Added 9/19: GIGABYTE X399 Designare-EX

One of the first things one may notice on this board is lack of RGB LEDs compared with the AORUS Gaming 7. On the Gaming 7, where RGB LEDs are just about everywhere, the Designare EX on the other hand only has a few under the PCH heatsink. Aside from that, design aesthetics are remarkably similar, with only the color scheme changed from black colored heatsinks and shrouds (with the AORUS name) to all silver, and the GIGABYTE name on the shrouds instead. The PCH heatsink is the same shape with a different accent plate for the Designare, marking a not to GIGABYTE's aimed market for this product: design professionals. Also included is an integrated I/O shield giving it a more high-end feel.

Outside of what has been listed above, the specifications for the Designare are very similar to the Gaming 7, as it uses the same base PCB. Keeping on the platform trend, the Designare EX supports quad channel memory at two DIMMs per channel, for eight total supporting up to 128GB. What looks like an 8-phase VRM uses the same style main heatsink connected to a secondary heatsink via a heat pipe located behind the rear I/O. Being the same PCB, the power delivery is also listed as ‘server class’ like the Gaming 7, using fourth generation International Rectifier (IR) PWM controllers and third generation PowIRstage chokes. EPS power is found in its normal location in the top left corner of the board, with one 8-pin and one 4-pin.

In the top right corner of the board are five 4-pin fan headers along with an RGBW header for LEDs. Two other RGB headers are found across the bottom of the board, including another RGBW header. USB connectivity uses an onboard USB 3.1 (10Gbps) header from the chipset close to the eight SATA ports. There is a USB 3.0 header on the bottom of the board, two USB 2.0 headers near the power buttons, and a TPM header at the bottom of the board.

Like the AORUS Gaming 7, the Designare EX supports three M.2 drives. The two locations between the PCIe slots support up to 110mm long drives, while the third below the PCH heatsink can fit up to 80mm drives. All locations come with additional heatsinks to keep the drives underneath cool. The Designare EX uses the three M.2 slots instead of a separate U.2 connector.  For other storage, GIGABYTE has equipped the board with eight SATA ports. The 5-pin Thunderbolt 3 header, required for add-in Thunderbolt 3 cards and unique for X399 to this specific GIGABYTE X399 board, is located just above the SATA ports. We are asking GIGABYTE if they plan to bundle a Thunderbolt 3 add-in card with this model, and are awaiting a response.

The rear of the motherboard, like some other designs on the market, uses a rear backplate to assist with motherboard rigidity. The thinking here is that these motherboards are often used in systems with multiple heavy graphics cards or PCIe coprocessors, such that if a motherboard screw is incorrectly tightened, the motherboard might be required to take the load and eventually warp. With the back-plate in place, this is designed to distribute that potential extra torque throughout the PCB, minimising any negative effects.

The PCIe slots are the same as the Gaming 7 also, with four of the five sourcing its lanes directly from the CPU. The slots used for GPUs are double-spaced and support an x16/x8/x16/x8 arrangement. The middle slot supports PCIe 3.0 x4 connection fed from the chipset. The middle slot can be used for additional add-in cards, such as a Thunderbolt 3 card.

Next to the PCIe slots is GIGABYTE’s audio solution, using a Realtek ALC1220 codec and using an EMI shield, PCB separation for the digital and analog audio signals, filter caps (both WIMA and Nichicon), and has headphone hack detection. GIGABYTE also uses DAC-UP, which delivers a more consistent USB power supply for USB connected audio devices. 

Rear IO connectivity on the Designare EX is also like the AORUS Gaming 7. The only difference will be the additional Ethernet port as this model uses dual Intel NICs. Because of the USB 3.0 support from the CPU, the rear IO has eight USB ports, in yellow, blue, and white. There are also two USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) ports from the chipset, one USB Type-C. Network connectivity differs here with the Designare EX using two Intel NICs (we imagine some mixture of I219V or I211AT) and does away with the Rivet Networks Killer E2500 found on its little brother. Last, are a set of audio jacks including SPDIF. 

Pricing was not listed, however, if it is slated to be the flagship of the X399 lineup, pricing is expected to be a higher than the already released X399 AORUS Gaming 7 at $389.99 on Amazon. GIGABYTE says the Designare EX will be available come Mid-October. 

GIGABYTE X399 Designare EX
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page N/A
Price TBD
Size ATX
CPU Interface TR4
Chipset AMD X399
Memory Slots (DDR4) Eight DDR4
Supporting 128GB
Quad Channel
Support DDR4 3600+
Support for ECC UDIMM (in non-ECC mode)
Network Connectivity 2 x Intel LAN
1 x Intel 2x2 802.11ac
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC1220
PCIe Slots for Graphics
 (from CPU)
2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots @ x16 
2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots @ x8 
PCIe Slots for Other
(from Chipset)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots @ x4
Onboard SATA 8 x Supporting RAID 0/1/10
Onboard SATA Express None
Onboard M.2 3 x PCIe 3.0 x4 - NVMe or SATA
Onboard U.2 None
USB 3.1 1 x Type-C (ASMedia)
1 x Type-A (ASMedia)
USB 3.0 8 x Back Panel
1 x Header
USB 2.0 2 x Headers
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin EATX
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V
Fan Headers 1 x CPU
1 x Watercooling CPU
4 x System Fan headers
2 x System Fan/ Water Pump headers
IO Panel 1 x PS.2 keyboard/mouse port
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
8 x USB 3.0 
2 x RJ-45 LAN Port
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio Jacks
Antenna connectors


Additional News (9/20):

After speaking with GIGABYTE, it seems that Thunderbolt 3 support will perhaps still be in limbo:

Thunderbolt 3 certification requires a few things from the CPU side like graphical output which we haven't been able to do. We expect this will be developed upon through Raven Ridge and possibly get more groundwork down to activate TB3 on the X399 Designare EX.

The header will remain, though TB3 use / full TB3 enablement will be at a later date. It seems like GIGABYTE has taken note that users are interested in TB3 on AMD.

GIGABYTE X399 AORUS Gaming 7 MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • nathanddrews - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    The ROG Zenith has all the networking IO I want, but is lacking in SATA ports. Hmm...
  • tarqsharq - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    With all those extra PCI-E lanes you can just use add-in boards for anything you need more of.
  • Gothmoth - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    yeah lol at another 100 euro... i tried SATA cards from 6 different brands and all SUCKED.
    delock, i-tec, syba, logiclink.

    just read the reviews at retailers.. these cheap cards are buggy as hell.

    i ended up with an adaptec card that works well. but it cost 100+ euro.
  • nathanddrews - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    Yes, that has been my experience as well.
  • ddriver - Friday, September 15, 2017 - link

    Cheap SATA controller cards use exactly the same chips which mobo makers put to increase the number of ports up from what the chipset provides. Complaining the board doesn't come with extra ports via a cheap controller and then complaining cheap controllers are no good? Seriously?

    A proper TR build would be at least 3000$, in that price range, 200$ for a good HBA like the LSI 9300-8i should not be an issue. Surely, AMD offers great value and brought extremely high performance to a new level of affordability, but this is not, I repeat, NOT a product for penny pinchers.
  • mWMA - Monday, September 18, 2017 - link

    The correct solution adding more sata is not use SAS2 cards. You can pick up a nice x4 PCIe G3 lsi or IBM SAS2 card for about 100 bucks or less on ebay.. Without any HBA, you can run 8 drives off those 2 sas controller cards since each one will give you x4 lanes.. you can get easily 500+ MB/s out of each controller.
  • mWMA - Monday, September 18, 2017 - link

    Correction.. not to use SATA cards.. use SAS2 or SAS3 cards instead
  • BoemlauweBas - Friday, October 20, 2017 - link

    The problem however, these cards suck a golfball through a garden hose performance wise compared to onboard softraid. And before people go ape-sh!t that softraid is bad-mkay... ever looked under the hood of lets say .... EMC / NetApp or any NAS semi/pro vendor out there ? It's all Softraid. Why ? Because the hardware raid chipsets that can actually cope with 3Gb/8Gb throughput are relative new & start around 3K $. So, a poor mans 8x sata 600 onboard chipset is hard 2 beat.
  • karatekid430 - Thursday, October 26, 2017 - link

    Yeah, you can get U.2 SFF-8643 to 4x SATA branch-out cables. I have a feeling it won't work directly off U.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 (although who knows?), but surely a PCIe SAS controller providing some SFF-8643 connectors will work. That is the way I was thinking.
  • CheapSushi - Sunday, September 17, 2017 - link

    How about going for something more serious then instead of low end:

    That would give you 16 SATA drives.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now