Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3/£
When it comes to early optimisation for new platforms, Gigabyte was on the ball with its AM4 motherboards and the same appears to be true for its X299 efforts if the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 is at all representative. After a BIOS revision or two, the Asus boards started to behave, but the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 was fine out of the box.
The only niggle we found during testing was that the RGB Fusion software was a little temperamental and didn’t seem to like our Corsair Vengeance RGB memory, despite Corsair and Gigabyte teaming up a few months ago to enable the two technologies to talk to each other.
The rest of its software was problem-free, and we’re massive fans of Gigabyte’s fan control software and the corresponding section in the EFI. You can tweak fan profile curves and switch off any fan below certain temperatures. The software can also assign certain fans to one of several temperature inputs, giving you more control over finetuning your cooling than other boards on test.
There’s also a 3A fan and pump header that, like Asus’ equivalent, allows you to dish out up to 36W of power to a 3-pin pump, but you also get a less powerful header for all-inone liquid coolers.
All the fan headers can operate in PWM or fixed voltage modes and are interoperable with nine on-board sensors. If we have one complaint, it’s that the EasyTune overclocking program and fan control program are separate, when they should really be integrated; switching between the two can be a pain if you use them both regularly.
The Aorus Gaming 3’s jet-black colour scheme and steel-plated DIMM and PCI-E slots look great as well – it’s the best-looking board on test to our tastes, although that’s all down to your personal preferences. Couple it with some punchy RGB lighting, and we can easily see the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 at the heart of a water-cooled system with some vibrant coolant.
There’s loads of expansion room too, with five 16x-sized PCI-E slots. You’ll still be able to use 1x and 4x devices in them, but the board will be limited to providing the usual amount of bandwidth, which is 16 lanes per card for one and two-card setups, with a third card only receiving eight lanes. Unlike Asus, Gigabyte has also opted for both M.2 ports to be placed parallel to the PCB, although Gigabyte only offers SSD heatsinks for the Gaming 7 version and above, and the same goes for USB 3.1 headers.
Thankfully, USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports are included on the rear panel, along with six USB 3 ports, but there’s no BIOS flashback equivalent, LED POST code display, reset or clear-CMOS buttons.
Audio performance was excellent, although identical to the rest of the boards in the field. Its performance at stock speed was good too, and overclocking was simple, needing the usual 1.24V to get our test chip to 4.6GHz. This overclock boosted the system score from 233,258 to 258,393, and the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 had the second lowest overclocked load power draw too.
Gigabyte’s fan control is second to none and the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 is an easy board to overclock too, especially from Windows using its EasyTune software. Its LED software needs an update, though, especially with regards to controlling Corsair Vengeance RGB memory, and it’s missing one or two features compared with other boards on test. However, its decent benchmark results, rock-solid stability, slick aesthetics and comparatively reasonable price, means the X299 Aorus Gaming 3 comes recommended.
The jet-black colour scheme and steelplated DIMM and PCI-E slots look great