Do you remember the spiffy looking X399 Designare EX motherboard Gigabyte released in October for AMD's Threadripper processors? Well, now there's a version for Intel's Core X-series processor, the X299 Designare EX, with the same visual flare.
The new X299 Designare EX offers full support for Intel's 18-core/36-thread Core i9-7980XE, along with the rest of Intel's Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X lineup, down to the Core i5-7640X.
Similar to the X399 version, the X299 Designare EX is flush with armored bits. Gigabyte does this both for looks and to keep critical components cool for added stability, especially if overclocking. There's even a large metal base plate on the backside of the motherboard, which is mostly to protect the board from sagging or bending when installing heavier CPU coolers and graphics graphics cards.
Beyond the armored bling, the X299 Designare EX has eight DIMM slots supporting up to 128GB of DDR4 memory, or up to 512GB when using registered DIMMs. It also has five reinforced PCIe x16 slots, three M.2 connectors, eight SATA 6Gbps ports, and support for Intel's Optane Memory.
The board has built-in dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, along with Bluetooth 4.2. And for wired connectivity, users will find dual Intel GbE LAN ports. As for USB connectivity, the rear I/O panel is home to four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and two Thunderbolt 3 connectors (USB Type-C with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support).
Gigabyte says it outfitted the X299 Designare EX with server-level chokes and a server-class digital power design. Combined with the many amenities, this board is about as high-end as it gets.
There's no word yet on price or availability. As a point of reference, the X399 Designare EX for Threadripper sells for $400. The X299 version is likely to be in the same ballpark.