Despite sharing the same socket, Intel's Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors have a few key differences that buyers need to know about. Notably, Skylake-X CPUs have quad-channel memory support, while the Kaby Lake-X processors do not. There's potential for confusion there, as Kaby Lake-X builders might not be expecting to leave half of their DIMM slots empty. In an apparent attempt to simplify things for those looking to get Kaby Lake-X CPUs, Gigabyte has released the X299 Aorus Gaming motherboard.
This board only supports Intel's Core i7-7740X and Core i5-7640X, the two existing Kaby Lake-X processors. Folks interested in Skylake-X models have other, similarly-named options from Gigabyte with the appropriate number of quad-channel DIMM slots. The X299 Aorus Gaming is an ATX board with an Intel Ethernet adapter and RGB LEDs galore. Audiophiles should appreciate the ALC1220 audio codec, and with six temperature sensors and five fan headers, keeping the system cool should be a breeze.
For connecting storage, users can take advantage of the board's two M.2 connectors and eight SATA ports. The board is ready for Intel's Optane memory, too. Users won't find any USB Type-C ports on this motherboard, but they'll come across six USB 3.0 connectors plus two USB 3.1 ports on the back panel.
A similar motherboard from MSI seems to be in the works. Full information on that offering isn't out yet, but the rumor chasers at Videocardz have a picture of a microATX X299 board from MSI with only four DIMM slots, presumably aimed at the same audience that Gigabyte is targeting with the X299 Aorus Gaming.
We haven't spotted either motherboard for sale yet, so pricing and availability are still both unknown. It's a fairly safe bet that both models ought to be more affordable than the X299 offering we've seen thus far from either company.
Perhaps these motherboards will find a niche audience of folks who just want a Kaby Lake-X CPU and don't mind not being able to upgrade to a Skylake-X model down the line. These motherboards' whole concept seems a little off, though. Assuming that users were going to be confused about trying to pair quad-channel memory kits with Kaby Lake-X processors, they're just as likely to be bamboozled by an X299 motherboard that doesn't support Skylake-X processors at all.