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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

Circuit Analysis

 

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This section will start off with a look at power regulation and then shift into general circuit selection and implementation.

 

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The VRM on this board is deceivingly powerful. It is powered by an IR3580 which is a popular PWM for overclockers. It is produced by International Rectifier who in recent years has been killing it with their high performance digital PWMs and power stages. Only 6 of the 8 phases are being utilized, however, GIGABYTE tossed in the IR3556 also produced by International Rectifier. Each IR3556 can provide up to 50A of current and the IR3356 is IR's second generation of integrated high-current power stages.

 

GIGABYTE chose to upgrade their inductors and is using 76A Cooper Bussmann high current inductors. The key to this 6-phase VRM's performance are the inductors. To tie things up, GIGABYTE is using nine of their Chemicon 10K black solid polymer capacitors for a total of 5040uF.

 

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GIGABYTE decided to stick with International Rectifier for the memory VRs as well. For the main DDR4 and VPP outputs, the X99-UD4 is using IR3553's, which are 40A integrated power-stages from International Rectifier. Two IR3570 from International Rectifier are 3+2 phase digital PWMs, each controls the VRs for one set of four DIMMs.

 

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The X99-UD4 uses an ALC1150 for its audio codec which works in unison with the integrated Azalia audio processor in the PCH. The X99-UD4 has only one audio amplifier the Texas Instruments NE5532 which is quite common, it is used to amplify the backpanel IO's headphone jack. Nichicon audio capacitors are also present and GIGABYTE has isolated the analog audio lines from the digital domain of the rest of the motherboard. There are also 14 yellow LEDs on the back of the PCB, which illuminate the PCB divide.

 

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An Intel i218v is being used as the integrated NIC's PHY which many prefer because of Intel's strong reputation in the NIC industry. A Renesas D720210 is used to expand one USB 3.0 port into four ports for the backpanel IO.

 

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On the left are two iTE chips, the IT8620E is the Super I/O in charge of voltage, temperature, and fan monitoring and control. The IT9792E is an embedded controller (EC) which handles features such as overclocking, extra fan controls, or even LEDs. On the right are the two 128Mbit BIOS ROMs for Dual BIOS and an IT8951E which is used to power GIGABYTE's additional USB BIOS recovery. The additional recovery method can update the BIOS even if the system doesn't have a CPU.

 

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On the left is the PCH VRM powered by a single phase Richtek PWM and some Vishay MOSFETs. An IDT 6V49322NLG is an external clock generator which is supposed to help with BCLK overclocking. The NXP L04083B is a PCI-E quick switch used to switch between SATA Express and M.2. On the right is a nuvoTon NCT3941 which is one of four on the motherboard. They are used to control each voltage mode fan header, which require more motherboard hardware than PWM control, because voltage mode requires each header to have its own voltage regulator.

 

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These four NXP L04083B switch 8X PCI-E 3.0 from the third PCI-E slot to the fourth.

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