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GIGABYTE Champion X99-Gaming 5P Motherboard Review

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It’s been seven months since the Haswell-E X99 platform was released to the masses, but their appears to be no end in sight as far as new motherboard options hitting the market. Case in point is GIGABYTE’s recent announcement of four new X99 Champion series motherboards to add to their already impressive X99 family. GIGABYTE was kind enough to send along one of their new Champion series motherboards for us to have a look at. The X99-Gaming 5P is on tap today and is obviously aimed squarely at the enthusiast gaming market. Don’t be fooled by the “Gaming” title though because this motherboard seems well-equipped to handle overclocking, or just about anything else you can throw at it. So, let’s get started and find out if the X99-Gaming 5P is really a champion.

Specifications and Features

One of the new features added to the Champion series motherboards is its ability to support XMP profles up to DDR4-3333 MHz, which is good to have as we begin to see higher speed DDR4 memory hit the market. In lieu of the standard Realtek audio CODEC found on most motherboards in this class, GIGABYTE opted for a Creative solution that we’ll explore in more detail later. The board is also decked out with the Killer E2201 LAN controller, which seems to be popular among the gaming crowd. Two M.2 ports are found on the motherboard – one socket 3 for adding a SSD, and one socket 1 that can be used to add a Wi-Fi module. Worth noting here is the E-ATX form factor, which means you’ll need to confirm you’re case will accept a motherboard that size. The specifications below are provided by the GIGABYTE product page.

GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P Specifications
CPU
  • Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors in the LGA2011-3 package
  • L3 cache varies with CPU
Chipset
  • Intel® X99 Express Chipset
Memory
  • 8 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 64 GB of system memory
    * Due to a Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than the size of the physical memory installed.
  • 4 channel memory architecture
  • Support for DDR4 3333(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz memory modules
  • Support for non-ECC memory modules
  • Support for Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) memory modules
  • Support for RDIMM 1Rx8/2Rx8/1Rx4/2Rx4 memory modules (operates in non-ECC mode)
Audio
  • Creative® Sound Core 3D chip
  • Support for Sound Blaster Recon3Di
  • TI Burr Brown® OPA2134 operational amplifier
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/5.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  • Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2201 LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIE_1/PCIE_2)
  • 2 x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIE_3/PCIE_4)
  • 3 x PCI Express x1 slots
  • 1 x M.2 Socket 1 connector for the wireless communication module (M2_WIFI)
Multi-GPU
  • Support for 4-Way/3-Way/2-Way AMD CrossFire™/NVIDIA® SLI™ technology
Storage Chipset:

  • 1 x M.2 PCIe connector
    (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe x2/x1 SSD support)
  • 1 x SATA Express connector
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (SATA3 0~5)
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 10

Chipset:

  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (sSATA3 0~3), supporting IDE and AHCI modes only
USB Chipset:

  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
  • 8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)

Chipset + Renesas®uPD720210 USB 3.0 Hub:

  • 4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports on the back panel
Internal I/O
  • 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connectorŠ
  • 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
  • 1 x PCIe power connector
  • 1 x I/O shield audio LED power connector
  • 1 x heatsink LED power connector
  • 1 x M.2 Socket 3 connector
  • 1 x SATA Express connector
  • 10 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1 x CPU fan header
  • 1 x water cooling fan header (CPU_OPT)
  • 3 x system fan headers
  • 1 x front panel header
  • 1 x front panel audio header
  • 1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
  • 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1 x Thunderbolt add-in card connectorŠ
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper
  • 1 x CPU mode switch
  • 1 x audio gain control switch
Back Panel Connectors
  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
  • 1 x PS/2 mouse port
  • 6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 1 x RJ-45 port
  • 5 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In/Mic In, Line Out, Headphone)
  • 2 x Wi-Fi antenna connector holes
I/O Controller
  • iTE® I/O Controller Chip
H/W Monitoring
  • System voltage detection
  • CPU/System/Chipset temperature detection
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed detection
  • CPU/System/Chipset overheating warning
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan fail warning
  • CPU/CPU OPT/System fan speed control
BIOS
  • 2 x 128 Mbit flash
  • Use of licensed AMI UEFI BIOS
  • Support for DualBIOS™
  • Support for Q-Flash Plus
  • PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0
Unique Features
  • Support for APP Center
    * Available applications in APP Center may differ by motherboard model. Supported functions of each application may also differ depending on motherboard specifications.
    @BIOS
    Ambient LED
    EasyTune
    EZ Setup
    Fast Boot
    Game Controller
    Cloud Station
    ON/OFF Charge
    Smart TimeLock
    Smart Recovery 2
    System Information Viewer
    USB Blocker
    V-Tuner
  • Support for Q-Flash
  • Support for Smart Switch
  • Support for Xpress Install
OS Support
  • Support for Windows 8.1/8/7
Form Factor
  • E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 26.4cm
Warranty
  • 3-Year

Moving on to the high-level features, you’ll see the X99-Gaming 5P has a lot to offer the overclocking and gaming enthusiast. As mentioned above, the Champion series motherboards offer increased XMP profile support up to 3333 MHz. All images and descriptions courtesy GIGABYTE.

Support for DDR4 XMP up to 3333MHz
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.

What is XMP?
The synchronization of the memory modules with the CPU is crucial for good performance of your system. DDR4 memory modules are available at a stock frequency of 2133MHz, but as frequency tweaking requires a considerable amount of effort and knowledge, memory vendors encode XMP profiles which can automatically modify the timings of the supported memory modules to work with your CPU and to achieve increased performance.

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GIGABYTE has gone all-in with International Rectifier (IR) to provide their all digital CPU power design. GIGABYTE states the IR PWM controllers and PowIRstage controllers will deliver precise power delivery to achieve maximum performance from your CPU. Server level chokes and black 10K capacitors are used to ensure reliability, efficient power delivery, and a long lifespan. The single package DirectFET MOSFET design incorporates the high and low side MOSFETs along with the MOSFET driver all in one IC.

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.

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Music to a gamer’s ear is GIGABYTE’s PCI-E design that uses all 40 lanes from a compatible CPU when 3-way or 4-way graphics are in play. GIGABYTE uses an onbaord external clock generator and direct connection of a x16 lane to the CPU to provide up to 320 GB/s bandwidth compared to a standard design of 256 GB/s.

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.

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We talked earlier about the dual M.2 slots found on the motherboard. The two slots are intended for a M.2 SSD and a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module. The socket 3 port will support either SATA 6 GB/s or PCI-E M.2 SSDs. SATA Express is also available even though the availability of supporting devices have been extremely slow to hit the market, which casts a cloud over the viability of the interface in general.

Dual M.2 Technology for SSD Drive and WIFI CardFast Data Transfer and Advanced WIFI Networking
GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P motherboard featuring Dual M.2 technology provides users PCI-Express connectivity for SSD devices and for 11AC WIFI + Bluetooth 4.0 card. Delivering up to 10 Gb/s data transfer speeds, M.2 offers considerably faster storage performance than current mSATA and even SATA Revision 3 (6Gb/s) storage devices. GIGABYTE’s stacked design optimizes the PCB real-estate usage, allowing more components to be efficiently added without compromising any space.
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.

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It’s become common place on most high-end motherboards nowadays to see an onboard audio solution that’s been beefed up. GIGABYTE is no different in this regard with their AMP-UP Audio Technology. An upgradable OP-AMP, gold plated audio hacks, high quality audio capacitors, EMI shielding, and board separation are just a few of the many audio features designed into the X99-Gaming 5P. Below is the complete list of features the AMP-UP audio solution offers.

GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio™ Technology
GIGABYTE G1™ Gaming motherboards are equipped with the GIGABYTE exclusive AMP-UP Audio Technology, which provides the industry’s highest level of onboard audio features and technologies. With GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio, gamers and audiophiles are able to experience crisp, ultra realistic sound effects while gaming, and the richest possible sound experience when listening to their favorite music and movies.
GIGABYTE Direct Audio Route Design
The shortest route is always the best for audio signals. The GIGABYTE X99 G1™ Gaming motherboards feature the shortest audio communication paths between each critical component, from chipset to audio jack. This reduces the crosstalk along the way, and the very close proximity of the AMP to the audio jack directly results in lower noise disturbance. With this high quality audio design, GIGABYTE G1™ Gaming motherboards are able to bring users better signal quality for the absolute best audio experience.
Independent Right and Left Audio Channel PCB Layers
Locating the right and left audio channels on separate PCB layers, GIGABYTE X99 series motherboards are able to eliminate channel crosstalk and maintain the best audio quality.
Creative® Sound Core3D™ Quad-Core Audio Processor
Combining world’s first Quad-Core Creative Sound Core3D Audio Processor Plus Advanced Creative SBX PROSTUDIO Audio Suite.
+ Harnessing the power of a Dedicated Audio Processor to offload workload from CPU
+ Total solution from Creative (Hardware +Software)
+ Richer overall audio experience
Creative SBX Pro Studio Audio Suite
SBX Pro Studio™ suite of audio playback technologies deliver a new level of audio immersion. Realistic surround sound, the ability to clearly hear specific sounds in a gaming environment are just a few elements of SBX Pro Studio that enhances the overall experience, be it movies, games or music.
GIGABYTE Exclusive : Upgradable OP-AMP
Customizable

+ Users can choose audio quality based on individual listening preferences.
+ Wide availability of additional OP-AMPs.
Low Cost way to dramatically improve audio quality
+ Improve audio dynamics and overall sound-quality with little cost.
+ No need for expensive speakers or high-end audio equipment.
Exclusive onboard ‘Gain Boost’ selector switches
+ Select either standard 2.5x or high-amplification 6x mode.
+ 6x mode is ideal for high impedance speakers and headphones
High End Audio Capacitors
GIGABYTE X99 Gaming motherboard uses the highest quality Nichicon high end audio capacitors. These professional audio capacitors deliver the highest quality sound resolution and sound expansion to create the most realistic sound effects for professional gamers.
Gold Plated Audio Hardware
GIGABYTE G1™ Gaming motherboards pack top quality gold plated audio connectors for improved connectivity and long lasting durability. Gold has superb signal conductivity and will not tarnish over extended periods of use. The Creative Sound Core3D™ processor is also shielded by a gold plated cover which eliminates electrostatic interference.
Quad DAC-UP USB Ports
Featuring Quad USB 2.0 ports, GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP provides clean, noise-free power delivery to your Digital-to-Analog Converter. DACs can be sensitive to fluctuations in power from the other USB ports, which is why GIGABYTE USB DAC-UP takes advantage of an isolated power source that minimizes potential fluctuations and ensures the best audio experience possible.
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Advertised as one of the best gaming network solutions, the Atheros Killer E2200 LAN controller has the ability to identify and prioritize network traffic.

Killer Networking
NO LAG, JUST FRAG!
Select GIGABYTE X99 series motherboards feature the Killer™ E2200 from Qualcomm Atheros, a high-performance, adaptive gigabit Ethernet controller that offers better online gaming and online media performance compared to standard solutions. The Killer™ E2200 features Advanced Stream Detect technology, which identifies and prioritizes all network traffic to ensure important applications that require high-speed connectivity are prioritized over less important traffic.
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For a little extra bling, GIGABYTE added graphics and lighting to the heatsinks, LED lighting to the underside of the board near the audio components, and another set of LEDs at the I/O area.

All New Heat Sink with LED Design
GIGABYTE X99 series motherboards feature new heat sink designs that offer uncompromisingly efficient cooling on key areas of the motherboard including the PWM area and chipset (PCH). GIGABYTE X99 Series motherboards offer cooling support of the crucial PWM area so even the most aggressive and extreme configurations will be kept well within optimal thermal parameters.
Ambient LED
GIGABYTE X99 motherboards feature LED lighting for the audio guard light path and the back panel LED, providing a cool, custom look to your rig. These lights are now programmable, so you can have them beat to the rhythm of the music you are listening to, or pulse at a soothing pace to create a great atmosphere to enhance the environment of your game, movie or music.
Ambient LED Modes:
• Still Mode – LEDs stay continuously lit.
• Beat Mode – LEDs will blink to the beat of the music played through the audio jack.
• Pulse Mode – LEDs will blink slowly.
• Off – LEDs will be tuned off.
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While it’s not uncommon for motherboard manufacturers to use gold plated CPU socket pins, GIGABYTE takes it a step further and applies gold plating to the DIMM slots and PCI-E slots as well.

Gold Plating 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.

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To prevent accidental damage while mounting the motherboard in a case, GIGABYTE makes sure no circuitry is too close to the mounting holes.

Safer Design Around Screw Mounting Holes
Don’t worry anymore about accidental damage while mounting your motherboard to you chassis. GIGABYTE X99 motherboards all feature a wider copper ground pad and onboard components free area around the PCB screw mounting holes. This exclusive design reduces the chances of damaging any surrounding onboard components during the PC assembly process. Bigger copper ground pads also provide the added benefit of lower EMI disturbance for reduced noise interference across your system.

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GIGABYTE has been using their 2X Copper PCB design for quite a while now. In theory, the feature should offer better cooling and allow the trace paths to handle higher power loads.

2x Copper PCB Design(2 oz Copper PCB)
GIGABYTE’s exclusive 2X Copper PCBs design provides sufficient power trace paths between components to handle greater than normal power loads and to remove heat from the critical CPU power delivery area. This is essential to ensure the motherboard is able to handle the increased power loading that is necessary when overclocking.

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Packaging/Accessories/First Look

The retail box is a mostly red and black affair that’s attractive, informative, and provides a secure surrounding for the contents. The front has the model and the familiar GIGABYTE eye we see on a lot of their packaging. The G1 Gaming insignia tells us the X99-Gaming 5P is not only part of the new Champion family, but carries dual citizenship as part of the G1 Gaming motherboard family too. Around back, we find a plethora of information on the motherboard’s features and specifications. Three of the four box sides are pretty much identical, but one side has a multilingual basic feature list.

The box front has a flap that can be raised, which gives you a peek at the motherboard through a plastic window. Raising the second flap reveals the motherboard sitting in a cardboard bed and wrapped in an anti-static bag.

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With the motherboard removed from the box, you’ll find the accessories neatly arranged at the bottom of the box. The accessory stack is pretty impressive and includes what you need to get a system up and running. Of note here is the abundance of SLI bridges to accommodate 2, 3, and 4-way SLI as well as a set of nicely braided SATA cables. Here is what’s included:

  • Support DVD
  • 2X Case Badges
  • User’s Manual
  • Installation Guidebook
  • I/O Shield w/LEDs
  • 2X Rigid 3-Way SLI Bridges
  • 4-Way Rigid SLI Bridge
  • Flexible 2-Way SLI Bridge
  • Flexible 2-Way Crossfire Bridge
  • 6X SATA 6 GB/s Cables
  • 1-to-3 Power Cable (2×4 ATX 12V)

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Before we hone in for a closer look at the X99-Gaming 5P, here are a few pictures of the motherboard taken from various angles.

Meet the GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P

Meet the GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P

Overhead View

Overhead View

Overhead View

Overhead View

Overhead View

Overhead View

Side Angle View

Side Angle View

Side Angle View

Side Angle View

Side Angle View

Side Angle View

Side Angle View

Side Angle View

Motherboard's Backside

Motherboard’s Backside

The GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P Up Close

Our up close tour begins with a look at the motherboard’s bottom edge. Starting at the left, we see the front panel audio header followed by a 4-pin Molex connector. You probably don’t need to use the 4-pin connector if you’re using a single GPU, but it’s wise to use it for multiple GPU setups. Further to the right, we see two front panel USB 2.0 headers, a 4-pin system fan header, and the case wiring connection points. At the very right corner is another 4-pin system fan header.

Bottom Edge

Bottom Edge

Heading up the right side, we first land at the SATA port area. Here we have 10 SATA 6 GB/s ports and a SATA Express port. The 10 SATA ports are divided into six that offer RAID support, and four that do not (referred to as sSATA). Just above the SATA ports is the CPU Mode switch, which enables extra CPU socket pins (2083 in total) if placed in the OC position. This allows for additional voltage options in the UEFI BIOS and will bypasse the FIVR. Higher up the right side are the front panel USB 3.0 header, 24-pin ATX power connector, and four of the eight DIMM slots. The motherboard supports up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory at speeds up to 3333 MHz (OC).

Right Side - Lower

Right Side – Lower

Right Side - Upper

Right Side – Upper

At the top edge, we’ve got the 8-pin AUX CPU power connector and the 4-pin optional CPU fan header. The primary 4-pin CPU fan header is located more towards the center of the motherboard.

Top Edge

Top Edge

The left side of the motherboard contains the I/O area and everything related to the AMP-UP audio solution. The I/O area has a pair of old school PS/2 ports for use with a keyboard and mouse. Next, is the block of four USB 2.0 ports that are designed with an isolated power source. GIGABYTE refers to these ports as USB DAC-UP, meaning they are optimized for use with a USB DAC device. The next block of four USB 3.0 ports contains one that’s white in color, which is the one you’d use with the Q-Flash Plus feature. Q-Flash Plus is a method of flashing the UEFI BIOS pre-post. Two more USB 3.0 ports and the Killer E2201 LAN port are next in line. The gold plated audio jacks support up to 5.1 channel speaker setups and also provides an optical out jack. There is a bracket found just below the I/O area where you can install Wi-Fi antenna connectors if you install a module in the M.2 Socket 1 Port. Just behind the bracket is the another 4-pin system fan header.

At the bottom of the motherboard’s left side are all the bits that make up the AMP-UP audio. From the picture, you can see the isolation line, removable op-amp, and Nichicon high end audio capacitors. Also located here is the audio gain control switch for matching your headphones specifications. Also, note the EMI shield over the Quad-Core Creative Sound Core3D Audio Processor.

Rear I/O Area

Rear I/O Area

AMP-UP Audio

AMP-UP Audio

The expansion slot area has four PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots and three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots. With a 40-lane CPU, 4-way SLI/Crossfire is supported. A 28-lane CPU can run up to 3-way SLI/Crossfire. In the middle of the expansion slot area, the Socket 1 and Socket 3 M.2 ports can be found. The dual M.2 ports are arranged in a stackable configuration.

Expansion Slots

Expansion Slots

M.2 Ports

M.2 Ports

The CPU socket area is relatively open and should allow installation of most popular air cooling solutions on the market. A CPU water block of almost any kind imaginable should easily fit as well.

CPU Socket Area

CPU Socket Area

The passive cooling solution applied to the motherboard is two heatsinks joined together with a heatpipe. The heatpipe makes a long run from the PCH heatsink all the up to where it joins with the MOSFET heatsink. A thermal pad is used over the MOSFETS and a thick TIM solution is applied to the PCH heatsink. Both heatsinks were found to be making excellent contact, and the thermal interface material was well-applied to both.

Heatsink Apparatus Removed

Heatsink Apparatus Removed

MOSFET Heatsink

MOSFET Heatsink

PCH Heatsink

PCH Heatsink

Heatsink Assembly - Contact side

Heatsink Assembly – Contact side

With the heatsinks removed, we get a good look at the 6-phase CPU power design. As we discussed in the features section above, International Rectifier components are used throughout the MOSFET and VRM areas. The chokes appear to be Cooper Bussman 1007R3-R15, which GIGABYTE advertises as server grade. Each set of four DIMM slots get their own two power phases where International Rectifier components are also used. All this equates to a 6+2+2 power phase design, which should be plenty for the task at hand.

CPU Power Delivery

CPU Power Delivery

CPU Power Delivery

CPU Power Delivery

Right Side Memory Power Delivery

Right Side Memory Power Delivery

Left Side Memory Power Delivery

Left Side Memory Power Delivery

Because most of the connectivity on the motherboard is native to the X99 chipset, there isn’t much in the way of third party controllers. We did find the Killer E2201 LAN controller and Reneses D720210 USB 3.0 hub controller. The Quad-Core Creative Sound Core3D Audio Processor resides under the EMI shield we showed you earlier. There are a few ITE controllers that handle fan control (IT8792E), the Q-Flash Plus feature (IT8951E), and SuperI/O (IT8620E). Lastly, we found several NXP L04083B PCI-E switching ICs scattered about the expansion slot area.

Killer E2201 LAN Controller

Killer E2201 LAN Controller

Reneses USB 3.0 Hub Controller

Reneses USB 3.0 Hub Controller

ITE IT8792E

ITE IT8792E

ITE IT8620E

ITE IT8620E

ITE IT8951E

ITE IT8951E

NXP L04083B

NXP L04083B

The GIGABYTE UEFI BIOS

There are a few different options for navigating through the BIOS. For basic setup options you can use the Startup Guide area, which has a tiled interface you use to navigate through the different areas. For example, the second picture below shows the Start-up options once that tile is selected. For a more detailed set of options in a compact design, you can use the S.T. Mode (Smart Tweak), which provides quick access to most of what you need for overclocking.

Setup Guide

Startup Guide

Start

Startup Guide – Startup Options

S.T. Mode

Smart Tweak Mode

Entering Classic Mode provides everything included in Startup Guide and Smart Tweak, plus an even more detailed set of options. The look and feel of Classic Mode is a little old school, but it works well and is easy to navigate. When entering Classic Mode, you first land in the M.I.T. (Motherboard Intelligent Tweaker) area where everything you need to overclock is found. There are six sub menus where you can access frequency, memory, and voltage settings. The sub menus also contain your system monitoring, fan control options, and a few other miscellaneous options.

M.I.T. Section

M.I.T. Section

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System Information is the next section, which is mostly informational in nature. You’ll find the date and time settings located here.

System Information

System Information

The BIOS Features section contains the system post behavior options, such as boot device priorities.

BIOS Features

BIOS Features

BIOS Features

BIOS Features

Moving over to the Peripherals section, you’ll find the onboard LED lighting controls. You have a couple USB and LAN options in this section as well.

Peripherals

Peripherals

The Chipset section has all the SATA Configuration options and is where you can enable/disable the onboard audio.

Chipset

Chipset

Chipset

Chipset

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Chipset

Chipset

Chipset

Under the Power Management section is pretty standard stuff you see on most modern motherboards, From here you have the option to control the USB DAC power and the ability to power on the system with the keyboard or mouse.

Power Management

Power Management

The Save & Exit section again is pretty standard stuff, but you do have the ability to save up to eight profiles directly to the BIOS. A storage device can be used to save profiles as well.

Save & Exit

Save & Exit

Save & Exit - Profiles

Save & Exit – Profiles

Bundled Software – GIGABYTE’s APP Center

Virtually no stone was left unturned where the APP Center software is concerned. Everything you need to get the most from your system can be found in this software suite. Desktop automatic overclocking comes via the EasyTune app, or you can choose to manually overclock as well. Additionally, there are fan control options available, EZ Setup options for configuring storage settings, and a host of other utilities within APP Center. The thumbnail images below will show you a partial list of what’s available, but suffice to say APP Center is well worth installing to explore it’s many useful tools.

APP Center Navigation Bar

APP Center Navigation Bar

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Also provided is the Game Controller utility, which allows you to configure your keyboard’s hotkeys and mouse sensitivity.

Game Controller Interface

Game Controller Interface

Network bandwidth prioritization can be controlled by the included Killer Network Manager utility.

Killer Network Manager - Applications

Killer Network Manager – Applications

Killer Network Manager -  Performance

Killer Network Manager – Performance

Killer Network Manager - Settings

Killer Network Manager – Settings

Killer Network Manager - Information

Killer Network Manager – Information

For detailed information on all the features App Center provides, GIGABYTE provides a dedicated page on there website where you can learn more.

Benchmarks and Overclocking

Test System

Test System Components
Motherboard GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P
CPU Intel i7 5960X Haswell-E
Memory G.SKill Ripjaws 4 DDR4-3000 MHz 4X4 GB kit
SSD Samsung 840 Pro 256 GB SSD
Power Supply Corsair HX1050 Professional Series
Video Card EVGA GTX 780 Ti Classified
Cooling EKWB Supremacy EVO Water Block – 360 mm Radiator – MCP35X Pump
OS Windows 7 Professional x64

We’ll perform our usual set of benchmarks to test compression, rendering, video conversion, and memory performance. We’ll also toss in some 2d benchmarks as well. We don’t typically observe much difference when comparing motherboards, especially given we keep the same CPU, chipset, memory, and GPU standardized. So, like we normally do, we’ll simply provide screenshots of the stock and overclocked benchmark results. This is basically a way for us to search out any abnormalities the motherboard may exhibit during the benchmark runs. We’ll do the work for you and check these results against other X99 motherboards we’ve reviewed to make sure everything is up to snuff.

With just a couple voltage adjustments and a few modifications to the power delivery, overclocking the CPU was a painless affair that landed us at a stable 4.75 GHz. The DDR4-3000 MHz kit we use defaults the BCLK to 125, just as all X99 motherboards will do. So, we’ll use 4.75 GHz for the overclocked results you see below. Once we get to the Pushing the Limits section of the review, we’ll see how much is left in the tank. The stock benchmarks were run at the CPU’s turbo speed of 3.5 GHz locked down, which is typically how we like to do the stock testing.

Compression, Rendering, and Video Conversion Benchmarks

Cinebench R10 – R11.5 – R15

CB R10 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R10 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R10 @ 4.75 GHz CPU /  3000 MHz Memory

CB R10 @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R11.5 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R11.5 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R11.5 @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R11.5 @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R15 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R15 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R15 @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

CB R15 @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

x264 Pass 1 and 2

x264 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

x264 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

x264 @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

x264 @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

PoV Ray R3.73

PoV Ray @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

PoV Ray @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

PoV Ray @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

PoV Ray @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

7zip Compression Benchmark

7zip @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

7zip @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

7zip @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

7zip @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

2D Benchmarks

Wprime 32M and 1024M

wPrime @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

wPrime @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

wPrime @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

wPrime @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

SuperPi 1M and 32M

SuperPi 1M @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

SuperPi 1M @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

SuperPi 1M @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

SuperPi 1M @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

SuperPi 32M @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

SuperPi 32M @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

SuperPi 32M @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

SuperPi 32M @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

Intel XTU

Intel XTU @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

Intel XTU @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

Intel XTU @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

Intel XTU @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

Memory Benchmarks

Aida64 Cache & Memory

AIDA64 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

AIDA64 @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

AIDA64 @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

AIDA64 @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

MaxxMEM

MaxxMEM @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

MaxxMEM @ 3.5 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

MaxxMEM @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

MaxxMEM @ 4.75 GHz CPU / 3000 MHz Memory

As you can tell by the results above, the X99-Gaming 5P threw out some great performance numbers. After checking these results against competitor boards we’ve reviewed in the past, performance was right where it should be. The overclock proved perfectly stable throughout our testing without so much as a single hiccup. Absolutely nothing to complain about on the performance front.

Pushing the Limits

We’ve had our i7 5960X CPU in a lot of different motherboards and have learned its maximum overclock is right around the 4.9 GHz mark. The X99-Gaming 5P had no problem getting it there for our usual suicide runs of wPrime 32M and SuperPi 1M. We can say with confidence your CPU will reach it’s maximum long before this motherboard gets in your way.

wPrime @ 4.9 GHz CPU 3020 MHz Memory

wPrime @ 4.9 GHz CPU / 3020 MHz Memory

SuperPi 1M @ 4.9 GHz CPU / 3020 MHz Memory

SuperPi 1M @ 4.9 GHz CPU / 3020 MHz Memory

Conclusion

The GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P brings a lot of features that will appeal to the gaming and overclocking crowd. If you load the motherboard up with 4-way SLI/Crossfire, you’ll have more bandwidth available than a lot of competitor boards offer. Couple that with the AMP-UP audio, Killer E2201 LAN, and a couple gaming oriented pieces of software included in the bundle, and you’re well on your way to a powerhouse gaming machine.

The enthusiast overclocker is well-represented with the X99-Gaming 5P, which is easy to tell by the excellent results we obtained when pushing the system to its limits. As memory manufacturers begin to push DDR4 speeds higher, the increased XMP profile support of up to 3333 MHz will be something you’ll be glad to have. The BIOS was easy to work with while overclocking and has plenty of options available to push your overclock as far as you like. Don’t forget that nifty OC Mode switch to enable additional CPU socket pins and add a few more voltage controls in the BIOS.

GIGABYTE informed us the MSRP on the X99-Gaming 5P will be $309, which is right in line with similar offerings. We couldn’t find it for sale at the usual places, but it should hit store shelves any day now. Whether you’re a gamer, overclocker, or both, the X99-Gaming 5P is well worth serious consideration if you’re planning a build around the X99 platform.

Overclockers_clear_approved

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Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)

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