Introduction, Design Features
Intel’s “Broadwell-E” processors (led by a Core i7-6950XCore i7-6900KX99A Xpower Gaming Titanium. Today, we’re kicking a tires on a Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming, that typically retails for about $260 on both Amazon and Newegg. (The MSRP is $279.99.)
All of a new X99 motherboards that we’ve checked out have broadly identical underline sets, including quad-channel memory support, an M.2 interface for ultra-fast SSD storage, and copiousness of energy phases for improved stability. Some of a play have additional facilities for overclocking and gaming—and a integrate underline LED decorations and support for RGB lighting strips.
Interestingly enough, a Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming comes commissioned with all of these facilities during a sincerely low cost indicate (for an X99 board, that is by clarification elite-class hardware). Can we unequivocally have it all with this partially low-priced board? Let’s take a look.
Layouts for X99 motherboards are generally similar, generally when it comes to hardware placement. That’s loyal of heatsinks and shields, too: You can pattern a heatsink over a energy phases during a tip of a motherboard, vast heatsinks over a X99 chipset and a audio codec, and a defense over a I/O panel.
Gigabyte sticks to a book when it comes to a altogether pattern of a X99-Ultra Gaming, yet it spiced things adult with a busload of LEDs. For those who puncture interior box lighting, it’s a dream come true.
The lighting is tough to daydream in a built-out complement so we’ll imitate Gigabyte’s painting above. Our favorite lights are a LED strips between a memory slots. Each frame is as prolonged as a slots, creation a memory lights among a largest on a board. If we use customarily dual memory modules, a 4 slots on a right side of a house will be empty, that means that a lights will be totally manifest from many box windows.
The LEDs between a memory slots will be a tiny reduction manifest if we put modules in all 8 slots, yet a X99-Ultra Gaming has some-more than a dozen other LEDs, including lights on a heatsinks and I/O row shield. They’re splendid adequate to be a customarily lights in your case, yet if we unequivocally wish to get people’s attention, we can supplement a third-party RGB lighting frame to your case, interjection to a header on a motherboard. You have your choice of colors, interjection to a Gigabyte Ambient LED lighting focus for Windows. You can also select from several lighting modes, including Still, Pulse or Beat.
As for a member blueprint on a X99-Ultra Gaming, it’s also identical to what we have seen on other X99 boards. The LGA 2011-v3 CPU hollow is flanked on possibly side by 8 memory slots, for a sum of 4 channels. The motherboard supports speeds over 3,400MHz, that is good news for fervent overclockers. Gigabyte also encloses a memory slots in steel to forestall repairs to a PCB when we press your modules into place.
Gigabyte leaves copiousness of space around a CPU hollow for outlandish heatsinks to reason court, yet a 4 left-side memory slots lay intensely tighten to a I/O row shield. One of a 8GB G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 memory modules, that has a large-ish feverishness spreader, scarcely (but not quite) overwhelmed a shield. Gigabyte also left customarily a tiny opening between a bottom of a memory slots and a greatest of a PCI Express x16 slots, nonetheless this doesn’t strike us as problem.
The bottom tabs on a memory slots aren’t pull tabs, that means we won’t need to try to fist your fingers there when replacing or reseating memory.
The X99 chipset sits underneath a vast heatsink, that facilities some of a board’s many LEDs and extends to cover a behind apportionment of a SATA ports. Four PCI Express slots lay to a left of a chipset. Two of a slots are PCI Express x16 slots, yet one of these will work as an x8 container when an Intel Core i7-5820K or Core i7-6800K processor is installed. All 4 slots are wrapped in metal, so they can bear a weight of today’s high-end graphics cards yet worry of enormous if a complement is changed or knocked.
Gigabyte also uses dual steel thatch built into these slots. They bond to soldered anchors on a motherboard to safeguard a PCI Express slot connectors themselves won’t snap off a PCB. This is a arrange of underline that creates for a peculiarity gaming motherboard. We like a RGB lights as many as anyone else, yet in a end, continuance is essential in a complement that’s firm to be packaged with costly (which mostly also means heavy) components.
Gigabyte designed a X99-Ultra Gaming with multi-card gaming in mind. The house supports 2-way, 3-way, and Quad-SLI setups, or two- three- and quad-card AMD CrossFireX setups. The motherboard builder put copiousness of space between a initial 3 PCI Express slots in an bid to concede for improved airflow. That space also clears room for a PCI Express x1 container and dual M.2 connectors. The M.2 connectors let we insert ultra-fast SSDs such as a new Samsung SSD 960 Pro.
All of a “X99 refresh” play that we’ve seen in new months lift during slightest one M.2 connector, yet Gigabyte goes a additional mile by providing a connector that supports 4 SSD sizes: a renouned 42mm, 60mm and 80mm lengths (a.k.a. Type 2242, 2260, and 2280), as good Type 22110, that is 110mm in length. The other M.2 connector supports customarily Type 2242 (42mm) inclination and is meant for a Wi-Fi M.2 module, according to Gigabyte. The motherboard BIOS battery sits in a new space between a brief M.2 connector and a sole PCI Express x1 slot.
Interestingly, a 42mm M.2 container is Gigabyte’s customarily Wi-Fi “solution” for a X99-Ultra Gaming. The house doesn’t have onboard Wi-Fi, that means you’ll need to bombard out an additional $25 to $45 to bond to your wireless network. We can see because Gigabyte took this add-it-if-you-need-it approach; gaming PCs built by vicious players need all a bandwidth they can get, so they’re customarily connected to network with an Ethernet cable, digest a Wi-Fi irrelevant. Gigabyte skips a underline that could have lifted a cost and that many gamers won’t need. Even so, we consider some gamers will skip a coherence of being means to bond to Wi-Fi (and Bluetooth devices) out of a box. Still, it’s a problem low remedied if we need wireless connectivity.
The X99-Ultra Gaming sports Gigabyte’s Durable Black plain capacitors and anti-sulfur resistors, both of that are designed to make a house final longer. The house also facilities a Turbo B-Clock chip, that gives gamers improved control over a BCLK magnitude when overclocking.
The Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming sports 6 USB 3.0 ports on a I/O panel, along with a USB 3.1 Type-A pier and a USB 3.1 Type-C pier (both Gen 2, regulating an Intel controller for a intensity 10Gbps limit bandwidth per port). These connectors are apropos some-more popular, so we like to see motherboard makers including them—especially on oppulance play like a X99-Ultra Gaming.
The I/O row also has several audio ports, powered by a Realtek ALC1150 codec, as good as dual Gigabit Ethernet ports. We’re a tiny astounded Gigabyte didn’t chuck in a integrate of USB 2.0 ports—most of a play we’ve reviewed newly have 8 USB ports (not including USB 3.1) on a I/O panel. Whether that’s vicious will come down to how many peripherals we use, yet we do get 8 USB ports in sum here, counting a USB Type-C port. The I/O row also has a bequest PS/2 port, accessible for certain keyboards that need it for N-key rollover.
Note: One of a USB 3.0 ports doubles as Gigabyte’s Q-Flash Plus port, that lets we peep a motherboard’s BIOS from a ride expostulate before we implement a processor or memory. Considering that a BIOS refurbish competence have a vicious repair for a board’s memory or CPU compatibility, this could spin out to be a lifesaver.
Gigabyte has particular electrostatic liberate filters for any USB and LAN port, that is a good touch. One of a Gigabit Ethernet jacks leads to an Intel controller, while a other is upheld by a Killer E2400 chip, that can prioritize diversion traffic. The Killer Network Manager app for Windows lets we customize a chip’s priorities and get a demeanour during that programs are hogging bandwidth.
One thing that’s AWOL? The I/O row doesn’t have a Clear CMOS button, that would have been appreciated by overclockers.
The Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming’s inner headers lay along a right and bottom sides of a board. A sum of 5 fan headers (two of that double as H2O cooling siphon headers) are widespread around a board. The 24-pin ATX energy connector sits on a right side of a board, customarily above one of a board’s dual USB 3.0 headers.
A vast smoke-stack of SATA ports lay in dual rows nearby a bottom-right of a board, confronting to a side, that isn’t unusual…
You get a sum of 10 SATA 6Gbps ports, dual of that can be matched with a third connector to make a SATA Express connector. Two U.2 connectors lay subsequent to a SATA pier cluster for drives like a 2.5-inch chronicle of a formidable Intel 750 Series SSD. So prolonged as we implement a CPU with 40 PCI Express lanes, we can bond NVMe-supporting SSDs for significantly faster information send than you’ll get from typical SATA-based SSDs.
The RGB light-strip header sits during a bottom of a board, nearby a left corner. It’s sandwiched between a audio header and a sideways- confronting Molex connector. This area of a house also has dual USB 2.0 headers, dual system-fan headers (one of that supports H2O pumps), and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header.
Gigabyte put a front-panel-connector headers in a bottom-right dilemma and color-coded them. The labels make it easy to insert your power-button and activity/status-LED connectors (you won’t even need to use a manual, many likely), yet Gigabyte took things one step serve with a apart connector accessory, that we plead on a subsequent page
Gigabyte offers an discretionary Thunderbolt label that plugs into a PCI Express x4 slot. If we collect one up, you’ll be means to block a appendage card’s enclosed wire to a dedicated header on a right side of a X99-Ultra Gaming. Unfortunately it looks like Gigabyte customarily now offers a Thunderbolt 2 card, not one that supports a newer Thunderbolt 3.