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GIGABYTE X99-UD4 (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Mar 3, 2015 3:08 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Packaging and the Board

 

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The box is what you would expect. The board sits inside an anti-static bag inside a small box. The board seems secure. This is the same type of packaging I saw with the X99-Gaming 5.

 

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The accessory package provides almost everything you would need for an X99 build. It includes: driver DVD, manuals, case sticker, four braided SATA 6G cables, 8-pin CPU power expander, 2-way SLI and CrossFireX bridges, two 3-way bridges for different GPU spacing, a 4-way SLI bridge, and a IO shield that lights up. This is almost the same accessory package as the X99-Gaming 5, I am surprised (in a good way) that the light up IO shield is included as well as the two types of 3-way SLI bridges.

 

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I have circled the fan headers on the board. There are a total of five 4-pin headers; I have highlighted in the image which headers support PWM and which support voltage mode. The board carries the same PCI-E layout as the other X99 GIGABYTE motherboards. I am not the biggest fan of gold, but the way it is done here with small gold accents is tasteful. The gray memory DIMMs are the ones you actually populate, so the black ports are the ones most people will see unless you fill up all eight DIMMs.

 

The gold accent on the PCH also lights up, along with the LEDs on the back of the board, which you can see in the test setup section of this review. The IO panel also lights up, but doesn't light up gold. The back of the PCB doesn't have any SMD components and the heat sinks are held down by metal screws.

 

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The back panel IO features an Intel NIC, six USB 3.0 ports (the white one is for USB BIOS flash back), four USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, and a TOSLINK with S/PDIF optical. An additional supporting bracket for GIGABYTE's WIFI/BT M.2 module is also present.

 

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Four full sized PCI-E 16x slots bring a lot to the table in terms of PCI-E layout. If you use a 40-lane CPU then you can run 4-way SLI/CrossFireX at 16x/8x/8x/8x. The first and second PCI-E slots are hard wired to the CPU, the third PCI-E slot is a full 16x slot, however, 8x of that slot can be switched to the last PCI-E slot if the last slot is occupied. All the PCI-E 1x slots are hardwired to the PCH and don't share bandwidth.

 

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On the X99-UD4, GIGABYTE decided to upgrade their Realtek ALC1150 with some additional hardware I will cover later on. However, there is one additional amplifier for the backpanel IO headphone jack.

 

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There are a total of 10 SATA 6G ports. The two ports in-line with the SATA Express connector will be disabled if the M.2 slot is used. So you can run those two SATA ports, M.2, or SATA Express.

 

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The X99-UD4 uses a 6-phase VRM. While that phase count might seem inadequate for X99, it actually isn't. This is because GIGABYTE is using high quality components and I will show you in the following sections that this isn't just any normal 6-phase VRM.

 

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The heat sink is one solid piece. The VRM portion seems to make good contact with all the powerstages. A total of six metal screws hold down the heat sink.

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