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Supermicro Motherboard ATX DDR4 3000 C7X99-OCE-O

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #102 in Intel Motherboards

Posted

Pros: Colour scheme, servergrade components, dual Intel LAN

Cons: Not enough features such as M.2 connectors

Introduction
Welcome to this review of the Supermicro C7X99-OCE. I reviewed the Supermicro C7Z97-OCE as well and explained where you might know the Supermicro brand from. Supermicro is a well established name in enterprise solutions and server base hardware. They have been designing and producing motherboards (amongst others) for a long time and are very well known for their building quality. These professional solutions are created to run 24/7 and always perform at their best. The Supermicro C7Z87-OCE and the C7Z97-OCE were the first ventures into the overclocking and gaming consumer market. Please search for their respective reviews. Right now we have their offering for the X99 platform / 2011-3 socket. Let's go see what has changed since the last review I have done.

Unboxing and specifications
Let’s start with a couple of unboxing photos and the product specifications.

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The retail box with all the information you need about this motherboard. Supermicro has changed the design of the outside of the box. I think it looks great although it is the least of concern when buying a motherboard wink.gif Let’s have a look what is inside this box.

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The full retail package right here. A quick-guide with the lay-out of the motherboard and its components, a disc with all the drivers on it, an IO shield that is completely blanc, a single SLI bridge and 6 SATA3 cables. While Supermicro is advancing on the colours of the motherboards itself the added products are still their usual colours. Perhaps for a next motherboard they will add a coloured IO shield, black SATA cables and a black (and more) bridges for Crossfire and SLI.

Here we have the most important content of this package. The motherboard itself.

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Supermicro is still in the game of improving the colour scheme of the motherboards for consumers. All kinds of headers, the SATA ports and connectors used to be white and are now all black making it again easier on the eyes. No more third colour heatsinks as well. They now fit in with the theme of the rest of the components on the motherboard. The tips of the DIMM slots also are no more white but in the same colour as the slots. All these small improvements make the motherboard have a much more solid colourscheme.

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General overlook and features
Let’s take a closer look at this motherboard and its hardware and features. I would also like to compare it to its predecessors in some ways. See where they made improvements. Of course this is an Intel Extreme CPU motherboard and the previous installations were for the mainstream processors. But still in some ways we can compare them.

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I already discussed the general overlook in the previous section. So let's go over the components / features.
Starting at the top there is an 8-pin CPU connector and left and right from it in total 3 black PWM fan headers. This should be enough to feed a beefy CPU. And there are enough headers to feed a huge CPU air cooler with multiple fans on it or a AIO watercooling solution with a 240mm or 280mm radiator.
Under this a heatsink with an 8 phase digital PWM. Combined with the components surrounding it this is as good as any lower end super many phase analog PWM. Sadly a lot of casual overclockers still think that more phases = better. Completely overlooking the quality of the components used.

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Going down we see the massive CPU socket. When you're used to socket 1155 this thing is enormous. Left and right of it the 8 memory slots that are rated to support overclocking up to 3.300 Mhz. They can currently handle 8*8GB so in total 64GB of memory. Left and right of this again 2 4 pin PWM fan headers. Going down more we have 4 PCI-E 3.0 slots. Maybe there is a logic behind it, but I still don't understand what the 4th on the bottom is good for since the card in it will block all buttons under it and means you cannot use the slot above it. The reason why there is no room for 4 usable slots is that the left 4 memory slots are placed lower than the right ones. So the PCI-E slots had to move down a bit as well. In my opinion they could better have just put in 3 slots then as not many people out there want to use 4 and using 4 is practically impossible anyway this way.
Left of the motherboard we find the clear-CMOS button. I am happy there is a button for it now and you don't have to short pins for it. This is way easier.
On the right we find the second heatsink. This one cools the X99 chipset.

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Going further to the right we see a massive 10 SATA3 ports. Supermicro is going oldschool with this motherboard. Since no devices are out yet that use the PCI-express connectors on the side of the motherboard it is a waste of space that can be used by still king-of-the-hill SATA3 hardware.
The thing that strikes me as odd and a bit of a shortcoming is the lack of a M.2 connector between 2 PCI-E slots. I mean the C7Z97 had one and it worked very well. Why doesn't this newer motherboard have one? M.2 is the format of the new PCI-express generation that actually gets used. More and more manufacturers are selling these to consumers at increasingly faster and faster speeds. In my biased opinion it is the future for all boot drives. No cables, super tiny, very low energy use, almost invisible and superfast.

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Going down lower we find a speaker (yes Supermicro still works with onboard speakers for beeps to tell you what is wrong if you have issues booting). There is the BIOS restore button and a POST code display. One cannot have a high-end motherboard without one these days and this motherboard has one thankfully.
Down and down we go arriving at the always crowded bottom end of the motherboard. Here we find a big range of buttons. The most left one is a power button, then a memory OC button, three overclocking buttons (one of these can be programmed by yourself in the BIOS), and the most right one is a home button that will reset the CMOS settings to default. There is hidden there a tiny BIOS recovery switch.

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There is a COM-port on the left and on the right all kinds of headers for a 5,25 inch OC-panel to hook onto and the pins for the casebuttoms for power, reset, etc. I am not going to name all jumpers as in general Supermicro motherboard have a LOT of them. Also I have not mentioned a couple of headers that are used for things the average user probably won't use. Last but not least there is a USB3.1 header in the right bottom corner. The first motherboard that I saw had this option was the Supermicro C7Z97-OCE. The a couple of months ago all competition X99 motherboards received new versions but then with USB3.1 support on them. Again this motherboard has this from the start. Good job Supermicro!
I am missing one header on this motherboard. At first I didn't really notice it until I hooked the system up for testing. I always use a custom watercooled setup. And to control the pump speed, fan speeds, check temperatures etc I use an Aquaero system by Aquacomputer. This system can be completely controlled in Windows. Which is awesome. But it uses a USB2.0 header to connect to for the data transfer. And this motherboard doesn't have this. Well poo xD. I don't think I have used a motherboard yet that did not have any at all. I mean a lot of big computer cases have USB2.0 and USB3.0 ports on it. If I am correct more and more brands around the world come out with controlling units that transfer data with the motherboard through a USB2.0 header. I think it would be wise to next time add one :-)
Last I want to show and talk about the IO ports of the motherboard. The first thing you will notice is the lack of things there. Where other motherboards are completely filled with all kinds of stuff, connectors, buttons, wifi and whatnot. This board gives you the Spartan-version. 2 Intel Gigabit LAN ports, 6 ports for audio, 6 USB3.0 ports and one oldschool mouse/keyboard port. All the necessary things are there. But it still feels kind of odd to see so much emptiness staring at you.

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Secondly I want to do something that reviewers generally do NOT do. And this is pointing to another review for extra information on the matter. Now I know my motherboards, I know what I want on them, I know how what works and what I like and dislike about different ones. But I am not as educated on the matter of chips and components as a befriended reviewer Steven Bassiri is. He used to be a solo reviewer but thankfully Tweaktown took him on board. Where I linked to a Youtube video in the previous review I now link to page 3 of his review of this motherboard: the circuit analyses. http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/7052/supermicro-c7x99-oce-intel-x99-motherboard-review/index3.html . Reading this page is not required to know how this motherboard works. What it does give is an enormous insight in the specific components used by Supermicro. Like previous times they have been using nothing but A-grade components making this a very stable and strong piece of kit. If you like to have this explained why, go check out the link.

BIOS & software support
Just like with the C7Z97-OCE Supermicro gave this motherboard a UEFI BIOS. In fact, when you boot into it, it kind of feels exactly like the UEFI BIOS of the C7Z97-OCE. It feels like it, it looks and works the exact same. Which does not have to be an issue of course. It has a main page that has 9 big thumbnails on it leading to 9 different parts of the settings. There is an option to toggle the advanced settings on and off. This mainly opens up options on the overclocking part of the settings. You can go very deep with this UEFI BIOS. Everything is there and everything works well. Did I say everything? I meant ALMOST everything. Just as with the C7Z97-OCE I miss in the BIOS and later on also in the software the ability to adjust PWM settings. Make the PWM react more or less aggressive to temperature changes in CPU temp for example. But also the settings to adjust them manually. I am going to re-use a piece of my previous review to explain what I would like and how important this is.
"Why does this matter you might ask? Well a user could be mostly interested in a low noise system and not mind the temperatures going to bit higher because of that, while other users might want the system to run as cool as possible. For users that apply a custom watercooling loop to their system (such as me) it has become more and more “mainstream” to let the PWM of the motherboard control the speed of the pump. All manufacturers are putting 4-pin PWM connectors on their pumps nowadays so you can adjust the RPM with the click of a button. So adding that would be a big thumbs up from me."
The driver CD does not come with a lot of software. It also doesn’t come with a boatload of spammy software like toolbars and internet security software you will have to pay for after the 30 day trial period. Good stuff! If you want to do overclocking inside the Windows environment rather than using the BIOS there is the Intel overclocking utility. It is very similar to the utility other vendors such as Gigabyte use, but it contains only the main overclocking settings. Sadly no fan control support from the motherboard connectors.
The last thing it comes with is “SuperDoctor III”. It is a web-based management tool allows you to monitor your system. SuperDoctor III displays crucial system information such as CPU temperature, system voltages and fan speeds. Supermicro provides a variety of PC health monitoring tools in the form of it its SuperDoctor software. It also gives you the option to set warnings when certain thresholds are being passed. This software makes you remember you are dealing with Supermicro again. The graphics are just there to make you know what it means, not to look flashy. Other vendors have such software implemented in their Windows overclocking utility so a user has all features in a single tool instead of having to work with multiple pieces of software.

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Price / performance ratio
This section is not as filled with numbers as it sounds. I am not actually going to calculate some kind of ratio here. But what I am going to look at is “what you get for you money and how is that compared to the competition? “. Motherboards have a lot of features and hardware options. How does this motherboard compare to the competition in the same price range? Let’s start off with the price of the Supermicro C7X99 OCE. I found it at Azerty for € 376,- and Max ICT for € 340,-. When you see it for sale at Newegg for $ 305,- you wonder how these prices work, but that is not important now I guess. So what does max € 350,- get you from the competition? Heavy competition! The MSI X99S XPOWER AC is € 349,-, the ASRock X99 OC Formula is € 340,- and the ASUS X99 PRO USB3.1 is also € 340,-. These are not the easiest motherboards to beat. Odd thing is that these are all $ 50,- more expensive in the USA compared to the Supermicro there. And here they are the same price. If I look more into the € 300,- - € 325,- range we come into the territory the C7X99-OCE should be. But still very stiff competition. We are talking the Gigabyte GA-X99-Gaming 5P. This motherboard is boatloaded with features. 4 usable PCI-E slots, M.2 slot, 2 PCI-express ports, special soundchip, WiFi and the looks to match. Also available is their UD7 version with similar features. MSI comes in with their MSI X99A Gaming 7 motherboard for € 280,-. It is very similar featured as the Supermicro but does have an M.2 slot and special audio yet it lacks the dual LAN ports. For the Dutch Market I think this is where the C7X99-OCE should be around. Retailers should price it around the € 280,- range. From there on people can choose based on component quality and such and the Supermicro has the power to fight off the competition. I can only conclude that the current pricing in Holland is too high for it to be succesfull. In the USA it seems the price is right in terms of what you get for the money.

Conclusion
I think it is fair to conclude from this review that this is a solid motherboard. You won't regret buying it. The components are high quality. It will run stable and if you buy the right processor in the silicon lottery it will clock high and still run stable. The looks of this motherboard have again improved. All the details here and there being black now as well. It all adds to the complete look. I do regret to see it lacks a M.2 port. For me that is kind of a thing. Just about all competitor X99 motherboards have one and I think it needs one. Also the lack of a USB2.0 header puts me off a bit personally. It might seem "from the past" compared to the newer USB3.0 and even USB3.1 headers, but it is still very usefull and gets used so much it is kind of odd not to have it. The same goes for the lack of PWM control. This is the Intel Extreme range and a lot of people with such a system watercool their gear.
Where does this leave this motherboard? It kind of sounds like I am negative about it in terms of lacking features or options. To be honest I am on the fence about this one. It has all basics good, it is again improving from previous generations in looks, it has the quality components to be out there with the best, but it also lacks a few things that make it less appealing compared to competition. I think it will make end-users go for another motherboard which is a shame. If I were to put a motherboard in a client system and it needed to be X99 I would have to ask the client very well what he wanted from it. Which features it should have. If there is no need for M.2 or PWM motherboard manual control then I would gladly point them in this direction. But if they want it then I will have to go to the competition.
Is this a bad motherboard? No way, it is a good one that will serve you well wether you want to game with it, overclock with it, bench with it or all the above. But Supermicro should have added a few more options to make it a great motherboard.
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Supermicro Motherboard ATX DDR4 3000 C7X99-OCE-O
Description:

Super micro Pro Gaming X99 LGA2011-v3/ Intel X99/ DDR4/ 3-Way CrossFireX & 3-Way SLI/ SATA3/ ATX Motherboard

Details:
DetailValue
BindingPersonal Computers
BrandSupermicro
EAN0672042179855
FeatureLGA 2011-v3 Chipset: Intel X99 Express Memory: 8x DDR4-3333(OC)/ 3110/ 3000/ 2750/ 2666/ 2600/ 2400/ 2200/ 2133 DIMM Slots, Quad-Channel, Non-ECC, Unbuffered, Max Capacity of 128GB Slots: 4x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 Slots, 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1 ( in x4 ) Slots SATA: 10x SATA3 Ports Ports: 8x USB 3.0 Ports (6 rear, 2 via headers), 1x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Combo Port, 1x Optical S/PDIF Out, 2x RJ45 LAN Port, Audio I/O Jacks
LabelSupermicro
ManufacturerSupermicro
ModelC7X99-OCE-O
MPNC7X99-OCE-O
PublisherSupermicro
StudioSupermicro
TitleSupermicro Motherboard ATX DDR4 3000 C7X99-OCE-O
UPC672042179855
Item Height3 inches
Item Length14 inches
Item Width11 inches
Package Height2.5 inches
Package Length13.3 inches
Package Weight3.15 pounds
Package Width10.3 inches
PackageQuantity1
PartNumberC7X99-OCE-O
ProductGroupPersonal Computer
ProductTypeNameCOMPUTER_COMPONENT
UPCList - UPCListElement672042179855
Item Weight4 pounds
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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