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GIGABYTE X99-Gaming G1 Motherboard Overview and Overclocking Guide

By: Steven Bassiri | Guides | Posted: Nov 7, 2014 11:06 pm

CPU Regulator Analysis


With more and more things being integrated into the CPU and PCH, there isn't much that sets motherboards apart, but the voltage regulator is still one part of the motherboard that differs greatly between motherboards. With the X99 platform, the VRM area has been effectively reduced by half, while the current demand has been almost doubled due to the high TDP of the new CPUs. The X99 VRM is possibly one of the most important parts of any X99 motherboard, especially when it comes to overclocking.




The CPU VRM features a total of eight phases; each phase is powered by an integrated power stage, the well-known International Rectifier PowIRstages. There are eight high capacity server grade inductors made by Cooper Bussmann. The FP1007R3-R15-R are 0.15uH Flat-Pac series power inductors; these feature 76A saturation current at 25C. This is an extremely high current rating, and will help reduce overall heat around the VRM area. The GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI uses 9x Nippon Chemicon, custom-made, 10K, can-type polymer capacitors, each rated at 560uF for a total of 5040uF.




GIGABYTE is using the International Rectifier IR3580, an eight phase digital PWM. This is the latest one offered by International Rectifier. The difference between this PWM and the IR3563 is that this PWM features special low power operation modes, such as single and dual phase operation. This VRM is a straight eight, meaning there is no doubling.




GIGABYTE has used the IR3556 for the power stages, and each one can output 50A at about 10W, and 90% efficiency. The IR3556 is a brand new PowIRstage; it replaces the IR3551. These new IR power stages offer better timing control, and reduce switch node ringing when compared to the first generation IR power stages like the IR3550, IR3551, and IR3553. They also offer internal current sensing algorithms, and improved temperature sensing, which should, according to IR, greatly increase current sensing accuracy. Support for synchronous diode-emulation through an internal zero-cross detect circuit is a new feature that should help a lot with ultra-light load efficiency.



Memory Regulator Analysis




There are two sets of everything for the DDR4 power on X99; this is because there are two sets of DIMMs on every X99 motherboard. GIGABYTE chose to stay with digital PWM control for all four DDR4 VRMs; the International Rectifier IR3570 is a 3+2 phase digital PWM that is perfect for this. Two of these PWMs are in use, one on each side of the board. There are four DDR4 VRMs because each set of DIMMs requires a DRAM voltage of 1.2v, and a DRAM VPP voltage of 2.5v. The 1.2v rail is the most important, and on this board, each set of DIMMs get two phases, each with a 40A International Rectifier IR3553.






These VRMs provide the 2.5v VPP supply for each set of DIMMs. They consist of a single phase made up of IR3553 40A PowIRstages, which are controlled by the same IR3570 PWMs that are used for the main rail, since the IR3570 has two separate sets of PWM outputs.


DDR VPP is the voltage for the electrical high for DRAM row access. For DDR4, JEDEC decided to introduce a secondary external VRM that provides a 2.5v electrical high voltage for the word line (row access). Since the word line voltage is no longer pumped up from the DDR voltage (like it was for DDR3), the inefficiencies of pumping up the DDR voltage are gone, and instead you get power savings.




A single RT8120 is a single phase PWM, and it powers a single phase VRM using two Vishay SiRA14MOSFETs that control the PCH voltage rail.

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