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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 11 > GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

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18-11-2014


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GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5 motherboard: review and testing

It is not a secret that the series of processors Intel Haswell-E and motherboards based on the chipset Intel X99 are the solutions for those enthusiasts who want to have the system with peak performance. In this review we will talk about the model produced by GIGABYTE specifically for gamers who prefer PC with several graphics cards, a great sound subsystem, advanced network controller and the highest quality components. According to the parameters GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5 has all the advantages described above, combining them with a number of improvements and proprietary technologies. Let's take a look at equipment of a new product.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

The specs:

Producer

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-X99-Gaming 5 (rev 1.0)

Chipset

Intel X99

CPU socket

Socket LGA2011-v3

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 Extreme of family Intel Haswell-E

Memory frequency

2133 / 2400* / 2666* / 2800* / 3000* MHz

(*OC)

Memory support

8 x DDR4 DIMM- slots with memory support up to 64 GB

Expansion slots

4 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 (CPU)

 

40 lines

28 lines

х16

х16+х16

х16+х16+х8

х16+х8+х8+х8

х16

х16+х8

x16+х8+х4

3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

1 х M.2 (for module of wireless interfaces Wi-Fi and Bluetooth)

CPU socket

Intel X99 chipset supports:

1 х M.2 (M.2 2260, M.2 2280)

8 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express (compatible with 2 x SATA 6 Gb/s)

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Sound subsystem

Codec Creative Sound Core3D

5.1-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

1x24-pin ATX main power connector

1x8-pin ATX12V power connector

1xSocket for additional power PCI Express

Fans

2 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

3 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on chipset o connected by heat pipe with radiator on power elements  

External I/O

2 х PS/2 (mouse and keyboard connection)

1 x LAN (RJ45)

6 x USB 3.0

4 x USB 2.0

5 x audio jacks

1 х optical S/PDIF Out

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

2 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

8 x SATA 6 Gb/s

1 x SATA Express

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS

1 х module TB_HEADER

1 х groups for thermal sensors sockets

1 х audio amplifier switch

BIOS

AMI UEFI BIOS

2 х 128 Мb

PnP 1.0а, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc

6 x SATA cables

1 x bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 x bridge 2-Way AMD CrossFireX

2 x bridge 3-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 x bridge 4-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х splitter ATX12V

1 х interface panel plug

Form factor,

Dimensions

ATX

305 х 244 mm

Producer website

GIGABYTE
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Packaging and content

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5 comes in a deep box made of cardboard and decorated with high-quality color printing. Most of the front side takes the logo of the series GIGABYTE G1 GAMING. The box has a hinged lid, on the reverse side which is an image of a novelty.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

On the reverse side of the box is the image of GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5 and its interface panel, as well as a summary of the main characteristics. Additionally here is a description of the key features and benefits of new product:

  • 4-Way Graphics Support – supports of up to four graphics cards with the distribution lines as follows: x16 / x16 + x16 / x16 + x16 + x8 / x16 + x8 + x8 + x8.
  • IR Digital PWM & IR PowIRstage ICs - power subsystem of processor and memory is based on digital PWM controllers of fourth generation and chips of third-generation manufactured by International Rectifier.
  • Cooper Bussmann Server Level Chokes - all power circuits use chokes Cooper Bussmann with the server level of reliability and reduce heat dissipation.
  • Long Lifespan Solid Capacitors - all power circuits of the motherboard use exclusively Japanese solid capacitors of Series Durable Black.
  • Creative Sound Core 3D – the model is equipped with high quality four-core audio processor of company Creative and a set of proprietary software.
  • Swapable OP-AMP – preset operational amplifier of audio TI OPA2134PA can be easily replaced by any other, which will increasingly meet the musical tastes of the user. It has a special switch Gain Boost, which sets the gain (2.5x or 6x).
  • Nichicon High End Audio Capacitors - the audio subsystem uses special upscale audio capacitors manufactured by Nichicon.
  • Audio Noise Guard with Trace Path Lightning - the area of the PCB with soldered sound system is shielded with a special metal strip with LED-backlit of red color.
  • GIGABYTE Direct Audio Route Design – there is the shortest route between the components of the transmission signal of audio subsystem, thus reducing the possibility of distortion, noise, and improve the quality of sound reproduction.
  • Quad DAC-UP USB Ports - the interface of the new item has wired four special USB 2.0 ports with gold-plated connectors that are designed to connect an external sound card or amplifier. They are powered not by the controller integrated into the chipset USB 2.0, but via a special converter directly from power lines. Therefore, they can provide more stable and less noisy output voltage. In the case of presence of own own power supply the power on the connector can be disabled to improve the quality of signal transmission.
  • Gold Plated Audio Ports - motherboard has installed high-quality gold-plated audio jacks for resistance to interference signal.
  • Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 - network controller has the capability to automatically allocate a game traffic and raise its priority in relation to the low-level system, providing low latency during transfer game data.
  • Dual M.2 - novelty is equipped with two interfaces M.2. The first is used for the installation of drives (carrying capacity up to 10 Gb/s), while the second is designed for wireless interfaces (sold separately).
  • All New Heat Sink Design - design of cooling system radiators has been improved to provide a spectacular appearance and efficient operation.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

In the box with the test model, in addition to the disk with the software and plug of the interface board, we found six SATA cables, splitter ATX12V, Bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI, Bridge 2-Way AMD CrossFireX, two bridges 3-Way NVIDIA SLI and bridge 4-Way NVIDIA SLI.

Design and features  

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Model GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5 is made on the matte black PCB of format ATX (305 x 244 mm). In general the design of product has made a very good impression, not least thanks to the stylish design of the cooling system radiators in the spirit of the series GIGABYTE G1 GAMING, which adds the recognition to appearance of motherboard.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Traditionally, we note some interesting moments for fans of modding. So, plug of the interface board is equipped with a backlight for more comfortable connecting of peripherals. In turn, the radiator for cooling the chipset and the strip that separates the area of the PCB and the sound system also has red LED-backlit.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Using the supplied utility GIGABYTE Ambient LED, the user can select the backlight of audio codec and disable lighting of interface panel.

With respect to on-board layout elements, in general it is quite competent: DIMM-slots have latches only on one side, and SATA ports are arranged parallel to the surface of the board. Other ports and connectors are also easily accessible.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

The reverse side of the PCB is notable by the presence of the standard base plate of CPU socket and screw fastening of the radiator.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, two of three sockets for system fans, front panel module (with color separation), CMOS, as well as socket of additional power PCIe. Note three modules for activation of USB ports: two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0. Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: four are internal and four on the interface panel. Here are two internal and two external USB 3.0 ports. As for additional four USB 3.0 ports on the interface panel, they are operated due to controller Renesas D720210.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

The possibilities of organize a disk subsystem are presented by socket M.2 with carrying capacity up to 10 Gb/s (support of SSD-drives of format M.2 2242, 2260 and 2280), eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports and one SSTA Express which is compatible with two SATA 6 Gb/s. There is a support of arrays SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10. Due to the lack of free chipset lines the simultaneous use of SATA Express and M.2 is impossible. Also note the additional interface M.2, which is intended for the optional wireless interfaces Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

The system board GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5 has eight DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR4 standard which are equipped with clamps only on one side. RAM can operate in four-channel mode. To implement the multi channel modes the plates should be installed according one of the following schemes.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Modules operating at frequencies from 2133 MHz in the nominal mode and up to 3000 MHz in overclocking mode are supported. Maximum memory capacity can reach 64 GB, which is sufficient for almost all tasks.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Cooling system of the product includes two aluminum radiators, connected by heat pipe. The first is installed directly on chipset Intel X99, while the second covers the power elements. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 35.3°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 45.4°C.

The obtained results clearly indicate the good performance of the installed cooling system, indicating about the correct selection of materials and design of radiators. 

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Processor power supply is performed via 6-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller IR3580. The circuitry is made by high quality components such as: black solid capacitors Durable Black, chips of Company International Rectifier with design Single Package as well as energy efficient chokes Cooper Bussmann. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding. Also here you can find additional PCI Express socket. It will be useful for building of strong graphics subsystem made of several graphics cards.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Special attention is given the previously mentioned complete splitter ATX12V, which is connected to the 8-pin power connector and allows you to power the three additional 8-pin power cables ATX12V. According to official recommendations, its use is desirable to provide sufficient power during extreme overclocking.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

To extend the functionality of GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5 user has seven slots:

  1. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х16 or х8);
  2. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  3. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х8);
  4. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  5. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х16);
  6. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  7. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode х8).

The new product offers wide opportunities for the organization of the graphics subsystem. They are available in four ports PCI Express 3.0 x16, which are connected to the processor and share 40 or 28 lines PCI Express. Depending on the model of installed processor and the number of cards, the lines allocated according to one of the following schemes:

 

40 PCI Express 3.0 lines

28 PCI Express 3.0 lines

Single GPU

x16

x16

2-Way NVIDIA SLI / AMD CrossFireX

x16+x16

x16+x8

3-Way NVIDIA SLI / AMD CrossFireX

x16+x16+x8

x16+x8+x4

4-Way NVIDIA SLI / AMD CrossFireX

x16+x8+x8+x8

-

Separately we note that the layout of expansion slots allow you to easily install four dual-slot video cards or two three-slots. In this second case you will have another free slot PCI Express 2.0 x1.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

The operation of four of the six USB 3.0 ports on the interface panel is provided by hub Renesas D720210.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Branded feature GIGABYTE Q-Flash Plus, which allows you to update the BIOS firmware from the flash drive, operates through the controller ITE IT8951E.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Multi I/O capabilities are based on ITE IT8620E chip which controls the operation of the system fans, PS/2 ports, as well as provides the monitors.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

To support network connections there is GB LAN-controller Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201. It has software and hardware advantages to increase the speed of gaming traffic processing. 

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

The audio subsystem is based on the HDA-codec 5.1-channel codec Creative Sound Core3D. It includes special audio capacitors Bi-Polarized of the company Nichicon and preset amplifier Texas Instruments OPA2134PA. According to the characteristic of the manufacturer, it has a neutral color and sound for all genres of music. There is also the possibility of its easy replacement to another one, which has a narrow focus on a specific genre of music. In addition we note the presence of a protective housing to shield gilded audio codec, the use of gold-plated audio connectors on the interface panel, and the ability to control power audio signal using the on-board switch (gain 2.5 and 6 times).

Special attention is given to software Creative Sound Blaster SBX Pro Studio used for fine-tuning the sound quality to the desired level.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

  • 2 x PS / 2 (for connecting a mouse and keyboard);
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 6 x USB 3.0;
  • 4 x USB 2.0;
  • 5 x audio ports;
  • 1 x Optical S / PDIF Out.

Interface Panel has ten USB ports and a convenient connection of multichannel speakers. Additionally we note the function of the BIOS firmware update from a flash drive, as well as connectors for mounting antennas Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5

The possibility of organizing the cooling system inside the case GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming 5 is very good. There are five 4-pin fan connectors, two of which are used for the cooling system of CPU, while the other five are for system fans.


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