The launch of Intel's latest X-Series processors might seem like a summertime Christmas present for overclocking guru Roman "der8auer" Hartung. Unfortunately, Hartung doesn't seem to be happy with his gift. In a blunt and scathing video on his YouTube channel, he makes the bold claim that overclocking on X299 motherboards right now is limited due to what he regards as poor VRM heatsink design.
Hartung had three motherboards on hand: the Aorus X299 Gaming 3, Asus' Prime X299-Deluxe, and MSI's X299 Pro Gaming Carbon. During his testing, he found that the VRM heatsinks on all three models reached excessive temperatures, even with a relatively modest 4.6 GHz CPU overclock. After noticing odd throttling with these boards, he started attaching thermocouples to the VRM heatsink and the PCB behind the modules in order to investigate.
MSI's board was the coolest of the bunch with its VRM heatsink at 75° C. Asus's heatsink hit 86° C, and the heatsink on the Aorus board managed to reach a positively-toasty 105° C. Hartung also noticed excessive temperatures at the Aorus motherboard's power connector, and expressed frustration with the fact that the model in question only uses one 8-pin plug. He was eventually able to tame down VRM temperatures and achieve higher stable overclocks by removing the respective VRM heatsinks and aiming a 120-mm fan at the modules.
We didn't quite have the same experience as Hartung did when overclocking X-series processors on Asus's X299 Prime-Delux, since we were able to hit a 4.7 GHz overclock without trouble. That being said, we also held off on pushing our Core i7-7900X too far, as our editor believed that the firmware and monitoring utilities were still immature. In addition, well-known PSU reviewer Jon "JonnyGuru" Gerow stated to TechPowerUp his belief that the SuperFlower PSU that Hartung apparently used could also have contributed to the odd overclocking behavior.
Despite his criticism of the boards' VRM heatsinks, Hartung expressed some sympathy for the mobo manufacturers, as he suspects that Intel didn't give them quite as much time as usual to put together these products. For those interested in overclocking on the X299 platform, his recommendation is simple: wait. Hartung believes that a new round of motherboards will be out in about a month, and suggests that folks hold off for one of those.