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Renowned overclocker dubs Intel X299 platform a "VRM disaster"

by Mark Tyson on 29 June 2017, 11:21

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), ASUSTeK (TPE:2357), Gigabyte (TPE:2376), MSI

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qadi5n

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Both Intel and its X299 motherboard maker partners have been taken to task by overclocking champ der8auer in a new YouTube video. In The X299 VRM Disaster der8auer argues that there are no current motherboards are "properly designed". He had been investigating motherboard choices for integration into CaseKing systems and none of those tested from Gigabyte, Asus, or MSI have met his approval.

Considering the thorny problem of where the fault for this situation lies, der8auer says that the blame should be split 50/50. Intel, he suggests, rushed the launch so the usually capable motherboard partners didn't have time to design and fully test market-ready products. On the blame levelled at motherboard makers there are various niggles, mostly concerning the headlining VRMs and power delivery.

A repeating theme throughout the video is that X299 board designs from Gigabyte, Asus and MSI have these fancy VRM heatsinks that look appealing in a Transformers-robotic futuristic way but unfortunately act as insulators rather than helping heat to dissipate. In other words, all the boards the overclocker tested "have a very bad heatsink design". One thing of note is that der8auer has been testing Kraken LCS cooled Skylake X CPUs on these boards which, unlike air coolers, don't enhance the airflow around the CPU socket areas.

In the first example looked at, of a Gigabyte Aorus X299 motherboard, der8auer tested a CPU known to be able to hit 5GHz and could only achieve 4.6GHz. As mentioned above, the VRM heatsinks were partly to blame.

A lot of boards on the market have just one 8-pin connector to power them, observed der8auer. On an X299 board that is "is not enough" for overclocking he asserted. Illustrating the issue, an 8-pin power delivery cable in an open test bench reached 65C - in some build / environment circumstances this could become a fire hazard.

If you intend to overclock your Skylake X CPU you must choose a board with more than a single 8-pin power input, said der8auer. However, in testing, the Asus Prime with 8-pin and 4-pin connectors - exhibited worse VRM temperatures than the Gigabyte X299 solution, so started throttling running the PRIME95 benchmark after just 5 mins. The "ridiculous" Asus VRM cooler thus resulted in the CPU throttling down from 4.5GHz to 1.2GHz for 10 seconds, cooling a little, hitting 4.5GHz again, then getting too hot so throttling down to 1.2GHz again, and so on…

HEXUS published two X299 motherboard reviews last week. Both the Asus and MSI boards we tested managed a stable 4.7GHz overclock. We used the Noctua NH-D15S CPU cooler which "provides massive airflow over surrounding motherboard components and heatsinks".



HEXUS Forums :: 20 Comments

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Intel never cared for overclockers anyway. Perhaps the board makers do, but this launch was sprung on them and it's not like Skylake X is anything similar to a 7700K. They would much rather have boards that work but are no good for OC, than have no boards and wait for strong OC capability.

Maybe it's just me but it seems a bit whiney and arrogant to be complaining about OC capability on SKL-X.
Ozaron
Maybe it's just me but it seems a bit whiney and arrogant to be complaining about OC capability on SKL-X.

Premium priced ‘unlocked’ parts. People expect to be able to overclock, and frequency is maybe the one major advantage these chips have over Ryzen. Don't forget the Kaby Lake X parts on this platform which really REALLY have no reason to exist if not for overclocking.
Ozaron
Intel never cared for overclockers anyway. Perhaps the board makers do, but this launch was sprung on them and it's not like Skylake X is anything similar to a 7700K. They would much rather have boards that work but are no good for OC, than have no boards and wait for strong OC capability.

Maybe it's just me but it seems a bit whiney and arrogant to be complaining about OC capability on SKL-X.

Think about the target viewer of that video. It's made by a top end overclocker for an audience interested in top end overclocking. To that audience it's very relevant.
I'd consider myself the target demographic for these sorts of products, but I absolutely loath the aesthetic and questionable practicality of some features, such as these ridiculous ‘heatsinks’.

Does anyone actually like the appearance of these boards?
bridges009
Premium priced ‘unlocked’ parts. People expect to be able to overclock, and frequency is maybe the one major advantage these chips have over Ryzen. Don't forget the Kaby Lake X parts on this platform which really REALLY have no reason to exist if not for overclocking.
They pay a premium mostly for the extra cores, (which already run at reasonably high frequency if temperatures and power draw are anything to judge by) not for the ability to tinker. Most of these CPUs come unlocked because for these prices it would be disrespectful of Intel to offer anything else. They're just modified server chips being pushed to start with on motherboards that were not prepared in time. High core parts already come with competitive IPC and clockspeed to Ryzen so overclocking is indeed a luxury that Intel does not have to pander for. I'm sure they would have PREFERRED to but there's no requirement.

spacein_vader
Think about the target viewer of that video. It's made by a top end overclocker for an audience interested in top end overclocking. To that audience it's very relevant.
It is relevant, yes, but I feel the purpose of the video is supposed to be entirely informative, warning against attempting OC without extensive preparation and give tips on how to work around the lacking performance from the motherboards. Not to take digs at Intel and the manufacturers. Almost anyone who is interested in overclocking an SKL-X or KL-X CPU will have the knowledge that these CPUs came out too fast just to respond to Ryzen and Threadripper and should understand that new tech comes with flaws almost every time.

When Ryzen's boards came out they were riddled with BIOS issues, hampering performance in stock configurations as well as for overclocking. But people didn't complain much about AMD or the boards being bad, they just waited for BIOS revisions and updates from AMD. It was… almost civil.

I got too little sleep last night, sorry. :(

DDY
Does anyone actually like the appearance of these boards?
Would do if they were less.. pointed angles, big blocky heatsinks, and clashing colours. Simpler versions of what they have (preferably with functional heat management) and yes I would.