Gigabyte Designaire X399 Motherboard Review
Peter Donnell / 3 weeks ago
A Closer Look
First impressions are important, and the first impression I got of this motherboard is that it is incredibly heavy. Gigabyte already presented us with some of the heaviest motherboards we’ve ever seen in the past, but the Designaire may be the heaviest yet! It comes with lots of heavy duty metal armor covering all major components on the motherboard. One thing is for certain, this motherboard feels practically bulletproof, but also looks incredible at the same time with its black and silver aesthetics.
In the top left, you’ll find an integrated rear I/O cover which keeps the motherboard looking neat and tidy. You will also find a durable VRM heatsink which has a thick heat pipe running through to a second heatsink directly above the CPU socket. This should help keep the motherboard power delivery hardware as cool as possible, helping deal with the power requirements for Threadripper, as well as your overclocking needs.
There are eight DDR4 DIMM slots on this motherboard, all fitted with durable armor to prevent the motherboard from bending or straining while also offering protection for your memory. Of course, it also looks kinda cool too, and there is RGB LED lighting between the slots for some added flare
Threadripper has very high power requirements, so it’s no surprise that this motherboard uses a single eight-pin, as well as an additional four-pin PSU power connector. Enthusiast systems requiring enthusiast levels of cooling, so you’ll be pleased to see there are plentiful fan headers located all over the motherboard. This ensures you can have all your water cooling gear, fans, and coolers hooked up.
There are 8 SATA 6 Gbps ports on the right side of the motherboard, as well as a USB 3.1 front panel connector, with USB 3.0 on the bottom of the motherboard, as well as a few USB 2.0 connectors.
There are three M.2 drive bays on this motherboard, as well as a heat shield that not only looks great, but will also keep your drives protected from damage and provide additional cooling performance.
Audio enthusiasts will be happy to see the ALC1220 chipset on this motherboard, as well as Gigabytes smart headphone amp, and WIMA audio capacitors. On the software side of things, you’ll also find Creative Sound BlasterX 720 audio engine.
There are five full-size PCIe slots, all reinforced with durable armor which again looks fantastic, but with the weight of modern graphics cards bigger than ever, you can have confidence that the motherboard can take the strain of even the biggest on the market.
Finally on to my two favourite features of this motherboard. The rear I/O guard is easily the nicest one I have ever seen. It’s built into the motherboard, so there’s no chance of you losing it. It’s finished in a brushed metal too, which gives it a premium look and feel, and is laid out for easy access to all the ports and connectors, with gold plating on audio and Wi-Fi, and even some added ventilation.
Also, it has a rear back plate. These are not particularly common, but this is by far the largest I have seen fitted to a motherboard and also the heaviest. Holding the motherboard in your hand, it feels like this backplate almost doubles of the weight of the motherboard, but it also gives it added strength that prevents the motherboard from flexing, and may even provide some passive cooling performance.