Overclocking

Overclocking the Prime X299 Edition 30 is straight forward. Like any X299 system, you really only need to set your CPU voltage and turbo frequency. After that, its just a matter of making sure you supply just enough voltage to keep the system stable, and the temperatures down. I have been down this road a couple of times given that I reviewed the Intel Core i9 10980XE CPU here. At the time I did my initial testing, I was only able to achieve a clock speed of 4.7GHz. However, it was always clear to me that this CPU was capable of more. It will POST upwards of 5.1GHz, but the problem lies in being able to supply enough voltage to keep it stable, while being able to handle the thermals.

Recently, it was rumored that Intel was going to release a microcode update to motherboard vendors which would allow for greater levels of overclocking. To be honest, I don’t know if that’s true as it didn’t seem to be in that case. However, I did pair the CPU with a larger radiator and newer CPU block, which did result in an overclock of 4.8GHz. The cooling system I hooked this up to is essentially the one that I ended up putting in my personal system. This consisted of an EK Velocity RGB water block and a 480mm and 420mm radiator setup. That’s a great deal of heat dissipation and far beyond what’s probably required to do the job. Even so, I saw temperatures of 107c on two cores while testing the CPU.

In other words, I’m fairly certain my increase in overclocking headroom wasn’t due to the microcode update but rather gaining just a tiny bit more headroom on the cooling capacity of the cooling solution. Our tests were benchmarked at 4.7GHz and 4.8GHz was achieved later on after a bit more tuning. This is why you see benchmarks at 4.7GHz, and not the final outcome of 4.8GHz.

Getting back to one significant issue I have with the Prime X299 Edition 30 is its lack of mesh tuning. You can’t do anything with it. There are no Mesh settings in the BIOS at all. Therefore, performance might be left on the table. That’s something I think is unacceptable for a $750 motherboard. The Prime X299 Deluxe II is another board I have on hand which is very similar, and its the same way. Therefore, I have to conclude that mesh settings are reserved for Republic of Gamer’s motherboards which is unfortunate. Those still have LN2 provisions and additional memory tuning features the Prime series doesn’t have. As a result, I think this level of segmentation is overkill.

That said, I’ve had extensive hands on time with this motherboard and platform now, and frankly, it can be made to perform definitively better than a Ryzen 9 3950X in most tests. I don’t think the value is there necessarily, but the performance is essentially the best you can achieve without spending $400 or more on a Threadripper setup.

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9 Comments

  1. For a 750 dollar board I am also surprised by the BIOS. Space isn’t cheap in that arena and they could have designed a nice color pallet in the Bios to resemble the motherboard.

    It’s especially damning when my 170 dollar motherboard has twice the size bios storage.

  2. I’d love a HEDT board with excellent VRM’s (and cooling), but forgo all RGB and built-in NIC(s), Audio, Video, etc… a basic quality (8+ layers) board with PS2 and USB plus M.2 port or two – even memory slots limited to 4 slots and surface mounted – nothing else other than direct cpu connected slots for add-in cards. Asus was almost there with Apex x299 – That’s a board I’d pay extra for.
  3. No Power and Temp measurements? Nice review, and if I had the money and a nuclear reactor, would be something I’d like to build one of these days..
  4. We’ve never actually had power measurements in our motherboard reviews. That even goes back to the HardOCP days. Largely, it’s dependent on the CPU and figuring out exactly what the motherboard does is a bit tricky. That said, power is the same as it was in the 10980XE review. 617w when overclocked.

    As for temperatures, I normally cover what the VRM heat sink reads at. An oversight on my part. These reviews are getting more complex and its easy to miss something like that. However, I did note it and the VRM heat sink was a mere 102F.

  5. It’s one of the nicest motherboards I’ve ever reviewed. That’s saying something given that I’ve been doing this for over 14 years.
  6. We’ve never actually had power measurements in our motherboard reviews. That even goes back to the HardOCP days. Largely, it’s dependent on the CPU and figuring out exactly what the motherboard does is a bit tricky. That said, power is the same as it was in the 10980XE review. 617w when overclocked.

    As for temperatures, I normally cover what the VRM heat sink reads at. An oversight on my part. These reviews are getting more complex and its easy to miss something like that. However, I did note it and the VRM heat sink was a mere 102F.

    Thank you Dan!

  7. It’s one of the nicest motherboards I’ve ever reviewed. That’s saying something given that I’ve been doing this for over 14 years.

    For the price I would be surprised if it were anything other than top notch.

    I can understand the history with Intel. Still odd that they chose this route, given that X299 is due to be overhauled… Then again, when all that’s on the horizon is Skylake ++++ and you aren’t jumping to PCI 4.0, I guess there is no real ~need~ to overhaul it (not that that has ever stopped Intel in the past).

  8. For the price I would be surprised if it were anything other than top notch.

    I can understand the history with Intel. Still odd that they chose this route, given that X299 is due to be overhauled… Then again, when all that’s on the horizon is Skylake ++++ and you aren’t jumping to PCI 4.0, I guess there is no real ~need~ to overhaul it (not that that has ever stopped Intel in the past).

    For that price, you do expect a great board. However, GIGABYTE’s X58-UD9 was $700 back in the day and I hated it. It was one of the quirkiest boards I’d worked with at the time. As for Intel, they cycle through the mainstream chipsets too quickly and not fast enough on the HEDT side.

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