Gigabyte: UD4 and Gaming 3 to 9
Gigabyte is represented by five models in this test. To start off there is a complete line-up for gaming motherboards under the Aorus name which Gigabyte has been promoting recently: the X299 Gaming 3, 7 and 9. A 5 does not yet exist, but in terms of positioning the gap is filled by the X299 Aorus Ultra Gaming, which we have also tested. Last but not least, Gigabyte also sent us a cheaper motherboard right before the deadline: the X299 UD4.
The X299 UD4 looks as if we have gone back in time a few years. This is not necessarily negative: if you do not want it, you will not mind the complete lack of rgb-lighting, with the exception of a small strip next to the audio supply. Instead of this, the board has a grey-with-black aesthetic and the focus is primarily on getting as many features as possible at an inexpensive price. Compared with more expensive boards there is quite a bit missing – a third M.2-slot, a front header with USB 3.1, a second network connector and on-board buttons to name a few – but then again, this board costs less than 249 pounds / 280 euros.
The cheapest model in the Aorus Gaming-series costs 36 pounds / 40 euros more, and looks more imposing. The Gaming 3 has strengthened PCIe-slots and there is a hood over the I/O-panel. However, in terms of featureset the added value is limited. We now find an on-button on the motherboard itself, but in every other regard the possibilities are fairly identical to those of the UD4.
Gigabyte clearly spent more time on the design of the X299 Aorus Ultra Gaming. There is rgb-lighting in quite a few places, among which all PCIe-slots, under the memory slots, near the I/O-panel and below the chipset heatsink. If you want to have a party in your computer case this motherboard offers all of the possibilities you might want. This board also has more to offer in terms of features, such as a third M.2-slot and an optical S/PDIF-output which was absent on the Gaming 3. Furthermore, you have access to quite a few USB 3.1-connectors thanks to the use of an onboard hub.
The X299 Aorus Gaming 7 (average price of 423 pounds / 475 euros) and Gaming 9 (average price of 487 pounds / 547 euros) fall into the category of expensive boards in this test. They have the same power supply as the Gaming 3, with the exception of some secondary components, and this means that they are somewhat lacking in this regard, although the cooling of it is a lot better thanks to the addition of a heatpipe. The Gaming 3 was the first motherboard that showed the VRM-problems of X299-motherboards, and not without reason.
In terms of featureset the Gaming 7 and 9 the most complete in this test, which should not come as a surprise. However, the differences between both boards are rather small. One of the differences is that you receive three M.2-heatsinks with the Gaming 9, while you only receive one with the Gaming 7. The U.2-adapter is also not included in the box and the Gaming 7 does not have an integrated I/O-shield with rgb-lighting. These are all the differences, which makes it very difficult to justify the price increase of the Gaming 9 in our opinion.