In this review we looked at the EVGA X299 Dark motherboard and after having used the board for several weeks I have come to the conclusion that it is really good and designed for the overclocking enthusiast. As I mentioned earlier in this review you can do anything on the X299 Dark and it would be a welcome addition into any custom build but, it was designed to get the most out of the X-Series and can deliver.
Starting with construction the motherboard features a 12 layer PCB design, 16-Phase VRM and a proper onboard cooling solution. Keeping the motherboard VRM cool is key for oveclocking stability and with the prevalence of AIO and DIY watercooling there is less air circulating in a case, even less when being used on a test bench. To compensate for this EVGA has added a very large cooler to the X299 Dark. A thin-fin heatsink is located directly above the Mosfets which is then connected via heatpipe to a solid heatsink under the I/O cover. This will draw excess heat away from the VRM that cannot be normally dissipated by the two 40mm fans placed on top. To complete the cooling solution you’ll also a solid heatsink on the back of the PCB to help give the cooler even more capacity.
EVGA has been using the same UEFI design for a few years and is still one of the best ones on the market. It displays exactly what you need to see on a single dashboard while still giving you access to all of the submenus required to configure the board. This is an important feature given that many manufacturers tend to overcomplicate the interface in an attempt to show "everything" or do the opposite and hide everything in a list of complex menus. The EVGA UEFI is very straight forward showing you the current state of your system while giving you appropriate menus to make adjustments.
When it comes to overclocking I found the Dark to be very responsive from both manual and automatic adjustments. Of course the biggest complaint is excessive heat common to many X-Series CPUs as this tends to limit overclocking. For this review I wanted to really push the limit and was able to easily hit 5.3Ghz on my Core i9 7900X and without Delidding. The processor responded well to 5.5Ghz but really needed better thermal control to get the best performance.
Speaking of performance as part of this review I wanted to mix in some video card overclocking and decided to add my EVGA GTX 980 Ti Kingpin to the mix. The 980Ti KPE is another product designed for overclocking and with a few upgrades can be ready for LN2. My card is able to run 2000Mhz without too much trouble but started to over-extend the limit of my GPU container so I’ll be revisiting both the X299 Dark and 980Ti KPE in future LN2 sessions.
A good example is one of my Firestrike Extreme scores where to get the benchmark to run I had to back the clocks down to 1905Mhz. This is due to my "slim" pot being too efficent and pushing LN2 out if I poured it too quickly. Using a "fat" container would make it easier to control.
Overall I’m very pleased with the EVGA X299 Dark and have to admit it was worth the wait. The board has great style and a very innovative design with the most notable being a noticable attention to detail. The board features an oversized VRM cooler, supports 4-way SLI and has three M.2 slots. In the box you’ll get a LGA 2011 backplate (handy for alternative cooling solutions) and a test bench made in the shape of the X299 Dark. This panel doubles as a visual guide showing you all of the key locations on the motherboard along with a chart explaining how the different processors work on the board.
For more information on the EVGA X299 Dark and an easy way to buy one check out the EVGA online store and X299 Dark landing pages.
Black Color Scheme
Oversized VRM Heatsinks
Unique Motherboard Shape
Excellent UEFI Menus
Flexible PCI Express Layout
4133Mhz+ DDR4 Performance
Active M.2 Cooling
Excellent Voltage Control
4-Way SLI Support
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