EVGA X299 Dark Review
Published: 10th May 2018 | Source: EVGA | Price: |
The EVGA X299 Dark is a little bit of a mixed bag.
Certainly aesthetically and in terms of the functional design there is an awful lot to like. EVGAs designers have included a lot of quality of life features that make building your system much easier. Firstly, and most obviously, is the included extra motherboard that doubles up as a bench table. If you've ever been nervous of learning what does what on a motherboard, or want to do so in your own time, then the explanatory motherboard is an excellent tool. The fact you can also use it as a bench table and thus ensure that your system build works perfectly and/or your overclock is stable before you go to the effort of installing it in a case and doing your cable management is a serious boon. There are plenty of cut-outs in the PCB too that make routing cables behind your motherboard tray a lot easier than it normally is, with the horizontally mounted 24pin ATX connector a considerable help. Lastly on the feature set side of things are the three fans which help keep the chipset, M.2 drives and MOSFETs cool. As you could see on the preceding page the temperature of the VRMs is kept seriously in check, with even passive cooling working well. Beyond the functional we like the combination of a feature-rich motherboard being all about the function, whilst the gold traces and highlights lend a gorgeous look to the Dark. Black and gold might be a classic combination but it still works and is rare enough in motherboards and their swathes of either red or, these days, grey that it stands out from the pack.
The performance was extremely variable. For every test where the Dark absolutely smashed it, there was one in which it was stuck in this curious middle ground between the stock motherboards in our tests and the overclocked ones. To be fair, the majority of times in which it was less impressive than the extremely good overclock would have led us to believe tended to be extremely specific ones such as Cinebench or HEVC. When it came to the sort of overall performance that you would utilise daily it was either good or outstanding. Two of our PC Mark tests had it in the middle, but the actual number generated was very close to the top of the mark ones, yet in Passmark and PC Mark 8 it was clearly ahead of the rest of the X299 pack. With the ease of overclocking already at a high level we expect that future BIOS updates will smooth out the performance. Certainly it isn't a case of thermal throttling as the cooling is very good indeed.
All in all the EVGA X299 Dark is a motherboard with a spectacular design and some unique features allied to excellent overclocking performance which brings good real world scores too, and wins our OC3D Innovation Award.