Gigabyte X299X DESIGNARE 10G Is A Great Intel Workstation Motherboard For Linux/BSD Systems
For those building an Intel Core X-series system, the Gigabyte X299X DESIGNARE 10G is the board we have been relying upon for our Cascadelake-X testing over the past two months and it has continued working out phenomenally for being a feature-rich platform while playing nicely with the various Linux distributions and BSDs tested.
The Gigabyte X299X DESIGNARE 10G is quite a feature-rich Intel X299 platform with featuring dual 10GbE Ethernet using the Intel X550 controller, Thunderbolt 3, onboard Intel AX200 WiFi-6, support for up to seven M.2 expansion slots thanks to the AORUS Gen4 AIC Adapter being included that offers 4 x PCIe M.2 slots, and all the other usual features we're used to seeing out of other Intel X299 motherboards.
The AORUS Gen4 AIC Adapter does support PCI Express 4.0, but keep in mind the X299 chipset only supports PCI Express 3.0.
The Gigabyte X299X DESIGNARE 10G is quite a feature-packed motherboard but thanks to using the well-supported and mature X299 chipset and making use of Intel chipsets for networking and WiFi, this motherboard leads with good Linux support thanks to generally being at the top of their game when it comes to punctual Linux support. If you are running a modern Linux distribution, you should find all core functionality working well with this motherboard.
While the dual 10GbE, WiFi 6, and other extras are working nice, it's actually the mundane RGB lighting that generally hits the support wall on Linux. With that, the Gigabyte "RGB Fusion 2.0" with the ability to control the LEDs on the motherboard meticulously is Windows-only. Gigabyte does not provide any Linux support for RGB controls (nor datasheets) and I am not aware of any community/third-party open-source software solution yet working for RGB controls on Gigabyte controls. But, thankfully, most Linux users aren't concerned about RGB lighting...
Not only does the X299X DESIGNARE 10G work well on Linux, but it also works well on the BSDs. As published back in December, Intel Still Has The Upperhand On BSD Support - Core i9 10980XE Benchmarks With DragonFlyBSD + FreeBSD. All of that testing was done using this Gigabyte motherboard and great that it was working out-of-the-box with FreeBSD 12.1, DragonFlyBSD 5.6 stable, and DragonFlyBSD 5.7 development snapshots.
The Gigabyte X299X DESIGNARE 10G paired with the Intel Core i9 10980XE for the past two months has been working out well as shown in our numerous i9-10980XE benchmarks from looking at 11 different Linux distributions on this motherboard to many other Linux-focused performance tests. There are also more benchmarks with the X299X DESIGNARE via our OpenBenchmarking.org.
The main downside to the Gigabyte X299X DESIGNARE 10G is the price. With having the dual 10GbE via the Intel X550, Intel AX200, and all the extras, this Linux/BSD-friendly motherboard retails for $599 USD. Thankfully we were provided with this motherboard as a review sample by Gigabyte, but for those in the market for a Core X-series motherboard, the X299X DESIGNARE 10G rises to the top.
Learn more about this motherboard at Gigabyte.com.
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