The new X99 motherboards from Gigabyte all share a same look. Gigabyte’s new X99 flagship, the GA-X99-Designare EX, uses a white plastic cover and uses a black PCB with blue highlights.
The first X99 board, the GA-X99-Designare EX, launches the Designare label to the Gigabyte family. It is 1 of the 2 new Ultra-Durable series boards and features AMP-UP Audio and two of the new on-board U.2 slots, located just north of the SATAe ports. This is the only motherboard in the release to feature two U.2 ports. There is an interesting lack of any visual sign of an M.2 slot, but there may be one under the shroud. and the presence of the second U.2 connector may be the reason there isn’t a noticeable M.2 slot. The X99-Designare EX has 5 full-length PCIe slots. The first, second, and fourth slots are x16, the third slot is x4, and fifth is x8. For aesthetics, Gigabyte enhanced a considerable amount of white shrouding and, like its Z170 Designare counterpart, the board has blue highlights.
The GA-X99-Designare EX packs all the usual X99 trappings, but also goes a few steps further. Gigabyte contour this mobo with a 110-mm M.2 slot and two U.2 ports.. An Intel USB 3.1 controller is present, offering Type-A and Type-C ports, each with 2 dedicated PCIe lanes. Those ports also support the Power Delivery 2.0 spec, that can push a total of 36W of juice.
The X99-Designare EX features five PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots, from which 3 can function at x16 speed and two U.2 ports. GIGABYTE is probably betting on NVMe SSDs with U.2 connectors heavily.