There are eight fan headers, all of them are flexible PWM/Voltage mode headers. The blue headers are all identical, but the header circled in yellow is a 3A high output header for water pumps or multiple fans. The header circled in red is designed to facilitate water pumps, I assume that means it runs 100% in both PWM and voltage modes by default. Two EC sensor headers allow you to attach the two included EC temperature sensors so you can use those for fan header reference. GIGABYTE recently added in the ability to use the EC header temperatures as a reference for some of the system fan headers.
The RGB LEDs built into the Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 7 are very well done, no longer does bright light shine into your eyes, instead it is diffused evenly. The motherboard's color scheme allows you to pick and choose your own theme, as it's just black and gray. You can turn off the LEDs as well, in case you don't enjoy them. The back of the motherboard is surprisingly bare considering the amount of hardware built into it. There is a metal slab that will help cool the back of the CPU VRM.
A higher-resolution photo of the actual board we received (click to enlarge, below) shows the I/O panel a little more clearly, with its Killer 1525 867 Mb/s Wi-Fi controller. An included Killer E2500 PCIe-based Gigabit Ethernet controller enables Killer DoubleShot Pro mode, although the use of an Intel PHY for the other Gigabit Ethernet controller excludes the widely-promoted Killer DoubleShot-X3 option.
M.2 is available in three different slots, one sits between PCIe slot 1 (X16) and slot 2 (X4), one between the CPU and PCIe slot one, and the other under the chipset heatsink. The M.2 slot under the chipset heatsink is the “cooled” slot with a direct contact thermal pad and heatsink shared with the chipset PCH.
The other two slots have no cooling but the slot in between the PCIe lanes supports up to 22110 drives (110mm) compared to 2280 (80mm) for the other two.
The I/O provided is as follows:
- 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port
- 1 x USB Type-C port, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support
- 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports (red)
- 4 x USB 3.0 (USB 3.1 Gen 1) ports
- 2 x RJ-45 (Ethernet) ports
- 2 x MMCX antenna connectors (2T2R)
- 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
- 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
The IO panel is not integrated, but it does offer RGB LED support, so you won't have trouble locating anything at night. You get two USB 3.0 DAC-UP ports (yellow), two USB 3.0 ports (white one supports USB Flashback functionality as well), a USB 3.1 type-C port, four USB 3.1 type-A ports, Intel LAN, Killer LAN, WIFI antenna, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, and 7.1 gold plated audio ports with S/PDIF optical.
The X299 Aorus Gaming 7 installation kit includes a Wi-Fi antenna and retention cover, documentation, a driver and applications disc, a G-Connector bundler for front-panel LED/power/reset connectors, a case badge, two Velcro cable ties, four SATA cables, a digital LED extension cable, an RGB-lighted I/O shield, two RGBW strip extension cables, an HB-SLI bridge, two thermistor cables, and a giant sheet of stickers. There is no 3-way SLI bridge, since Nvidia doesn’t support this mode with its most recent graphics cards.
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