Gi­ga­byte X299 Aorus Gam­ing 3/£

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Custom PC - - LABS TEST -

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.

Con­clu­sion

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

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