In June Intel introduced a new series of high-end processors using the codenamed Skylake-X. These new CPUs are accompanied by a new socket and with that comes a new platform as well. In this round-up we compare 18 Intel X299-motherboards that passed through our test lab.
X299 is the latest incarnation of Intel’s high-end platform, meant for the demanding users that are not satisfied by the mainstream platform (with socket 1151). Intel states it is also for gamers, but we have not yet seen a lot of added advantage of more than 4 cpu cores in our many tests. Especially now that after the release of the 8th generation ‘Coffee Lake’ Core-processors a 6-core cpu is available at a relatively low price, the target audience of X299 are primarily the (semi)professional users of heavy compute, graphic, 3D rendering, cad/cam, video editing and comparable applications. If you are part of that audience and choose to build a system yourself, you can fit up to 18 cores on a single X299 motherboard with the new socket 2066.
It is very difficult to distinguish that socket from the predecessor, socket 2011, by looking at it. Nevertheless it is not backwards compatible. This means that you can only use Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors with an X299-motherboard. Coolers for socket 2011 do fit on the new boards, so there is no need to worry about that.