A Closer Look
Gigabyte couldn’t quite cram everything into the standard ATX footprint, so the X299 Aorus Master is an EATX form-factor. The Aorus signature styling is here with the metal reinforced memory and PCIe slots and black and metallic accents covering the heatsinks and rear I/O covers.
The rear of the board is covered almost completely with a baseplate. This helps to strengthen the motherboard as well as protect it. The area around the socket is left open so that extreme overclockers can access the mounting holes in the board and the rear of the socket.
Intel’s LGA 2066 socket takes up a large portion of the top of the board. It is flanked by eight DDR4 DIMM slots for quad-channel memory configurations up to 128GB. An updated VRM heatsink sits above the CPU over the 12-phase VRM and is connected with an additional heatsink near the rear I/O via a large heat pipe.
The bottom half of the board holds four PCIe x16 slots with 28 or 40 lanes available to them depending on what CPU you have installed. This lets you run up to x16/x8 for 28 lane CPUs and x16/x8/x8/x8 for the rest of the compatible CPU’s. Three M.2 slots are woven in between with the top slot having a dedicated X4 link to the CPU, and the middle and lower M.2 slots connected to the Chipset. All three support up to 22110 sized Devices.
Rear I/O is pretty full, you get an external Power button and Clear CMOS button. You get six USB 3.0 ports (in blue) and two USB 3.1 gen 2 ports (red and Type-C). Networking comes in with an Intel Gigabit LAN port, Realtek 2.5GBE LAN port, and Intel 802.11AC 2x2 Wifi. Audio is the standard 5-port fare of gold plated ports powered from an ESS Sabre 9218 DAC.
The bottom edge has the front panel audio header, an S/PDIF output header, Digital RGB header with selectable 5V/12V jumper, analog RGB header, BIOS switches, TPM header, reset switch and 2-character debug display.
Moving forward we have three 4-pin headers, two USB 2.0 headers, USB 3.0 header with TurboCharger function, and the front panel I/O.
Going up the front we have the Thunderbolt controller connection, VROC key connection, 6-pin PCIe aux power plug, eight SATA 6Gbps ports, USB 3.1 and USB 3.0 headers and main 24-pin power.
The top corner is very busy. Behind the 24-pin power, there are several voltage test points for overclocking. Two more 4-pin fan headers that have the power output to handle pumps, two temp probe headers, and two more RGB headers, one analog and one digital, again with selectable voltage. Both 8-pin EPS power connections are in this corner as well.
The pre-mounted I/O Shield and rear I/O ports are covered for aesthetics and the milky white bit glows with RGB Fusion 2.0 powered lighting, as does the accent over the Audio are as well as the AORUS text on the chipset cover.
Gigabyte has seriously beefed up VRM cooling capabilities, moving from the decorative slab of aluminum common to most boards to a finned heatsink with much more surface area. There is also a small fan hidden under the Rear I/O cover.
The business end of the VRM cooling is also finned and connected to the rear portion via a large heat pipe.