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GIGABYTE X99-Gaming 5P (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: May 13, 2015 2:16 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Packaging and the Board




The box is simple and the packaging is well done. The board is in an anti-static bad inside its own mini-box.




Accessories include 6x braided SATA6G cables, lighted IO shield, 2-Way SLI bridge, two 3-Way SLI bridges with different spacing options, 4-Way SLI bridge. 2-way CrossFireX bridge, 3-to-1 ESP 8-pin CPU power expander, driver DVD, manuals, GIGABYTE sticker, and G1 Gaming sticker.




I have circled the five fan headers in red and blue. The single CPU fan header circled in red is for PWM fans, and the rest of the four headers are voltage mode fan headers. The aesthetics of the motherboards are quite appealing, especially if you like red. The logos aren't tacky and the colors seem to blend well. GIGABYTE has darkened the color of the PCB markings, so that they are no longer white, but rather gray. The back of the PCB is bare except for a few LEDs for the audio PCB divide.




Side by side the X99-Gaming 5 and the X99-Gaming 5P look almost identical, but there are some major differences. First off the X99-Gaming 5P is wider than the X99-Gaming 5, making it an E-ATX motherboard which will fit in most ATX cases since it isn't longer than ATX. The X99-Gaming 5P has 72 extra pins in its CPU socket compared to the X99-Gaming 5. The heat sink on the PCH is also larger on the X99-Gaming 5P, and the fan headers have been moved which makes for easier connection for case fans. The USB 3.0 front panel header has been moved near towards the 24-pin power socket, which is a very nice move.


While most of the circuitry is the same, the X99-Gaming 5P has a lot of added components to support the features of the new socket with extra pins. An extra switch is also added so users can decide if they want to use the Intel certified socket or the socket with the extra pins. It turns out that those extra pins unlock the ability for higher cache frequency as well as lower required voltage for the IMC during high speed DDR4 overclocks. It isn't apparent whether the new socket is more or less safe for the CPU and with the X99-Gaming 5P it doesn't matter because it carries a switch to disable or enable those pins.




The IO Panel features 6x USB 3.0 (white port is for USB BIOS recovery), 4x USB 2.0 (with power control), PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse ports, RJ-45 1GBit Killer LAN, a gold plated TOSLINK with S/PDIF, and a bracket in case you want to install an M.2 WIFI card.




The PCI-E layout on this motherboard is optimized for multi-GPU configurations. All the PCI-E bandwidth from the CPU reaches the slots, and does so almost without delay. The third and fourth slots are hardwired at 16x (third slot) and 8x (fourth slot). The first slot has its first 8x hard wired to the CPU and the second 8x can be shared with the second PCI-E slot if needed.


You can run cards in multiple configurations, especially when you have a 28-lane CPU installed, and that is why GIGABYTE provides two 3-way SLI bridge offering different slot spacing. A MOLEX receptacle for extra PCI-E power is provided at the bottom of the motherboard and both M.2 slots are between the second and third PCI-E 16x slots. All the PCI-E 1x slots are directly routed to the PCH.




GIGABYTE equipped the X99-Gaming 5P with 10 SATA ports, two of which are shared with the SATA Express and M.2 ports. The four ports labeled sSATA cannot do RAID, while the other six can.




The CPU mode switch allows for users to enable the extra pins in the socket and a USB 3.0 internal header is positioned below the 24-pin connector.




The audio setup on this board is one of the most customizable I have seen, and it is identical to the one on the X99-Gaming G1 WIFI. The ability to replace the amplifier is a really cool feature, and while most won't utilize it, it still provides upgradability. The gold cover on the Creative Core3Di is also a nice touch, and actually contrasts well with the green Nichicon audio capacitors. The switch in the picture allows for gain adjustment.




The VRM is made up of 6 phases, and it's the same as the VRM found on the X99-Gaming 5 and other 6-phase GIGABYTE X99 motherboards. While it might not seem like much, it is more than enough.




The heat sink is one solid piece. The heat sink uses screws and makes good contact with components.

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