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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 09 > GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

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18-09-2014


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Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI based on Intel X99: review and testing

End of summer 2014 was marked by the release of the new platform Socket LGA2011-v3, oriented for enthusiasts. It is logical that together with the new family Intel Haswell-E, was present an updated chipset Intel X99, which has replaced Intel X79 Express. As the basic features of the new processors can be found in the review Intel Core i7-5930K, we move on to a closer look at the chipset.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

Intel X79 Express

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

Intel X99

Chipset Intel X99 is the logical and expected update that finally brought the support of the latest technologies used in the mass segment.

For example, the disk subsystem, previously limited by four SATA 3Gb/s and two SATA 6 Gb/s, can now be organized with the help of ten SATA 6 Gb/s. Another step in pursuit of modern requirements was to support of six USB 3.0 ports, the implementation of which used third-party controllers.

As for the organization of the graphics subsystem, the controller of bus PCI Express is still integrated into the processor and provides a maximum of 40 lines in the versions of Intel Core i7-5960X and Intel Core i7-5930K, and 28 lines in the model Intel Core I7 5820K. However, instead of the standard PCI Express 2.0 there is an integrated support of PCI Express 3.0. And the schemes of their possible use were changed in favor of more efficient configuration of Multi-GPU.

Additionally, let us recall about newly introduced support of RAM of standard DDR4 with a nominal frequency up to 2133 MHz, the controller is also integrated into the processor.

As a result we offer to look at detailed comparison between the above-mentioned platforms:

Chipset

Intel X99

Intel X79 Express

Intel Z97

CPU socket

Socket LGA2011-v3

Socket LGA2011

Socket LGA1150

Memory type

DDR4-2133

DDR3-1866

DDR3-1600

Number of memory channel

4

4

2

Number of USB 2.0/3.0 ports

8/6

14/0

8/6

Number of SATA 3 Gb/s ports

Нет

4

Нет

Number of SATA 6 Gb/s ports

10

2

6

М.2

Officially Unknown

No

PCIe Gen2

SATA Express

 Officially Unknown

No

Yes

Thunderbolt

Yes

No

Yes

Number of PCI Express lines (standard)

40 (PCI Express 3.0)*

40 (PCI Express 2.0)

16 (PCI Express 3.0)

Distribution schemes

x16

x16+x16

x16+x16+x8

x16+x8+x8+x8

x8+x8+x8+x8+x8

x16

x16+x16

x16+x16+x8

x16+x8+x8+x8

x16+x8+x8+x4+x4

x16

x8+x8

x8+x4+x4

 

* In case of the installed processor Intel Core I7 5820K, the number of lines PCI Express 3.0 is limited to 28.

As a result, we see that the new platform can be considered as the modern solution. It does not restrict the enthusiasts to use all of the currently available technologies and introduces support of the new RAM standard.

And now we offer go directly to the review of the motherboard GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI, on the example of which we can more clearly learn the capabilities of the new chipset.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

The specs:

Producer

GIGABYTE

Model

GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI (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 the 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

х16+х8+х4

3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

1 x M.2 (M2_WIFI)

Disk subsystem

Intel X99 chipset supports:

1 х M.2 (M.2 2242, M.2 2260, M.2 2280)

8 x SATA 6 Gb/s

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

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

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

1 x Intel WGI218V (10/100/1000 Мb/s)

Wi-Fi

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (2,4 / 5 GHz, up to 867 Мb/s)

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 4.0, 3.0 + HS, 2.1 + EDR

Sound subsystem

Кодек Creative Sound Core3D

5.1-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

24-pin ATX main power connector

8-pin ATX12V power connector

Socket for additional power PCI Express

Fans

2 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

3 x system fan connectors (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on the elements of processor power subsystem connected by heat pipe with two additional radiators and radiator on chipset

External I/O

1 х PS/2 (for mouse and keyboard connection)

2 x LAN (RJ45)

8 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

5 x audio jacks

1 х optical S/PDIF Out

2 х socket for combines antenna Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

1 x button «Clear CMOS»

1 x button «Fast Boot»

1 x button «CPU overclocking»

Internal I/O

2 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 х M.2

1 x M.2 with installed module of wireless interfaces

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 х «Power» button

1 х «Reboot» button

1 х «Clear CMOS» button

1 х «Direct to BIOS» button

1 x diagnostic LED-indicator

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS reset

1 х module Thunderbolt

2 х switches BIOS

1 х audio amplifier switch

8 х point  to measure voltage on the key elements

BIOS

AMI UEFI BIOS

2 x 128 Мb

PnP 1.0a, 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

2 x bridge 3-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 x bridge 4-Way NVIDIA SLI

1 х bridge 2-Way AMD CrossFireX

1 х combined antenna Wi-Fi и Bluetooth

1 х splitter ATX12V

1 х interface panel plug

Form factor,

Dimensions

E-ATX

305 х 259 mm

Producer website

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

Packaging and content

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI is shipped in a rather large box made of high-quality cardboard. Most of the front side is taken by the logo of the series GIGABYTE G1.GAMING. The box has a handle for easy transportation and a flip cover.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

On the reverse side is a schematic diagram of the motherboard, its interface board, and a description of the key benefits of new product:

  • 4-Way Graphics Support - supports up to four graphics cards with the distribution of lines according the following schemes: х16 / х16+х16 / х16+х16+х8 / х16+х8+х8+х8.
  • 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 & Server Level Solid Capacitors - all power circuits of the motherboard use exclusively Japanese solid capacitors of series Durable Black with extended life, as well as chokes Cooper Bussmann with the server level of reliability and reduced heat dissipation.
  • Creative Sound Core 3D - model is equipped with a high-quality quad audio processor manufactured by Creative, as well as a set of proprietary.
  • Swapable OP-AMP with Gain Boost – preset operation amplifier of audio TI Burr Brown OPA2134 can be easily replaced by any other, which will increasingly meet the musical tastes of the user.
  • Nichicon High-End Audio Capacitors - the audio subsystem uses special audio capacitors of high-end manufacturing company 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.
  • Gold Plated Audio Ports - the motherboard has high-quality gold-plated audio jacks resistant to interference signal.
  • Dual DAC-UP USB Ports - the interface panel has two special USB 2.0 ports, gold-plated connectors, which are used to connect external sound card or amplifier. They are powered not by the USB 2.0 controller integrated into the chipset, but through a special converter directly from power lines. Therefore they provide a more stable and less noisy output voltage.
  • Independent Audio Channel PCB Layer - left and right audio channels are implemented at different layers of the printed circuit board to reduce their interpenetration and to improve overall sound quality.
  • Killer E2200 Gaming Platform / Intel GbE LAN - the motherboard has two network controllers: one from the company Intel, as the second from Qualcomm. The last has the ability automatically allocate a game traffic and raise its priority with respect to the low-level system traffic, providing low latency in online games.
  • Dual Band 802.11as WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 – set of delivery includes a wireless interface module Bluetooth 4.0 and IEEE 802.11ac, which operates on two frequency bands (2.4/5 GHz) and is capable of transmitting data at a maximum speed up to 867 Mbit/s .
  • All New Heat Sink Design - construction and design of cooling system radiators was improved to ensure a spectacular appearance and efficient operation.
  • LED Lit IO Shield & Heat Sink – plug of the interface board and the chipset heat sink equipped with LED-backlit display.
  • OC PEG - the novelty has a connector for additional power supply of PCI Express x16 slots, which will be relevant in the case of installing multiple high-end graphics accelerators.  
  • OC DualBIOS with switch & indicator – support of the technology GIGABYTE DualBIOS, which is supplemented by two switches (the choice between the two chips, and on/off the function GIGABYTE DualBIOS) and LED-indicator.
  • Quick Buttons & Debug Display - PCB has “power ”, “reboot” and "Reset CMOS» buttons, as well as diagnostic LED-indicator for quick and efficient identification of faults.
  • Gold Plated CPU Socket - the socket contacts are covered with a 30-micron layer of gold.
  • SATA Express - SATA Express interface supports data transfer rates up to 10 Gbit/s.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

Set of delivery includes the following items:

  • user's guide
  • warranty brochure;
  • CD with drivers and utilities;
  • six SATA cables;
  • bridge 2-Way NVIDIA SLI;
  • two bridges 3-Way NVIDIA SLI;
  • bridge 4-Way NVIDIA SLI;
  • bridge 2-Way AMD CrossFireX;
  • combined antenna Wi-Fi and Bluetooth;
  • splitter ATX12V;
  • interface board plug.

Design and features  

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

The motherboard is made on a black PCB of size E-ATX, which differs from the usual ATX by increased width. In general, the motherboard looks excellent due to favorable combination of dark shades with red inserts on the radiators.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

A special mention is given to care about amateur of modding. So, plug the interface board, the radiator for cooling of the chipset and the strip separating the area of the printed circuit board with a sound system have red LED-backlit.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

And using the supplied utility Ambient LED, the user can select the mode of illumination of audio codec and disable lighting of interface panel.

Talking about the layout of on-board components, it is worth to note that in general it is quite competent: DIMM-slots are equipped with latches on one side only, and the SATA ports are located parallel to the surface of the board.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

The only aspect that stands out is too close proximity of left DIMM-slots and one of the radiators, which can cause compatibility problems with memory modules equipped with overall heat spreaders. For example, our test modules Corsair Vengeance LPX equipped with not the largest cooling could be installed in this slot only at an angle that is worth considering before purchasing.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

The reverse side of the PCB can boast of the presence of base plate of CPU socket and mounting screws of cooling system radiators. As well as small low-profile plate this is used as radiator on the elements of CPU poser subsystem that did not have enough space on the front side.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in socket, three sockets for system fans, front panel module (with color separation) and module to realize Thunderbolt interface. Additionally there are two modules to activate USB 2.0 ports and two for USB 3.0.  Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is six: four are internal and two on the interface panel. As for USB 3.0, the novelty can boast of support of twelve interfaces: four inside and eight on the interface panel. Four internal ports are implemented by the chipset, while eight external via two hubs Renesas D720210, transforming the two remaining chipset USB 3.0 interfaces into eight respective ports.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

The possibilities of organize a disk subsystem are presented by socket M.2 (support of SSD-drives of format M.2 2242, 2260 and 2280), eight eight SATA 6 GB/s ports and one SSTA Express which is compatible with two SATA 5 Gb/s. There is a support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10. It is interesting that the company GIGABYTE points to use of chip Intel X99 for the implementation of all identified interfaces of disk subsystem, although Intel during the presentation of the new platform did not even mention about the implementation of M.2 and SATA Express.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

The situation is clarified with the help of block diagram of the motherboard GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI. As you can see, eight SATA 6 Gb/s are derived directly from the chipset, but for the other two there is a special switch that allows you to choose either them or interface M.2, or SATA Express. Unfortunately, Intel has not provided such a detailed block diagram for the chip Intel X99, so we cannot definitely say that this switch is the only initiative of engineers GIGABYTE.

Also, this scheme visualizes certain restrictions on the simultaneous use of voiced above ports. In particular, the user can use either SATA Express, or M.2 (NGFF), or two SATA 6 Gb/s (in the scheme SATA3 4/5), due to a lack of free chipset lines.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

The system board has eight DIMM-slots for memory modules of DDR3 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 G1 WIFI

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 G1 WIFI

Separately, select the top right corner of the PCB. Here is a set of interesting control elements that will be particularly useful in the case of use the new item as the basis for open benches or during overclocking experiments. Here are: the button "Power", "Restart», «Clear CMOS» and «Direct to BIOS»; diagnostic LED-indicator, as well as point to measure the voltage on the key components of the system with a multimeter. There is also a switch between the two chips with firmware BIOS, and the switch responsible for the activation or deactivation of mode «GIGABYTE DualBIOS».

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

Cooling system of the product includes four aluminum radiators. Two of them are connected by heat pipes and covered by nickel layer. As you can see, only two of them are in direct contact with the chipset and the power supply elements, while the other radiators play the role of auxiliary members. In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 38,4°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 37,5°C.

Taking into account the excellent results of radiators on the power subsystem, as well as the fact that the temperature of the heatsink chipset depends on the circuit-switch, the results can be described as good.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

Processor power supply is performed via 8-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller IR 3580. 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 next to 24-pin power socket. It will be useful for building of strong graphics subsystem made of several graphics cards.

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 G1 WIFI

To extend the functionality of GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI 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).

As you can see, the new product offers excellent opportunities for the organization of the graphics subsystem as you can install up to 4 graphics cards in mode AMD CrossFireX and NVIDIA SLI. In this case, the line will be distributed by one of the schemes: х16 / х16 + х16 / х16 + х16 + х8 / х16 + х8 + х8 + х8.

Separately note that the layout of the connectors will allow you to easily install 4 double-slot or 2 three-slot graphics adapters. In the second case your will have another free slot PCI Express 2.0 x1.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

Operation of eight USB 3.0 ports on the interface panel is provided with two hubs Renesas D720210.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

Proprietary function GIGABYTE Q-Flash Plus, which allows you to update the BIOS firmware from the flash drive, is functioned thanks to the controller ITE IT8951E.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

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 G1 WIFI

To support network connections there are two GB LAN-controllers: Intel WGI218V и Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201. The last has the set of hardware and software advantages to speed up the processing of gaming network traffic.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

The audio subsystem is based on the HDA-codec 5.1-channel sound Creative Sound Core3D. It is necessary to give the GIGABYTE engineers their due, because in this case we are not talking about "preset codec", but about thoughtful design of the entire sound subsystem, each element of which is focused on achieving maximum efficiency. It includes special audio capacitors Bi-Polarized from the company Nichicon and preset amplifier Texas Instruments OPA2134. According to the manufacturers' specifications, it has a neutral sound and is suitable for all genres of music. Also there is the possibility of easy replacement to another one which has a more narrow focus on a particular genre of music. Additionally note the presence of the protective gold-plated housing for shielding the audio codec, using gold-plated audio connectors on the interface panel and the ability to control sound power with two on-board switches (gain 2.5 and 6 times).  

Special attention is given to software Sound Blaster SBX Pro Studio to set sound quality to the desired level.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

Interface panel of the model contains the following ports:

  • 2 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 8 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 x PS / 2 (mouse or keyboard);
  • 2 x connectors for a combined antenna Wi-Fi and Bluetooth;
  • 1 x button «Clear CMOS»;
  • 1 x button «Fast Boot»;
  • 1 x button «CPU overclocking»;
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF out;
  • 5 x audio ports.

This arrangement can be considered as very successful as it has not only the support of wireless standards Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.0, but also a convenient connection of multi-channel speakers, a large number of USB 3.0 ports, as well as two network connectors. Note a number of control elements, two special USB 2.0 ports, which are used to connect external sound card through the implementation of technology USB DAC-UP, and one white USB 3.0 which is used to update the BIOS firmware using technology GIGABYTE Q-Flash Plus.

GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI

The possibility of organizing the cooling system inside the case GIGABYTE GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI is very good. There are seven 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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