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GIGABYTE X99P-SLI (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Apr 26, 2016 1:10 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Packaging and Overview

 

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The X99P-SLI's box and packaging are simple and protect the board well enough.

 

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Accessories include 4x SATA6Gb/s cables, SLI Bridge, CrossFireX bridge, DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable, mini-DP to DisplayPort cable, M.2 screws, IO shield, case badge, manuals, and driver DVD.

 

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The GIGABYTE X99P-SLI has five fan headers. They are all 4-pin headers. The headers circled in red are voltage controlled and the header circled in green is PWM controlled. Basic fan controls are provided in the UEFI through profiles and manual PWM slopes, and GIGABYTE's System Information Viewer program offers more in-depth fan tuning.

 

The motherboard has a black and gold theme which looks nice in person but is drowned out inside a dark case. The silkscreen writing on the PCB is gray and blends into the black of matte PCB when installed in a case. The motherboard does have LEDs on the backside of the PCB along the analog PCB divide for the audio. These LEDs are RGB and can be controlled through the UEFI or Windows, and you can turn them off if you so choose.

 

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The IO panel on the X99P-SLI carries four USB 2.0 ports, three USB 3.0 ports (from a hub), USB 3.1 Type-A (red), USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3 Type-C, PS/2 keyboard or mouse, DisplayPort (input port for Thunderbolt 3 functionality), RJ-45 Gbit LAN, TOSLINK S/PDIF optical, and 7/1 audio outputs. While Z170 has video outputs from the Skylake CPU, X99 CPUs do not have integrated graphics. Thunderbolt 3 uses DisplayPort for part of its bandwidth and proper Thunderbolt 3 functionality on the X99 platform requires a connection to your GPU's video output to the input port on the IO panel. GIGABYTE provides two cables just for this purpose.

 

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The PCI-E layout is designed to provide 32 PCI-E 3.0 lanes to up to four GPUs and supports up to 4-way CrossFireX and SLI when using a 40 lane CPU. The first and third full-sized PCI-E 3.0 slots support 16x/16x, and if the 16x slot below either is occupied, they will switch over 8x of their bandwidth. So the motherboard can operate at 16x/0x/16x/0x, 8x/8x/16x/0x, 16x/0x/8x/8x, or 8x/8x/8x/8x. All these 16x slots have metal shielding which helps strengthen the slots when a heavy video card is installed. A MOLEX port at the bottom of the motherboard provides extra PCI-E power for 4-way configurations. The 1x slots are PCI-E 2.0, and they are routed to the PCH.

 

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One advantage Intel's X99 chipset has over Z170 is support for many more SATA6Gb/s ports, all of the SATA ports are from the PCH. GIGABYTE also added an SATA Express connector. There are two USB 3.0 internal headers on the motherboard; one is located right below the 24-pin power connector.

 

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The motherboard supports a 32Gb/s M.2 slot, a first for GIGABYTE's X99 series. Located to the left of the front panel headers is the second USB 3.0 internal header. To the left of that is a CPU Mode switch that switches between Intel's standard socket and an OC socket mode. The switch will enable or disable special circuitry which will enable power to extra pins in the socket.

 

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The socket has extra pins, which help with memory and cache overclocking. Without the extra pins and the switch in position 2, the cache cannot be overclocked over 4GHz, and the memory might have trouble hitting 3200MHz. GIGABYTE did upgrade the audio on the motherboard, and while RGBs light up the audio divide, there is an "LED DEMO" header which could output a signal that modders might be able to utilize.

 

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The heat sink is a single piece with a heat pipe connecting the PCH block to the VRM block. Screws hold down the heat sink assembly.

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