, on any consumer device. You don't have to install their network suite.

    Meanwhile I've had no end of trouble with my X540 10Gb/s NICs. So much so - I returned it for replacement. And whilst I've not been home yet to try the replacement, I'm not confident of good results.
    Reply
  • HobartTas - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - link

    Hello Ian from Australia! I signed up just now to reply to your question to timecop1818 and I'll give you my impression of previous killer standalone $200 network cards and their embedded chipset Ethernet products. Basically the product is of no real benefit over any other networking product and in one specific case I'll mention later on completely useless. It supposedly originally prioritized gaming packets within the machine over other traffic which might have been of some use at a lan event where you bring your own machine but then you probably wouldn't be using your machine for anything else at the time so gaming traffic was probably all that was going out over the network anyway, so no benefit there and these days most people do their gaming over the internet anyway.

    When I only had 8/1 Adsl1 and (max speed) 12/1 Adsl2 available for internet the same would apply as you couldn't do anything else because even if you downloaded other stuff at say 50% of Adsl download speed the 50 byte acknowledgement packets going out to request the next packet be sent down to you would blow out pings from 40-60 to 200 as the upload speed of 1 Mbit was just way too slow and congestion occurred (think goat track compared to 8 lane freeway) so again I'm left with just gaming traffic only because I couldn't do anything else so no benefit over any other ethernet chipset again.

    Now that I'm on fibre at 100/40 and I have a truckload of bandwidth I can be gaming and also downloading Nvidia drivers at 11 MB's and gaming pings only slightly rise from 22 to 26 so killer is not needed at all again as any other Ethernet chipset will do just fine.

    Software: According to their website https://www.killernetworking.com/driver-downloads it's windows only and nothing else. I have a 4930K and a Gigabyte X79S-UP5-WIFI board which has both Intel and Realtek ethernet connectors on it and that's my Windows 7 gaming machine. My other identical board has an I7-3820 cpu and I'm testing Solaris 11.3 as a ZFS NAS and for whatever reason the Intel Ethernet connector came up as "mis-configured" and I couldn't work out why that was so I plugged in the network cable into the other Realtek connector and off I went. If I had a killer ethernet instead of Realtek I'd either have to figure out the Intel mis-configuration or get another Gbe network card (probably Intel) and plug it in as Killer have no Solaris, BSD or Linux drivers which is pretty useless of them.

    For those people who find that Gbe isn't fast enough and are looking at 10Gbe that's not expensive the speed increase stated on their webpage https://www.killernetworking.com/products/killer-e... going from 940 Mbs to 1102 Mbs may as well be totally insignificant as all it is is just re-inventing the existing wheel. I picked up about a year ago very cheap (approx USD$ 50) Mellanox QDR infiniband cards when they deprecated the technology and these cards are 40 Gbs Infiniband/10 Gbs Ethernet capable so if this chipset actually was 100 Base T (or even 50 or 25) then and only then would I possibly be interested as probably would other people as well.

    No one wants to muck around with a "control center" for Ethernet as I just want the network to "just work" when I plug the cable in and I'm happy with some crappy no-name no-brand software TCP/IP stack that works reliably even if it only goes at say 90% of maximum speed. I hope its not anywhere near as useless as the Nvidia Firewall software I once had the misfortune to install as it completely stuffed up my network port and rendered it non-functional which still didn't work even after I uninstalled the software and I had to reformat the hard drive and re-install windows to fix that problem.

    Anyway that's everything that's CURRENTLY wrong with this product and nothing that's right with it as I have explained in detail above, If they posted drivers for all the other OS's then it might get half way to being merely usable. Feel free to pass my entire comment over to Rivet and I look forward to any reply to any part of my comments posted back here but I'm not holding my breath in anticipation of that.

    Cheers
    Reply
  • Strunf - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - link

    They are the answer to a non existant problem... or better the real problem is the Internet speeds people have and there's nothing Killer can do about it. People that have slow internet already turn off any sharing software when they play games and those that have a fast one don't care cause they have more than enough, those in-between will just turn off any bandwidth hungry apps just for a piece of mind.
    On bittorrent if you share at a very slow speeds, as would be the case if you play and torrent at the same time on a slow connection no one will connect to you or kick you if the speeds are too low, no one wants to spend time and resources on a connection that is as fast as a snail.
    Reply
  • Tamz_msc - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    From what I have read recently Killer LAN is mostly fine as long as you don't install their software. Linux support might be spotty though. Reply

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