Articles

GIGABYTE X299 Aorus Gaming 3 Motherboard Review

Author:Daniel Dobrowolski

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Tuesday , October 17, 2017

GIGABYTE adds another product to its ever expanding Aorus Gaming line. The X299 Aorus Gaming 3 sounds like it might be at the bottom of the Skylake-X heap feature-wise, but you can hardly call a motherboard with so many features "stripped" down. The GIGABYTE X299 Aorus Gaming 3 has a lot to offer on paper but can it deliver?
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Motherboard Overclocking Software

GIGABYTE continues to provide it’s evolving "APP Center" with its motherboards. App Center is little more than a launcher that accommodates a wide range of separate utilities which may or may not have related functions to one another. Given the wide range of utilities, covering all of them would be beyond the scope of this article. Within the App Center, we generally concentrate on three things: EasyTune, SIV and RGB Fusion. The software hasn’t changed much in the last few years aside from some minor cosmetic updates and resizing of the main application window. Easy Tune is used for performance tuning and clock speed adjustments within the Windows operating system environment. It can also be used for hardware monitoring, though not fan control or anything like that. GIGABYTE’s SIV, or "System Information Viewer" has a deceptive name as its primary purpose is really for fan control and power profile tuning. Lastly, we have RGB Fusion, which controls all the LED lighting and visual effects for the lighting system.

GIGABYTE’s App Center is a common application launcher that resembles a standard Windows folder with a different color scheme on it. Any applications you have installed in App Center are visible within it and are launched simply by double clicking on their icon. Easy Tune is incredibly user friendly due to an intuitive and logical interface. The application is organized by categories, represented by tabs at the top of the application window, resembling file folder tabs. Click on these to navigate to a particular category, and the settings contained on that page. Most settings use simple sliders for adjustment although some use drop downs as an alternative. Any changes made show up in orange. Unlike MSI’s Command Center, GIGABYTE’s Easy Tune application uses a common interface design for all aspects of the application. The CPU and DDR overclocking sections are laid out the same way and have the same type of work flow.

Not surprisingly, GIGABYTE does employ automated overclocking and the use of pre-defined overclocking presets within the software. These are conservative overclocks at best. Behind the scenes, I am uncertain what the auto-tuning option actually does regarding how it determines that an overclock is stable, or what settings are best. There is some time involved in the process but I’ve yet to see results that ever go beyond the most "extreme" overclocking preset. In other words, neither option will have you smashing overclocking records. So far ASUS is the only one to offer any insight or user configurable options to aid or guide this process. There are some limitations to the tuning capabilities of Easy Tune. It doesn’t have necessarily the same range of CPU and memory tuning functions that the UEFI BIOS does. That said, you can accomplish most of what normal users can in the UEFI through Easy Tune provided you aren’t doing anything more extreme than water cooling with a custom loop. You should be able to get within 100-200MHz of manual UEFI tuning anyway.

GIGABYTE’s System Information Viewer is called SIV for short. The name implies that the software’s primary focus is providing system information. It does do this on the very first page of the application window but that’s it. After that, it’s clear the software’s focus is fan control, PC health monitoring and configuration of warning thresholds for monitored conditions such as fan speeds and temperatures. Why this continues to be called the "System Information Viewer" is beyond me. Fan control is only frustrating because selecting it causes the calibration process to begin and it won’t let you cancel it. Fan control is solid after that. You have a fair amount of control in the application though some of the more advanced features offered by the competition aren’t necessarily represented here. In fairness, the leader in this area doesn’t have things like the fan reversal / dust remover feature on all its motherboards either. Fan spin up and spin down control is offered on more and more GIGABYTE models, including the X299 Aorus Gaming 3. This controls the ramp up of the fan speed RPMs when they are controlled in any dynamic fashion. If they are at a fixed speed, this setting is useless.

RGB Fusion

GIGABYTE’s RGB Fusion software goes beyond the level of control offered in the UEFI BIOS. That said, you can’t deactivate the LED’s when the system is off from RGB Fusion. This has to be done from the UEFI. Aside from that you have the same list of supported visual effects, but a far more substantial color palette to choose from. The UEFI gives you 7 colors and that’s it. The application offers brightness control and some options for speed and other variables for certain visual effects. The application also allows for individual LED’s to be controlled by zone and thus, colored differently from other zones. Presets for this can be stored on offline media in case you want to restore the profile after a system rebuild. The software is friendly enough, but I prefer setting up RGB Fusion from within the UEFI.