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GIGABYTE X99-Phoenix SLI (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 28, 2016 4:48 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Here are key points about the GIGABYTE X99-Phoenix SLI.

 

What's Hot

 

Orange on Cloud 9: I have seen orange on black, and I thought that was one of the best color schemes until I saw the X99-Phoenix SLI's orange on white. The mixture of neon colors and white is visual bliss, at least in my opinion. I usually dislike too many RGB LEDs, but GIGABYTE's diffusion of the RGBs in the audio, IO panel, and SATA areas actually looks classy.

 

 

Great 2-Way and Solid 3-Way Spacing: GIGABYTE changed up their PCI-E spacing to provide the ability to run two cards with great spacing. I have seen a few other motherboards have similar spacing, but they usually end up having issues with covering up the bottommost motherboard headers with three cards, but that is not the case with the X99-Phoenix SLI. The third card won't cover the headers if it is a normal double slotted GPU.

 

U.2, M.2, and Intel USB 3.1 Simultaneously: The X99-Phoenix SLI can provide full 32Gb/s bandwidth to the M.2 slot, another 32Gb/s to the U.2 port, and 20Gb/s to the Intel USB 3.1 controller, all at the same time, if you use a 40 PCI-E lane CPU. The same cannot be said about many other motherboards, which will sacrifice one high bandwidth feature for another. Intel's USB 3.1 controller is not very common on X99 since it requires a certain amount of bandwidth, but GIGABYTE was able to route four PCH PCI-E lanes to the controller and not use up precious CPU lanes.

 

Triple Intel NICs: Most will be more than pleased to see two Intel Gbit NICs that they can team up, but GIGABYTE went a step further and added in Intel's latest Wireless AC/Bluetooth 4.2 M.2 card for those who want to use WIFI connectivity.

 

GIGABYTE's UEFI Overhaul: GIGABYTE's BIOS engineers have done a great job of revamping their UEFI to meet the demands of consumers. I am glad GIGABYTE has departed from their traditional easy to use simple-only fan implementation and moved towards much better fan control options in the UEFI. Like many others, I install the least amount of software possible to avoid conflicts; with the new UEFI fan control, there is little need to set the fans through a Windows based application, which is a great thing.

 

What's Not

 

U.2 Only Works with a 40-Lane CPU: One downside of allowing the U.2 and M.2 ports to work at full speed at the same time is that 28-lane CPUs (5820K or 6800K) won't be able to supply enough bandwidth on this motherboard to operate the U.2 port. However, there are M.2 to U.2 adapters that are widely available if you still want to use U.2.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

From the ashes, the Phoenix shall rise. The X99-Phoenix SLI could be considered almost legendary for GIGABYTE motherboards. It's the motherboard where GIGABYTE has kicked things up a notch and made large strides instead of the usual small ones. Totally revamped PCI-E layout to optimize 2-way and 3-way GPU configured over 4-way: check. Two Intel Gbit NICs and Intel Wireless AC: check. Orange and white color theme with tasteful RGB LEDs: check. New UEFI with expanded fan and RGB LED control: check. All the latest connectivity features: check. Almost every nail has been hit on the head with the X99-Phoenix SLI.

 

gigabyte-x99-phoenix-sli-intel-motherboard-review_97

 

GIGABYTE went back to the drawing board with this motherboard, and also with its other motherboards. They have totally revamped their lineup for the better and created a product that can provide a solid experience and excitement. I was also impressed with the IO performance, especially considering all the high bandwidth IO ports can operate simultaneously.

 

You lose almost no features because you are using another feature, something that a lot of X99 motherboard suffer from. With the X99-Phoenix SLI you get exactly what you pay for, and perhaps a little bit more.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)93%
Quality including Design and Build91%
General Features93%
Bundle and Packaging92%
Value for Money91%
Overall TweakTown Rating92%

The Bottom Line: GIGABYTE's X99-Phoenix SLI is not only a good looker, but also provides top IO performance to all slots and ports without compromising features.

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