In what appears to be a silent launch, GIGABYTE has launched a new workstation motherboard called the X299-WU8. The new GIGABYTE X299-WU8 has a total of seven full-length PCIe 3.0 slots with a consumer-professional convergent aesthetic due to waves of stainless steel PCIe armor slot protection as well as offering full support for NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics cards and server grade network ports.

The crux of the GIGABYTE X299-WU8 includes the implementation of two Broadcom PLX8747 PCIe switches. This allows the board to operate at either x16/x16/x16/x16 or x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8, for GPUs or FPGAs or other PCIe accelerators. The GIGABYTE X299-WU8 is based on the Intel X299 HEDT chipset and according to the supported CPU list on the GIGABYTE website, looks ready for the new Inel Basin Falls Skylake-X refresh such as the new 18-core i9-9980XE processor which is just around the corner to being released onto the market. While there is no official information on the boards inclusive power delivery, the X299-WU8 features dual 8-pin 12 V CPU power inputs, a 24-pin ATX 12 V motherboard power input and a single 6-pin PCIe power input for the boards PCIe slots.

Memory support is catered for with eight slots offering users the capability to install up to 128 GB - this is due to using the consumer UDIMMs, rather than anything ECC (this board does not support ECC, because the processors do not). The official specifications states support for up to DDR4-2666 as per the Skylake-X processor specifications, but the official QVL memory support list shows support for DDR4-4000 through the use of X.M.P 2.0 profiles. The X299-WU8 conforms to the CEB form factor which is similar to E-ATX, but users looking to pair this board up with an existing E-ATX case should err on the side of caution and physically check sizing for possible complications and constraints.

More interestingly along the bottom edge of the boards PCB is an LED debug, a power switch, a reset switch and clear CMOS switch all located next to each other. Also alongside these is two full RGB LED headers with support for RGBW LEDs and runs in conjunction with the GIGABYTE RGB Fusion software. Like a true server board, a lot of the attention is aimed at cooling with a total of eight 4-pin fan headers with a combined total of nine different temperature sensors located across the board. All of these 4-pin headers work in tandem with the GIGABYTE Smart Fan 5 utility and the sensors and headers are also interoperable with each other.

Focusing on the storage the GIGABYTE X299-WU8, there's a total of eight SATA ports with support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 arrays. In addition to this is a single PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA capable M.2 slot which allows drives up to and including M.2 2280 to be installed; this slot is located just below the X299 chipset heatsink. This board is also certified ready for support with Intel's Optane memory modules.

The X299-WU8 consumer workstation board also makes use of dual Intel-based server Gigabit LAN ports with the exact controllers currently unconfirmed (I211-AT?), but will most probably allow for teaming between the LAN. Onboard audio is facilitated by five 3.5 mm audio jacks and a single S/PDIF optical output due to the inclusion of a Realtek ALC1220-VB HD audio codec. USB real estate consists of two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports with a Type-A and Type-C both present, with an additional six USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports and two further USB 2.0 ports. Finishing off the rear panel on the X299-WU8 is a PS/2 keyboard and mouse combination port. Users looking to bolster the USB further will be happy to know that the GIGABYTE X299-WU8 includes a pair of USB 3.1 Gen1 front panel headers for an additional four USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports.

The current pricing and availability is yet unknown, but the GIGABYTE X299-WU8 will support the impending Basin Falls Intel Skylake-X refresh processors including the Core i9-9980XE, Core i9-9960X and the rest of the upcoming Basin Falls desktop SKU list. The target is clearly on the workstation market, but GIGABYTE looks to have amalgamated elements from their AORUS gaming range as RGB support is included and the board's accessories bundle is set to include a 12-month license to XSplit Gamecaster and Broadcaster. One of the key features will be the extra PCIe bandwidth afforded by the PCIe switches, so users with lots of PCIe requirements only need apply. We also know that those PLX8747 chips are super expensive, so we might be looking at nearly $1000 for this board. I guess at that price, they couldn't even throw in a 10G NIC. Users will have to buy their own, and thankfully there are enough slots for one.

We have reached out to GIGABYTE for more information.

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  • mischlep - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    "In what appears to either be a silent launch, GIGABYTE has launched a new workstation motherboard called the X299-WU8."

    What is the other choice than a silent launch?
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    A press release. Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    @Ian, that doesn't address mischlep's concern with the quoted text.

    "In what appears to either be a silent launch [or a press release]" doesn't make sense, since which one it is should be obvious: Did they put out a PR, or did someone find it in a product listing?

    "Either a silent launch, or a leak" could work if that's what was originally meant.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    Ah that makes sense. My bad. Reply
  • WithoutWeakness - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    I think it means they just added it to their website or put it up for sale without sending out press releases to tech media outlets. It's pretty standard for companies to send press releases containing specs and some marketing info to media outlets when they are launching new products to spread the word but in this case it looks like Gigabyte just put this up for sale without really announcing it at all. Possibly due to a retailer listing it for sale before they could send out press releases or maybe they just expect it to be a niche, low-volume product and if you need this sort of gear you will go looking for it rather than them needing to spend any time marketing it. Reply
  • stanleyipkiss - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    That 6-pin power connector in the middle looks awful for cable management. Reply
  • WithoutWeakness - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    You can probably run it pretty easily across the top of the PCIe slot and below the CPU heatsink and then under the memory slots on the right and straight over between the SATA ports and USB 3 headers. It might tuck nicely under the graphics card in the top PCIe slot assuming those heatpipes aren't in the way too much. Might be easier with individually sleeved wires or an extension with individually sleeved wires. Reply
  • npz - Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - link

    While costly, the PLX8474 doesn't seem to be *that* expensive anymore. The SuperMicro C9Z390-PGW has it and it's the in same price range ~$330 as the high end Z390 boards without the PLX switch.

    But yeah, I'm surprised there's no 10GigE onboard. Using a slot is kinda wasteful since the card whether single or dual port is only PCIE3 x 4.
    Reply
  • alpha754293 - Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - link

    Is Supermicro the only board manufacturer that has IPMI? (Come to think of it, I think that for this platform, not even their workstation boards have IPMI.) Reply

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