INTEL X299 VRM HEADACHES

We have seen many reports lately with Intel X299 boards. Some boards like the Asus AORUS X299 cannot get past 4.6 GHz while another vendor’s board reaches 5.0 GHz.

It seems that Intel has underdesigned the regulators for the X299 which has left some OEM manufacturers to scramble to fix it. Some simply copied the reference designs which makes this as much Intel’s fault as it does with Gigabyte etc. Intel has put a lot of pressure on motherboard makers with short design cycles. The launch was pulled in from August to June. AMD has also been bad for  rushing designs out the door with Ryzen and Threadripper.

Reports of VRM temperatures of 86ºC lead to the CPU being downclocked by a few multiplier steps. This is not what a person who spent a wad for an extreme edition processor wants to see. The i7-6950X CPU uses 140W of power which needs a large VRM to handle the overclocking.

We also feel the use of only one EPS12V power cable may not be enough to cope with the demands of a 140W processor aggressively overclocked. We have seen some motherboards with dual EPS12V connectors and recent power supplies are now supporting this configuration. Dual EPS12V are usually seen with motherboards supporting multiple graphics cards.

Considering the 140W CPU, the VRM with over 200W of power should have been chosen.

X299 boards are over $300 each so expectations are for excellence. We suggest waiting to see a revised model board design comes to market in the next 60 days.