Let’s not beat around the bush here, the X299 launch was and still is a bit of a farce. Some motherboard and CPU combinations won’t give you all of the features you think are advertised, and even then, you may need to pay more for RAID keys. There has been some issue with VRM, although I’m yet to hear of any hardware failures as a result. Of course, issues aside for one important thing, the performance was incredible despite the savage price tag; especially on the i9.
Now things get more confusing and less confusing all at the same time. X299 supports both SkyLake-X and Kabylake-X processors. This can mean someone may install a CPU that doesn’t actually support all the features on a certain motherboard. The whole thing can be very confusing for the consumer. To make life a hell of a lot easier, MSI and Gigabyte are releasing new motherboards.
By releasing these new motherboards, it makes things easier for the consumer. The boards actually have fewer features, albeit only those supported by the Kabylake-X processors. This means they’re pretty much the same X299 motherboards. However, they’ll have just four DIMM slots and a more appropriate price range relative to the Kabylake-X prices.
As reported, the Gigabyte X299 AORUS GAMING features 4 x DIMMs, 3 x PCIe and just 2 x M.2. The motherboard will only support the new Intel Core i7-7740X or i5-7640X. Meanwhile the MSI X299M-A Pro Micro-ATX is pretty much the same but has one fewer PCIe 1 x slot.
One thing to keep in mind here is that you cannot use Skylake-X on these boards, despite the socket looking the same. You can use both chips in the main X299 series, but these latest boards will not support an upgrade to say, the Intel i9 series.
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