The GIGABYTE X99-SOC Force is loaded with connectivity features, all of which originate from integrated Intel controllers. There are no third party controllers (just two hubs that allocate Intel USB 3.0 bandwidth accordingly), and yet the X99-SOC Force still features ten SATA 6GB/s ports, Intel LAN, SATA Express, Turbo M.2, ten USB 3.0 ports, and three PCI-E 1x slots, all from the PCH. The X99-SOC Force also provides the maximum possible bandwidth to GPUs in 2/3/4-way SLI/CrossFireX setups.
The X99-SOC Force is designed to improve signal integrity with its extra clock generator and SMT DIMMs, while providing a lot of extra protection through Dual BIOS and Qflash+, which offers USB BIOS rescue. The board is also loaded with OC features; almost all OC features from the Z97 SOC Force were carried over to the X99-SOC Force, except the DIMM disable switches and memory safe.
Instead, an extra set of K-type probe ports were added that can go subzero, which is a nice feature for those who don't have a K-type thermometer that can go to -200C. The only thing that might be lacking is the fact that the voltage read points don't include the ring or system agent voltages; however, those values can be read through GTL.
CPU overclocking is very strong, as is general stability of the CPU overclock. I was very surprised when I got the 32x memory multiplier to work. It takes a few tries to get right, but when you boot the elusive 32x memory multiplier that has been lingering in the UEFI code for years, an involuntary joyful grin will form across your face. That is until you see the UEFI has expanded the maximum DRAM multiplier to 40X, which points to even more DRAM performance expansion to come.
One of the biggest upsides to this board is the possibilities that it holds, and the X99-SOC Force is prepared. Its VRMs are all digitally controlled, feature very high quality power stages, and tote server grade, high current inductors that are rated at a whopping 76A. GIGABYTE has put a lot of thought into even the smallest things, such as providing extra space around all screw holes so that users don't damage their boards with a screwdriver. Quality, performance, features, and attention to detail are what people look for in a $349.99 X99 motherboard, and GIGABYTE takes care of those requirements with the X99-SOC Force.
UPDATE: I usually don't cover the accessory package unless there is something interesting in there, and this time I overlooked a handy accessory from GIGABYTE that helps with overclocking. It's a 3 to 1 CPU power connector. It allows you to hook up 3x 8-pin connectors from your PSU to the motherboard, effectively helping overcome some limitations of modern PSUs. Many PSUs have multiple 12v rails, and they have current limits anywhere from 12 to 30A per rail, and if you go over the current rated for that rail the PSU will shut down. However, with the new X99 platform, the CPU can easily pull 25A from the 12v connector at speeds north of 4.5GHz. The connector GIGABYTE provides (pictured above) allows you to maintain OCP on multi-rail PSUs, while allowing much higher current to the CPU by effectively tying together multiple 12v rails from the PSU.
PRICING: You can find the GIGABYTE X99-SOC Force for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The GIGABYTE X99-SOC Force retails for $349.99 at Amazon
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