Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion Motherboard Review

Posted by Heath Coop on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 - 8:00am

Gigabyte X99-SOC Champion

Introduction

Intel's release of the Haswell-E and the corresponding X99 chipset has created quite a buzz. The new design brought many of the features of the previously released Z97 to the Intel Extreme line up. With the new chipset release there has also been another important change, the introduction of DDR4 memory. Gigabyte has been kind enough to send us one of their recently released X99 chipset motherboards, the GA-X99-SOC Champion. The GA-X99-SOC Champion is part of their Overclocking Series and is designed to be a more affordable solution to Gigabyte’s X99-SOC Force.

The GA-X99-SOC Champion supports 4th and 5th Generation Intel Core processors. There is up to 4-way AMD CrossFire and Nvidia SLI support. A precise digital CPU power design helps squeeze out those Mhz from your CPU. A SATA Express offer support for 10 Gb/s data transfers. On the networking side, Intel I218V Gigabit LAN does the duties Realtek ALC1150 115dB SNR HD Audio with Built-in rear audio amplifier supplies your audio needs. A 2x copper PCB design, long lifespan Durable Black Solid caps, and a new heatsink design round out the hardware features.

Gigabyte has not been remiss on the software side either. They have revised their UEFI DualBIOS, which has exclusive GIGABYTE OC features. There is also an application center that allows quite a bit of control over the BIOS, overclocking, and other various features from inside the Windows environment. If that was not enough, Gigabyte has also added a new feature called Cloud Station, which allows that control from a smart phone as well.

Gigabyte's take on the GA-X99-SOC Champion

Support for DDR4 XMP up to 3333MHz and Beyond

DDR4 memory modules are available at a stock frequency of 2133MHz, but memory vendors encode XMP profiles which can automatically modify the frequency and timings of the supported memory modules to work in par with your CPU. With the X99 Champion Series, GIGABYTE is offering a tested and proven platform that ensures proper compatibility with profiles up to 3333MHz, and exclusively 3400Mhz for the X99-SOC Champion.

Genuine All Digital Power Design

GIGABYTE X99 series motherboards use an all digital CPU power design from International Rectifier® which includes both 4th Generation digital PWM Controllers and industry-leading 3rd Generation PowIRstage® controllers. These 100% digital controllers offer incredible precision in delivering power to the motherboard’s most power-hungry and energy-sensitive components, allowing enthusiasts to get the absolute maximum performance from their new Intel® Core™ i7 Extreme Edition CPUs.           

IR Digital PWM & IR PowIRstage® ICs

This new generation of IR® digital power controllers and PowIRstage® ICs feature Isense technology, which provide more precise current sensing accuracy. This helps evenly distribute the thermal loading between the PowerIRstage® ICs, preventing the overheating of each individual PowerIRstage®, resulting in longer lifespan and better reliability.          

Server Level Chokes

GIGABYTE X99 series motherboards feature Server Level Chokes.

• Server level reliability

• High current capacity

• New design reduces heat created by power loss and provides efficient power delivery to CPU VRM area.  

Long Lifespan Durable Black™ Solid Caps

GIGABYTE X99 series motherboards integrate the absolute best quality solid state capacitors that are rated to perform at maximum efficiency for extended periods, even in extreme performance configurations. This provides peace of mind for end users who want to push their system hard, yet demand absolute reliability and stability, with ultra-low ESR no matter how high the CPU loading.

Single Package Design

IR® has leveraged it's world class packaging technology developed for the DirectFET®, improving the thermal capability and layout of the PowIRstage® significantly over that of other MCM packages.

Single Package Design* VS. Multi-Chip Design

Other MOSFET layout implementations use a multi-chip, side-by-side arrangement of the high and low side MOSFETs and driver ICs, taking up significant board real estate and creating more electrical leakage.

Exclusive OC Buttons

The GIGABYTE X99-SOC Champion features a careful selection of some of the most critical OC Buttons found on the X99-SOC Force motherboard. The design philosophy behind these OC Buttons is simple; to help enthusiasts and overclockers not only get the most performance from their hardware, but also the absolute most enjoyable OC experience.

3-Way / 4-Way Graphics with Premium PCIe x16 Lane Up to *320Gb/s Bandwidth

GIGABYTE X99 motherboards feature a unique PCI Express design that utilizes 100% of all 40 lanes from the CPU when in a 4-Way or 3-Way graphics configuration. Standard designs limit all 4 main PCIe lanes to x8 (64Gb/s) bandwidth, but thanks to the onboard external clock generator combined with the direct connection of one of the x16 lanes to the CPU (switchless design), GIGABYTE X99 motherboards can unlock the full bandwidth available and provide the best graphics bandwidth possible to the user.           

Next Generation SATA Express Connector

GIGABYTE X99 series motherboards feature an onboard SATA Express connector which provides performance far superior to that of current SATA technologies. SATA Express features data transfer rates of up to 10Gb/s, considerably higher than SATA Revision 3 (6Gb/s), which won’t bottleneck faster NAND flash technologies in cutting edge SSDs. SATA Express combines the benefits of PCI-Express and SATA to provide much higher bandwidth, allowing SATA Express based drives to perform at similar speeds as PCI-Express based drives.

Turbo M.2 Technology

Fast Onboard Storage

GIGABYTE X99 SOC motherboards feature a Turbo M.2 socket to provide compact connectivity for SSD devices. Thanks to the unique design from the X99 chipset, 4 PCIe (Gen.2) lanes can be allocated to the M.2 socket, unlocking up to 20 Gb/s of bandwidth. Turbo M.2 offers considerably faster storage performance than current mSATA and even SATA Revision 3 (6Gb/s) storage devices.

Gold Plated CPU Socket

GIGABYTE X99 motherboards come equipped with gold plating for the CPU socket, 4 PCIe slots and over the 8 DIMM slots, which means that enthusiasts can enjoy better connectivity, absolute reliability and longevity for the diverse connectors overtime, without having any concerns about corroded pins and bad contacts.

Long Lifespan Durable Black™ Solid Caps

GIGABYTE X99 series motherboards integrate the absolute best quality solid state capacitors that are rated to perform at maximum efficiency for extended periods, even in extreme performance configurations. This provides peace of mind for end users who want to push their system hard, yet demand absolute reliability and stability. With ultra-low ESR no matter how high the CPU loading, these exclusive capacitors also come in customized jet black, exclusively on GIGABYTE X99 series motherboards.

 

That is a long list, but certainly not all of the features. We will explore those later.  Let us take a look at the product specifications and packaging next.

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