Intel’s new X299 platform is already having some controversy regarding CPUs and now its look like the X299 motherboards is also facing issues, with user “der8auer” of overclocking fame claiming the platform is essentially a complete “VRM disaster.” In the video in which these claims are made, he levies the blame to both Intel and the motherboard manufacturers “50/50.” For Intel’s part, he blames them for the short product launch which was pulled in from August to June, giving the motherboard manufacturers in der8auer’s words “almost zero time for developing proper products.”
In the video, der8auer elaborates to basically claim a complete lack of consistency among the quality of VRMs and their heatsinks in various manufacturers. In his first test, he takes a CPU that is known to do 5.0 GHz and on a Gigabyte Aorus branded mainboard found himself unable to even hit 4.6 GHz with dangerously high VRM temperatures. He goes on to blame the heatsinks on the VRMs, going so far to call the Gigabyte solution more of a “heat insulation” device than a cooler, as a simple small fan over the bare VRM array did many magnitudes better than a simple standard install with the stock VRM cooler attached. After an MSI-branded board had done similar, it became apparent this was not an isolated issue.
der8auer also went on to criticize the lack of voltage input in the form of many boards having only a “single 8-pin connector” which der8auer claims is not nearly enough. He claims a cable temperature of nearly 65 degrees Celsius on the 8-pin EPS cable which is obviously disconcerting, though TechPowerUp has been in discussions with renowned PSU-tester Jon Gerow (Jonnyguru) who feels the “all-in-one” cable design on the Super Flower PSU shown in the video may be partially to blame here for the heat level with that current draw. It’s hard to tell which part is more at fault for that temperature and we will update that as we know more. Until then, here’s is Jon Gerow’s direct comment on the matter:
“If you used the SuperFlower PSU in the video with the crystal connectors, that’s part of your problem. Those “universal 9-pin connectors” have less conductors than most other modular PSUs because the same connector that’s used for EPS12V, PCIe, etc. has to also support +5V and +3.3V for Molex and SATA and then there’s an “LED pin” which, when grounded to a ground pin, turns on the interface’s LED. A horribly bad design. This is why the wires would be so hot. I suggest checking the voltage at the PSU and then at the motherboard’s EPS12V to see what the drop looks like under load. If the voltage is significantly lower than +12V, the board is going to have to pull more current than it normally would. I then suggest using that AX1500i you have on the shelf behind you and see if you end up with the same results since that modular cable for the EPS12V is four +12V pins and four grounds. — jonny”
The frustrations expressed here have also been shared by Overclock.net user “Silicon Lottery,” who sells prebinned overclockable CPUs to the general public. His statements on the matter mirror user der8auer’s concerns, stating the following in a forum post at Overclock.net:
“I am having trouble with some of these X299 motherboards. I’ve bought a wide variety for this launch, and none of them are really handling the load of an overclocked 7900X as well as I’d expect. VRM temps through the roof and boards throttling.”
One thing is for certain: The VRM situation is far from consistent at this point in time, and overclocking results on one board may not be consistent to another. Heatsinks may be inadequate, and as far as overclocking is concerned, it may get interesting folks, and not in a good way. In the end der8auer concluded he couldn’t really give a solid recommendation to any of the launch boards put past his desk, all of them having one issue or another with VRM heat at some point.