Gigabyte X299 Designare EX ATX Motherboard Review: Solid OC, Plus Thunderbolt 3

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Dec 8, 2014
I don't know a lot about computers, but I am totally confused by this motherboard's video inputs/outputs. I know that since this is a gaming motherboard, a graphics card with normal video ports would also be installed. DP IN wouldn't motherboards normally be DP Out, would you connect the video card's DP OUT to the Motherboard's DP IN and use Thunderbolt to display graphics? Where are the standards like HDMI, shouldn't you have some type of video out to test that the motherboard is functioning properly? Will all motherboards be heading towards these types of configurations?


Dec 14, 2012
ThunderBolt 3: GIGABYTE is using Intel's new ThunderBolt 3 controller which offers two ThunderBolt 3 ports. The reason we have two DisplayPort input jacks on the rear IO is that ThunderBolt 3 requires a Display Port signal, so you would hook those up to your GPU if you want to use ThunderBolt 3. It has to be this way on every motherboard without integrated graphics, that's one reason you don't see ThunderBolt 3 on many X299 motherboards. The TB3 type-C ports double as USB and DP type-C ports, and the power delivery ICs should provide a lot of power.

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Mar 22, 2018
gigabyte's own docs and config tool say the board can only do 8x/16x/8x, presumably because they needed some PCIe lanes for thunderbolt.

what led you to the conclusion it supports 16x/16x/8x?


Former Staff
You're thinking along the lines of boards that use the CPU's integrated graphics, such as the Z370 series. X299 uses certain Xeons as well as desktop CPUs based on re-specified Xeons, none of which have in integrated GPU. So you're wondering "Why then does it have video connectors?"

Thunderbolt 3 supports video AND data transmission, but the onboard Thunderbolt 3 controller only transmits data. Gigabyte must then rely on the builder's choice of graphics card to make Thunderbolt 3 monitors and Thunderbolt 3 external drives/etc daisy chain together. And so it has graphics input, for your graphics card, and passes that signal through to the Thunderbolt ports. The next guy finishes that discussion.

Thanks for the description. I told him what he needed to know in order to understand what you were telling him. It was pretty easy, without need to link an external site ;)

I would like to thank you for pointing this out: I appended some data in the table, and then used the table to guide my discussion.

But, I'd also like to point out that the board can do x8/x8/x8 on a 28-lane CPU. So, using Thunderbolt as an excuse for only being able to do x8/x16/x8 on a 44-lane CPU is rather weak: A 44 lane CPU has 16 more lanes than a 28-lane CPU, not 8. So thanks for your help, and shame on Gigabyte for not being forthright in its explanation.
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