While there are plenty of companies to keep an eye out for here at Computex, it’s EVGA’s turn to see what’s new. There are more X299 motherboards after the recent announcement of Intel’s X-Series processors with a new socket, and EVGA’s generational masterpiece of NVIDIA engineering, the GTX 1080 Ti Kingpin.
Out of the motherboards we’ve looked at so far, EVGA has elected to do something a bit different, especially with its top-tier X299 DARK board. With its emphasis on overclocking, the DARK board forgoes four of the intended eight DIMM slots that make up many of the other boards, to help with memory overclocking. One of the tricks overclockers learnt in the early days was that by reducing the load on the memory controller, they could further increase the frequency range of the memory, which is what EVGA have done here. So while the premium model is limited to 64GB of RAM, there should be more headroom for speed.
The next trick (or possible gimmick, we’ll have to wait and see) is the inclusion of a fan over the chipset which exhausts air over not just the chipset, but an M.2 port situated between the top two PCIe x16 ports. It’s been known for a while that high-end M.2 SSDs, namely Samsung’s 960 Pro, can throttle performance due to heat, causing a bit of a craze with motherboard makers to install thermal solutions. Still, the option is here with EVGA claiming up to 15C cooler. Also interesting is a horizontally mounted power connector with cutout for the ATX power connector, possibly aiding in cable management.
The X299 FTW K is a more traditional motherboard, but EVGA couldn’t help but add a few RGB elements with color controlled shrouding. The board also uses all 8 DIMM slots for the full supported 128GB of RAM for the X-series platform. No active cooling though, but the board still supports decent overclocking with its 8+2 phase power solution. It also appears that both the DARK and FTW K boards support U.2 ports and Optane. The last board is the X299 MICRO, and as the name suggests, a Micro-ATX board. It still packs decent power delivery, but with the inclusion of Wireless AC. It also lacks 4 of the DIMM ports, but this time for size, rather than overclocking headroom.
Also on show was the drool-worthy GTX 1080 Ti Kingpin edition graphics card. Edge-to-edge heatsink with multiple heatpipes that can be split for installation of a waterblock or LN2 pot. The updated ICX technology for multi-sensor monitoring and fan speed adjustment. Lots of thermal contacts to boot. The card comes with a guaranteed 2025MHz+ overclock (instead of a base-boost of 1582MHz). Massively over-engineered power delivery system. EVBOT monitoring and control port. Kingpin is EVGA’s ‘ultimate’ series of GPUs for the more adventurous users out there.
The Kingpin isn’t available yet, but it should be out soon. If you’d like to check out a teardown of one of the developer units, you can check out our friends over at Gamers Nexus where EVGA bravely let them rip the thing apart.